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Gong-Gong residents left in the cold

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As the winter approaches, residents in Gong-Gong have indicated that they are now left out in the cold and forced to come up with solutions on how to rebuild their homes they lost during a destructive storm last month.

Miriam Britz in front of her destroyed home. Picture: Soraya Crowie

As the winter approaches, residents in Gong-Gong have indicated that they are now left out in the cold and forced to come up with solutions on how to rebuild their homes they lost during a destructive storm last month.

More than 50 houses were damaged and several shanties completely blown away following heavy wind and a rainstorm on early in March.

The storm caused major havoc and injured a few people, however no fatalities were reported.

Residents said almost two months after the incident they are left to rebuild on their own after they had to seek refuge and shelter from family and friends.

ALSO READ: MEC inspects storm damage, many residents left without a roof over their heads

One resident, Miriam Britz, whose brick house looked like a vandalised building after the incident, said she now has to carry the cost of rebuilding her house because she cannot live on the charity of her neighbour forever.

“My kitchen, living room, daughter’s bedroom and a part of my bedroom was totally destroyed on the day of the storm. The walls of my house collapsed. My daughter suffered an injury to her foot and she has not been able to step on her feet or use her leg since. There has not been any talk on whether our houses will be rebuilt.

“Other residents who were affected by the storm also indicated that they have not received any word on when our houses will be rebuilt,” Britz said.

Terence van Wyk said he took the initiative to fix his house after the storm blew of roof.

“We had to stay with my brother and his wife and children. There were a lot of people in that house and I just could not continue to live like that. There were meetings held and government officials were in the area to assess the damage. They took our names and details and we waited for feedback on how we would be assisted.

“Affected residents were provided with food parcels and blankets, but our biggest challenge was how we would fix our houses. We were optimistic and thought that government would assist, but they have not done so.

“There are some people whose houses were totally destroyed and are now homeless. One elderly lady lost her entire shanty and now has nowhere to stay. I was lucky because I could fix my house,” Van Wyk said.

ALSO READ: ‘We are living in a forgotten no man’s land’

Spokesperson for the Northern Cape Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta), Babalwa Mzamb said the fact that the area falls under a Communal Property Association (CPA) makes it challenging for government to intervene.

“The community of Gong-Gong is under a CPA and makes it almost impossible for government to intervene as the land is private. MEC Bentley Vass is coordinating a meeting between the Department of Rural Development, the CPA and the municipality to find ways to intervene.

“Currently the Provincial Disaster Management Committee is busy with assessments on the houses that were affected. As soon as the assessment is completed, the department together with other departments, will look at ways to assist,” Mzambo said.

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