The City of Cape Town says it has been helping victims of flooding in Dunoon and other areas deluged by recent heavy rains.
Other communities getting sandbags and plastic sheeting include Khayelitsha, Kraaifontein, Mfuleni and Philippi, but mayoral committee member for human settlements Malusi Booi says many of the hardest hit areas are land-invasion settlements on low-lying sites unsuitable for housing.
Dunoon and Joe Slovo residents have been sharing pictures of their homes swamped in ankle-deep water and damage to their furniture and other household appliances.
Some say they have given up on trying to get any form of help and just learn to live with it.
Zandile Bonani, who lives in a shack in Site 5, said: “We know when it rains, we just use empty crates and other things we can find to put our belongings on top of them, so our things don’t get wet. But sometimes, you are too late. Like if I’m at work, and I come home and my things are damaged. I don’t even panic or get annoyed anymore. It’s just part of our lives here.”
Nompilo Seshe, who lives in Zwelitsha informal settlement near Dunoon, said she used to try hard to keep the water out of her home.
“I used to be that person that as soon as it starts raining, I prepare myself. I’d get the buckets ready to start scooping rainwater coming into the house. Now it has just gotten too much. I’ll wake up to a flooded house after a night of a heavy storm. I can’t deal with that in the morning. I just leave and tell myself I’ll deal with it in the afternoon when I get back from work. It’s just exhausting,” she said.
The City says it has so far done 300 site visits and assessments in flooded areas and given out 2 500 kits with plastic sheeting and sandbags.
Mr Booi said it took longer for the water to clear from informal settlements in deluged low-lying areas.
“The biggest challenge can be seen with most of the newly unlawfully occupied areas where some large settlements have formed on extremely waterlogged land, such as in dams and ponds and wetlands where flood materials are of no use due to the depth of the flooding,” he said.
“Those who have for political or economic reasons enabled and actively driven the large, organised unlawful occupations are now nowhere to be found to take responsibility for their actions.”
Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said the City had taken steps before the winter rains to prevent flooding, such as digging trenches and delivering milling material to raise the ground level.
“These interventions continue. The City continues to work on obtaining soft relief from relief organisations and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa). Along with digging trenches and canals that will lead flood water away, City officials will be giving advice to residents on how to reduce risks ahead of further rainfall expected throughout the remainder of the winter season,” he said.