Still waiting for homes

2016-12-28 10:36
Residents question legitimacy of process.

Residents question legitimacy of process. (File)

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Disillusioned people who have spent what seems to be a “lifetime” waiting for housing in KwaZulu-Natal are questioning the legitimacy of the housing process.

Is the waiting list for housing in KwaZulu-Natal fraudulent?

Are the people on the waiting list for low-cost housing hoping for homes that are never coming?

These are just some of the questions being asked by people who say they have been waiting for houses for as long as 16 years in some cases.

In 2010, the national Department of Human Settlements developed the National Housing Needs Register (NHNR), a tool used at provincial and municipal level to enable households to register their need for adequate shelter.

However, disillusioned people continue to wait seemingly endlessly for their RDP houses, prompting allegations that those connected to the authorites may be jumping the queue.

KZN Department of Human Settlements spokesperson Mbulelo Baloyi said it will take at least 40 years to deal with the backlog in applications.

With the tough economic times and high unemployment rate, many people are pinning their hopes on RDP houses.

People will do anything to get an RDP house even if it means demolishing their existing mud houses to make space for an RDP house.

For example, two residents in rural Sweetwaters, Pietermaritzburg, demolished their houses about five years ago after being promised RDP houses.

Winnie Gazu demolished her house made with corrugated iron walls in 2011 when a construction company came to dig a trench in her yard.

Now she says she no longer cares about the house she was promised.

“I just want them to come and fill up this trench. The trench keeps on eroding and messing up the whole yard.”

Gazu said her children had been able to put money together to build her a “proper” house in the interim.

The two huts of Gazu’s neighbour, Filisi Mhlongo, are crammed with furniture, even on the porch.

Mhlongo said she is short of space to keep her furniture because she demolished a third hut to make way for an RDP house.

In Snathing, Edendale, the Mnikati family said they have waited in vain for 14 years for an RDP house, although there are finished and unoccupied RDP houses next to them.

In Tongaat on the North Coast, residents of the SD/FH rental flats said they have waited for more than a decade for their title deeds.

“We are a bit disappointed in the manner the Human Settlements Department is treating us.

“We have been waiting for our flats to be upgraded and to be given title deeds for over a decade.

“We spoke to MEC Ravi Pillay and he promised a time frame in which the project will be completed, but he didn’t get back to us,” said a resident, who only identified himself as Mr Singh.

Baloyi said the department had gone “big” on the serviced sites sector, where they encourage people needing houses to use these sites to build for themselves.

“Based on the present backlog we have determined that it would take us almost 40 years to wipe out the backlog and we had to think out of the box by being innovative.

“We have been very aggressive with our slums clearance or informal settlements upgrade programme [in places such as Jika Joe] and we also introduced social or rental housing as evidenced by the development of the Grange social housing which is presently under construction,” he said.

He said all the KZN municipalities were participating in the NHNR.

“With the unique number that is allocated to every person on the register we are able to track the administration of the potential beneficiary list in real time, thus ensuring the integrity of the beneficiary administration process,” he said.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  rdp houses

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