By Celani Sikhakhane
The community of Nongoma in northern KwaZulu-Natal is living in fear due to climate change that has led to deadly storms and heavy rainfall.
Nongoma, home to the palaces of the Zulu royal family, has witnessed heavy rain recently that has damaged roads, with lightning leaving people dead and their homes burnt to ashes.
The local municipality has responded by channelling some of its funds into equipment to repair roads damaged by the heavy rain.
Nongoma mayor, Albert Mngcwango, said they fear the climate is changing and affecting rural people.
“It’s scary but we have now decided to buy a grader to fix the damaged roads. We are planning to buy another one after the new financial year to beef up our disaster plan for damage caused by the dangerous weather in Nongoma,” he said.
Roads that have been swept away make it difficult for communities to access emergency assistance and last year, three family members were struck by lightning and died. In 2020, two members of the Buthelezi family were killed by lightning and in 2015, lightning hit seven people attending a traditional ceremony at eMahhashini, in Nongoma.
Philisiwe Nkosi said that some people are leaving Nongoma for other towns as they fear for their lives.
“We are glad the municipality is trying to address this issue by buying road equipment since we have dangerous rains that destroy our gravel roads. But they need to come up with educational programmes on climate change and assist us with lightning conductors.
“People here are being killed by lightning and this causes fighting, because victims believe they are being struck by lightning because of neighbours or relatives bewitching them,” she said.
Pictured above: A grader and emergency vehicles supplied by Nongoma Municipality in an effort to combat climate change; and Nongoma mayor Albert Mngcwango with the new grader.
Image source: Supplied