Family’s waiting list woes

2015-05-05 06:00

A family in Eagle Park are fed up of being patient while waiting for their new home.

The Slamang family consists of quadriplegic Yusuf (52), his wife Mariam (45) and their three children, aged 19, 11 and 9.

Yusuf explains from his bedridden position that he was placed on the Mama’s Housing Project waiting list more than eight years ago. He hasn’t been helped yet, despite being one of the first 15 beneficiaries placed on the list. The project rolled out its third and last phase during 2014.

“I have been living in this area for more than eight years now waiting for my house but to no avail. It is sad knowing that I could have been in a house with my family already but this hasn’t happened yet,” he says.

Yusuf, who was deemed disabled after being shot, sits with his family on their bed in a cramped space doubling up as a lounge and kitchen and explains he has been patient for too long and wants progress in receiving his home. “It does not make sense that I was one of the first 15 people on the waiting list but years down the line other people who came after me are in their homes,” he sighs.

Yusuf and Mariam say they filled out all necessary documentation at the beginning of the waiting list process in 2011. They started started questioning the process two years later when they saw other people move in before them.

“Many of the people who moved into these houses were placed on the waiting list long after us. It doesn’t make sense when a 23-year-old moves into a home as the beneficiary when we have been around since the inception of the project,” Yusuf stresses.

When following up on how much longer they would have to wait, they were told theor papers were lost. “It is infuriating because we are living in dire conditions at the moment with a cramped space for our family of six, which includes my one-year-old granddaughter. Our children have been bullied by other children in this community, saying they are poor and their father cannot do anything for them,” Mariam adds.

After hearing about a young woman moving into the area that was placed on the waiting list after the Slamang family, Mariam says she was blinded by rage.

“I went to her house and cried while I smashed in her house windows. I was so angry just thinking about how long we have been struggling and somebody comes and all of a sudden owns a house. It was just unfair,” Mariam says.

According to the Slamang family they are being inconvenienced further due to the delay. “I stand to get a motorised wheelchair from Western Cape Rehabilitation but this can only happen once I’m in a house. Now I’m bedridden all day and my wife has to struggle for at least an hour to get me out of our front door so that I can get some fresh air. She also has to shift my position every three hours to prevent bedsores. If I get a motorised wheelchair it can take a lot off her shoulders,” Yusuf says.

Abe Braaf who is legally assisting the family says housing is a thorny issue and he understands the need and plight of the family.

Braaf says he is assisting the Slamang family because “younger and healthy people are being housed and Yusuf cannot endure the suffering he goes through in the wood and iron structure on the open field”.

“This family needs assistance urgently because they cannot spend another winter living in these conditions.”

Mama’s Housing Project’s community liaison officer Siva Moodley says the last phase of the project was rolled out last year and Mama’s Housing Project will not receive anymore housing units.

“The issue with this project has been coming on a long time now. However due process was followed in issuing houses to beneficiaries.”

Moodley however says the family should have put in haste with regard to receiving a home. “Sometimes you find that people waited so long without following up about how far their process is. This particular family has waited for more than eight years and they shouldn’t have waited so long.”

However, he adds there “must be answers for a family who is in such a situation”.

“Someone must take responsibility for [the documents being lost] and there must be answers for the family.”

People’s Post tried contacting Igshaan May who sits on the Mama’s Housing Project steering committee for comment on numerous occasions. He had not responded at the time of going to print

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