HomeLocal NewsSlum dwellers bear the brunt of bad weather

Slum dwellers bear the brunt of bad weather

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IT never rains but pours for illegal settlers at Bulawayo’s Ngozi Mine squatter camp, as many have been left homeless after their makeshift homes were washed away by the recent heavy rains.

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU/LINDA CHINOBVA

The squatters said they are living a miserable life after their shacks, mostly made up of pole and dagga, broken asbestos and corrugated iron sheets, gave in to the incessant rains.

“Being a slum dweller is the most miserable situation any human being can be faced with,” Precious Ndiweni, a resident at Ngozi Mine, said

“The rainy season is the worst period of our lives. For the years, we have stayed here, we dread the rainy season, as it really makes us feel like nothing but animals that stay in bushes.

“As we speak, some of our houses were destroyed by the rain and for the past days, together with my children, we have had to put up in the open under trees, as no one can accommodate us as the shacks are very small.”

Ndiweni said, during the night, they had to cover themselves with empty cement bags and plastics, although this hardly protected them from the intemperate weather.

Blessed Chikwanya concurred saying: “When it rains, the place becomes very muddy and there is no way you can reconstruct a shack.”

Fiona Dube, another slum dweller, said the heavy rains have polluted their open water sources, exposing them to water-borne diseases

“The rains have not only affected our shelter, but also the water we drink. Here at the camp, we have no toilets and we make use of the bush,” she said. “Whenever it rains, the water flows with all the dirt into the streams and it is the same water we use for drinking and other things.”

Dube said they had no choice, but to continue drawing their water from the polluted streams, despite the threat of an outbreak of waterborne diseases.

Ngozi Mine residents’ chairperson, Albert Ndlovu said it was disheartening to note that the government had forgotten about squatters, as “we cannot even remember the last time we heard from any government official”.

“As slum dwellers, we are highly disappointed by the government that seems to have forgotten about us,” he said.

“We cannot even remember the last time we heard from any government official. We want the government to know that we are not at peace with it and we want it to address our concerns because we are also human beings.”

Ndlovu said the living conditions at the slum were deteriorating and the government has to come to their rescue.

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