Sweetwaters residents tell of frustration at waiting 4 years for RDP houses

2016-03-10 11:00
Winnie Gazu says that earthworks to build her RDP house commenced four years ago, but the house was never built. She is now left with a steep bank in front of her property.

Winnie Gazu says that earthworks to build her RDP house commenced four years ago, but the house was never built. She is now left with a steep bank in front of her property. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Residents of rural Sweetwaters, Pietermaritzburg, say they are “sick and tired” of waiting for RDP houses promised to them four years ago.

Winnie Gazu, who demolished her house made with corrugated iron walls to make way for the RDP house, said she no longer cared for 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.

However, an engineer from the Public Works Department had told her that cracks might start showing in her house if the trench was not attended to urgently.

“This house is the result of the hard work of my children, who I raised alone in a tin house after losing my husband,” she said.

Gazu said the trench posed a danger to her grandchildren.

“They are denied the joy of being able to play in the yard. Most of the time I keep them indoors.”

At the home of Gazu’s neighbour, Filisi Mhlongo, furniture is crammed even on the porch of her two huts. Mhlongo said she is short of space to keep her furniture because she had demolished a third hut to make way for the RDP house.

She said the company contracted to build her house had started building a slab, but had demolished the structure later.

“They said there was too much grass that had grown in the trench. That was the last time I saw them.

“I would have been better off with my mud house. Now, when I have visitors, I do not have space for them to sit inside this house,” she said.

Mhlongo said her neighbour, Ma Mdlalose, had died without realising the dream of owning a house.

Mbulelo Baloyi, spokesperson of the Department of Human Settlements and Public Works in the province, insisted that Gazu’s house had been built, although it was pointed out to him that the trench built by the department-appointed contractor still stood. He said the co-operatives appointed to build Mhlongo and Mdlalose’s houses had gone to the wrong sites. “They were requested to stop work as the houses were not in the construction list at the time. Baloyi said the Vulindlela Development Association will prioritise the two houses and they will be in the list for next week.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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