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Residents fear dam burst

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“I live on the other side of the dam but came to my friend here as my shanty was flooded, only to come and find him in an even worse situation,”

The water canal which runs down Absolom Crescent in Club 2000 overflowed and flooded several homes in the area. Picture: Danie van der Lith

KAGISHO residents are living in fear that the retention dam in the area will burst its banks if more rain falls in the next few days.

According to the SA Weather Service, 97mm of rain fell at the Kimberley Airport on Monday.

Yesterday, residents were working furiously to clear out the water in their shanties and homes, fearful of another heavy downpour and the dam bursting its banks.

Many of those affected by the overflow of the dam are elderly people living alone.

“We have been begging and pleading with our councillor and the Sol Plaatje Municipality to provide proper accommodation, especially for our elderly. Look at poor Jack Nkalechane who is in his 60s. He never slept last night (Monday night) trying to get the water out of his shack. All his bedding and clothes are wet,” a resident, Charles Jacobs, said yesterday.

Nkalechane lives on the banks of the Kagisho retention dam.

Others living on the banks of the dam were yesterday also trying to pick up the pieces and hoping that there is no more rain in the next few days.

“I live on the other side of the dam but came to my friend here as my shanty was flooded, only to come and find him in an even worse situation,” Sbusiso Noqalunga said.

He added that both he and his friend only had a “piece job” once a week and had to make do with the money they earned from that work.

“We have very little and it broke our hearts to have to throw away 25kg mealie meal as it got wet, but we couldn’t use it. We were also up all night clearing the water out of the shanty.”

Houses in the adjacent Club 2000 were also flooded.

“We are living in fear that the dam will burst its walls. Just about all the city’s water flows through here and when we have a heavy downpour, like we did on Monday, I don’t even want to think about it,” Harry Arends, who lives in Absolom Crescent, said.

“The ditches here were overflowing into the roads making it impassable in certain places.”

During the same period last year, disaster struck when a massive rainstorm resulted in the wall of the Kagisho retention dam breaking, flooding several houses in the neighbourhood and leaving them inaccessible to residents.

The river of water that streamed from the dam where its bank had collapsed, left a gap of about two metres in the cement wall.

This caused water, gathered in the retention dam during the heavy downpour, to stream into residents’ houses.

“We had just cleared some of the rain water from our homes following the storm when we saw and heard this massive river of water coming towards us from the dam. It completely flooded the road and quickly engulfed several houses. At certain places the water almost reached our windows,” residents said at the time.

This was “not the first time” that the dam’s wall had broken and residents claimed that Sol Plaatje Municipality was “not doing anything”, a sentiment which was echoed yesterday.

Residents had last year also called for a more permanent solution.

Municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie said yesterday that the local authority is monitoring the water flow from the Kagisho retention dam. “If anything should happen we do have a contingency plan in place.”

Meanwhile, in other Northern Cape towns the rainfall measured was: Kathu 17mm, Kuruman 7mm, Noupoort 6mm, Orania 9mm, Postmasburg 9mm, Vaalhards 12mm and Van Zylsrus 6mm.

While more rain was predicted for the city yesterday, the rest of the week should be clear. On Friday there is a 30% chance of rain.