The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) stands in solidarity with the people of Kwa Zulu Natal, who have suffered the horrors of floods that had engulfed the area because of the torrential rains that have poured at the end of last week and beginning of this week.
It is estimated that about 253 people have passed on due to these floods and mudslide, which has also destroyed people’s houses, unprecedented volumes of water running through people homes and sweeping people’s cars.
The uncertainty that surrounds natural disasters in the immediate aftermath, are probably understating the casualties. More bodies are likely to be counted.
Not only has the disaster killed people, but has wreaked havoc to houses, road infrastructure, social infrastructure, and electricity infrastructure. In already underdeveloped black working-class areas, where people were already living in poor and undignified shelter, the damage is unprecedented.
SAFTU calls on government to activate their disaster management resources to help the poor who need humanitarian intervention for basic services such as shelter and food.
The frequency of flooding in the eastern parts of our country, are testament to the climate change because of global warming. Denialists and some profiteers dismiss us when we lament, raise awareness and alarm about climate change.
They say we are exaggerating and overstating the danger of climate change and the urgency of the remedial measures that must be applied. Yet, it is the unbalanced fluctuation of flooding and drought seasons that bears witness of the dangers of climate change and the necessity for urgent interventions with green solutions.
The impact of flooding is also exacerbated by poor planning from our government and slow-paced transformation. Many shack settlements are usually affected by floods including inland areas such as Mangaung, Tembisa and Mamelodi because of poor
planning from government and the reluctance to relocate informal settlements from flood plains and wetlands.