There is a ray of hope for Tsholotsho villagers after government finally moved to start construction of their houses, which were for the umpteenth time destroyed by recurrent floods last year.
By Luyanduhlobo Makwati
Njabulo Mathema said life had been unbearable for the last two decades as floods kept on destroying their houses leaving them homeless.
But after years of unfulfilled promises, the villagers are now hopeful they will get proper houses after the government started construction of permanent structures for them in areas that are less vulnerable to floods.
Tshino and Esawudweni villages are a hive of activity as haulage trucks move in and out delivering various building materials before the construction of houses begins.
The activities have brought hope in the midst of despair among villagers as they were seen working with zeal to get more houses completed.
The villagers at times assist in offloading building materials and they cannot wait to get their houses built.
Villagers said it had been a long journey for the government to meet its promises first made in 2001, after Cyclone Eline-induced floods destroyed their homes.
“We hope this time we will benefit from this and we start rebuilding our wealth which was washed away by heavy rains since 2000,” Mathema said.
“Now that we have been relocated to a better area, we hope things will get better so we can sustain ourselves.
Sakhile Ndlovu, one of the elderly women at Tshino village said living in makeshift tents at transit camps was a horrible experience for them.
“We are seeing these trucks coming here almost every day. We hope they will finish constructing these houses very fast because our lives have been hell,” she said.
Ndlovu said villagers were happy with the developments.
“When we stayed in transit camps we did not know what would happen to us, now it is better after the coming-in of this government,” he said.
Tsholotsho district administrator Gladys Zizhou said there was massive development in Tsholotsho North where flood victims had been relocated to.
“We are in the right direction and there is massive development in the area as you know we escalated our operations in line with the 100-day policy enunciated by the president,” she said.
Zizhou said they had completed the first 100 houses and some of the affected families would soon be allocated their new homes.
The families will be given three-roomed houses .
Over 300 families were affected by floods in Tsholotsho North.
Construction of the new houses is being done with assistance from the District Development Fund and Public Works Department and is being coordinated by the district administrator’s office.
Work already done includes the building of 300 toilets, of which 164 are in Tshino, while the remainder 136 are at Esawudweni.
Tsholotsho was the hardest hit by Cyclone Dineo last year when water breached the banks of Gwayi river sweeping away homesteads in areas such as Sipepa where the government had to rescue families through helicopters.
Other areas that were affected last year include Mahlosi, Mathaba, Thamuhla, Mbamba, Mele, Maphili and Mbanyana.