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Residents shocked in wet weather

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Residents shocked in wet weather

by Barbara Meyer
20 Jun 2007
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

Residents of the Phoenix Camp in Manenberg are being zapped by bolts of electricity because their cables, plugs and electricity boxes are soaking wet from the constant rain this winter.

In addition, parents are highly concerned that the cold and wet conditions will negatively affect their children's health.

"The cables and plugs are covered by the water. The mains box is wet and people shock themselves when they use any electrical switch. I don't allow my children to touch the electricity," Naomi Robertson told People's Post.

The mains box is wet and people shock themselves when they use any electrical switch.

Roberston is a resident of the camp and a beneficiary of one of 67 houses that is meant to re-house the last victims of the 1999 tornado that ripped through Manenberg, causing total chaos and leaving hundreds homeless.

At a community meeting at the Duinefontain Community Hall on Thursday 31 May, Housing MEC, Richard Dyantyi, told the remaining 67 families, many of whom were backyard dwellers prior to the devastating effects of the tornado, that they would soon be housed.

"He (Dyantyi) told us at the meeting that if we could wait eight years for a house, we can wait two more months," Robertson said.

However, for the little children playing in the muddy puddles which could fuel opportunistic illnesses such as tuberculosis, two months could seem like an eternity.

"The camp is soaking with dams of water that seep through the bottom of the already water-logged wendy houses. If it is not the roof that is leaking, then the water soaks through the floor from underneath the wendy house. It is freezing early in the morning and late at night," a resident said.

The camp is soaking with dams of water that seep through the bottom of the already water-logged wendy houses.

Sharon Jafter, another resident echoes Robertson's concerns. And despite their calls for help, Jafter says the response from the city was lukewarm. "They came in the week but all they did was take photos and talk to each other on walkie-talkies," Jafter said.

Speaking to People's Post, the city's Disaster Risk Management Centre confirmed that it had visited the area and drained some of the water.

Commenting on the electrical concerns, spokesperson Wilfred Solomons said it sounded as if people are connecting their electicity illegally. "Running electricity cables above the ground is not something that the council would do," Solomans said. "We will be sending out the city's Electrical Services to deal with the problem," he said.

Despite assurances that the electricity concerns will be addressed, the residents' health concerns remain unresolved. Visiting the area, puddles of water can be found in every bedroom and lounge. Large piles of soaking carpets are left everywhere, with no hope of drying. And despite it being midday, the sun, much like the long-awaited houses, is yet to materialise.

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