Nozibelo Maphosa, Sunday News Reporter
MORE than 20 houses were affected by flash floods in Nketa 8 suburb in Bulawayo last week, leaving occupants knee deep in water.
The flash floods occurred as a result of the rains that pounded the suburb on Wednesday night. The residents reported the matter to their councillor, Gideon Mangena.
Clr Mangena said the floods were happening because of the poor drainage system in his ward where the drainage is clogged with sand and dirt which then leads to poor water flows.
“These floods are a result of blocked drainages here in Nketa. The council said I should mobilise a community group of storm water cleaners and I did that. However, this did not work as only 10 people were tasked to clean the whole ward for 20 days, this explains why some culverts are still filled with dirt, leading to water flowing and spilling into people’s yards.
“On Thursday these women came to me and reported the floods that had happened the previous night, and so I went to the site to see what had really happened,” said Clr Mangena.
One of the affected residents, Mrs Girlie Zirima said she and her family did not sleep on Wednesday night as they were trying to scoop the water out of the house.
“The water was above my knees, we had a hard time trying to scoop the water out of the house and shifting property to make sure nothing got damaged. We had to create an opening in my neighbour’s precast wall to divert the water’s direction of flow,” said Mrs Zirima.
She said before Christmas Day authorities from the city council came and people aired their complaints and the council promised to take action but nothing was done.
“Last week I went to the Fire Brigade offices for assistance, after the city council had promised to take care of the situation in a meeting which was held here the previous week,” she said.
The residents complained of poor service delivery by the city council with some saying they have been living in Nketa since 1987 and that was the last time the city council graded the roads. They said they have been faced by the same challenge of flooding since 2005.
Clr Mangena said he would pressure the city council on the matter as it endangered the livelihoods and property of the residents.
“I will take up the issue with the city council. I think as council we need to employ more people to clear the drainage system because people are not happy, and the 20 days that the city council gave the people to clear the choked drainage were not enough because they cannot finish the whole ward within such a period,” he said.
He said he tried to mobilise the residents to do a clean-up exercise targeting the water drains, but the residents refused.
“In response to my proposal the residents said they cannot clean because they are paying their rates to the city council, thus it is the council’s duty. My worry now is that if the rains continue and if the city council does not respond, the situation will worsen and property may be lost or damaged,” said Clr Mangena.