Home(vale) sweet home collapsing

2018-05-23 06:00
The piece of wall left between the houses of Robert Davis and his neighbour Edward Kock in Home­vale Extension.

The piece of wall left between the houses of Robert Davis and his neighbour Edward Kock in Home­vale Extension.

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“There was a lady here who took photos, but nothing happened. They do not even bring us any feedback.

“The current mayor was also here with his gang, as a follow-up visit, and went into my house. All the visitors promised to be back years ago.”

Those were the repriman­dings made by Robert Davis (63) of Homevale Extension in Kimberley whenExpress Northern Capewas invited to see his house.

He said Mangaliso Matika, mayor of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, had still been the speaker when he had visited his house and promised to return to fix or re-build the house after he became mayor.

“The municipality only came to fix the electricity box in the street and then disappeared,” said Davis.

He was close to refusing any entry to his two-roomed house which seems to be on the very verge of collapsing.

It has been brought to his attention that it was initially delegates of the national Department of Human Settlements who did assessments at his house, and others.

The houses are from the post-apartheid era, and continue to collapse. The Sol Plaatje Municipality admitted in 2016 that the collapse was caused by the clay soil the houses had been built on.

Davis is now at loggerheads with his neighbour Edward Kock (66), who wants to demolish a wall left behind by contractors when they built him a RDP house in 2014.

The two houses had been attached and the wall was left behind to support Davis’s house from collapsing.

The two admitted that Kock’s house had been in the same condition and was demolished.

“The contractor saw the danger and left this piece of wall to keep it standing,” said Davis.

“A few other houses were demolished and rebuilt and we are still waiting to hear our fate.”

Now Kock has to bear with the wall in his yard, which he fears will one day collapse onto his grandchildren.

They are even afraid of cleaning next to the wall, or touching the remaining piece of foundation, out of fear of moving it.

“I understand the dangers of demolishing the wall, as it would definitely result in my neighbour being homeless, but let our government account,” said Kock.

Another resident in 18th Street experiences the same kind of problem, as they are also afraid of touching the wall of their house.

The unemployed father stays with his 79-year-old mother, who he says fears for her life.

“We are even afraid of being away from home during rainy weather, fearing that we will find her trapped under the collapsed wall,” he said.

The frustrated father said they seemed to be the forgotten ones, because they did not plan protests to get attention from government.

“We have been here, facing the same challenges way before Lerato Park and Jacksonville, but they are already getting houses. It seems like blocking roads is all that our leaders understand.

“I was deeply disturbed when the then housing minister Lindiwe Sisulu passed us here in the mud houses and went to launch the new Lerato Park development, and returned to engage with the community again. What about us, are we inhuman?”

Residents are still with mixed reactions as to whether they should block the roads as well, due to the unfair treatment they get.

“Our houses were built before the houses in Seleke Street. Those houses were already demolished two years ago due to poor workmanship,” said Rosie Eland.

Clifford Lewis, Ward 3 councillor, revealed that no demolition would continue in Homevale, but he and his ward committee continued to complain to the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta).

“I feel there is a political plot because Seleke houses, which were build before ours, were re-built. Even damaged newly built Lerato Park hou­ses were rectified.

“We will continue to fight this battle of unfair treatment,” vowed Lewis.


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