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Questions over Sol’s disaster management

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Sol Plaatje municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie yesterday refuted these claims, saying disaster management did respond to call-outs.

Maria Louw, 61, who lives with her daughter and four grandchildren tried to scoop up buckets of water after her shanty. Picture: Soraya Crowie

“HOW DO I explain to the residents that there are no funds to assist them after Monday’s heavy rain? How do I look them in the eye?”

These were the words yesterday of Clifford Lewis, the councillor for Ward 3, which includes the Homevalley and Homevale shacks.

According to Lewis, he contacted disaster management on Monday night.

“A man came out after my call to assess the situation. But quickly informed me that, unfortunately, he couldn’t do anything about the situation.

“I then asked him if we could maybe relocate some of the residents to a shelter as many had lost everything after the deluge. He told me that it would be pointless as there were no mattresses, food or blankets – there was just simply no money to equip the shelters.

“Now I have to face the people and tell them ‘sorry, there is nothing that can be done for you’.”

Sol Plaatje municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie yesterday refuted these claims, saying disaster management did respond to call-outs.

“I know that the fire brigade went out last night to provide assistance, but they were turned away as residents were demanding houses instead of assistance,” Matsie said.

He added that temporary accommodation is offered to residents during times like this.

“Almost 100% of the time it is refused as residents don’t want to go as they fear that their belongings will be stolen while they are away.”

Matsie pointed out further that it wasn’t a case of funds not being available in the disaster management fund.

“What must be remembered is that funds will always be available for disasters. This, however, must be declared by the president.”

Matsie also pointed out that the municipality provides residents with tent covers. “We expect them to be returned to us once repairs have been carried out on their structures so we can pass them onto others in need. This has not been done.”

He also said that it was the responsibility of residents to take out insurance in these instances.

“It is not the responsibility of the municipality to have insurance for such circumstances. It is the home owner’s personal residence and they need to take the onus upon themselves.”

He further stated that the municipality provides gravel for those whose yards had been flooded.

“If there is an overflow anywhere, we will also send out personnel to deal with the situation. What residents also need to realise is that it is temporary and the water does subside, usually by the next day. But we can assure residents that if there is a problem, we will address it.”