KwaZayeka man lives in a collapsing house

2018-03-21 06:01
PHOTO: lethiwe makhanya‘This is not life,’ says Bhekani Luthuli, who lives in a collapsing house.

PHOTO: lethiwe makhanya‘This is not life,’ says Bhekani Luthuli, who lives in a collapsing house.

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“I SLEEP with one eye open if it is raining, fearing that this house will collapse on me.”

This is how Bhekani Luthuli (54) from KwaZayeka in Sweetwaters described his living conditions for the past six years.

Luthuli, who lives in a one-room mud house, said his house is collapsing because it is old and can no longer withstand heavy rains.

He said he is not able to build another house or fix the one he has because he is unemployed.

“I sew shoes for a living and there’s no way I’ll be able to build or fix this one with that money. This is not life. I live in fear everyday, especially in summer with all the heavy rains. This used to be a five-room house but it started collapsing in 2016 and I was left with one room.

“The house has holes everywhere. When I am inside I am able to see everything that is happening outside. If it is raining I have to shift my bed into a corner where the rain does not leak through, but if the rain is heavy I am forced to stay with relatives,” he said.

“I feel excluded as a member of this community because everyone who applied for RDP houses at the same time as me and those who applied after me, have received their houses. What breaks my heart is that some of the people who get these RDP houses are those who do not need them.

“I can’t leave my house without having another because the induna in the area will think that no one lives here and he will allocate my site to someone else. I need any help that I can get to get out of this situation.”

Luthuli said he applied for an RDP house in 2012 but he never got it.

His neighbour, Ntokozo Ntsikithe, said he has done everything to try to help Luthuli but there is no progress.

“When the weather is bad, my neighbour and I check on Luthuli. There is nothing that I have not done to help him. The previous councillor and the new councillor know about Luthuli’s situation. The new councillor Sbusiso Mtshali promised to come and check Luthuli’s house in September last year but he never did.

“I am very worried because no one deserves to live like this. Luthuli is old, he will freeze to death in winter. Something needs to be done or this house will collapse while he is still sleeping,” Ntsikithe said.

Ward Councillor Sbusiso Mtshali said he “could not agree or deny that he spoke to Luthuli”. However, he said he is willing to assist him.

“I do not recall speaking to him about his problem but I am encouraging him to come to me so that I can see what I can do to assist him. My office is always open from Monday to Friday and I live in the area. We always encourage people to come to us first before going to the newspapers,” he said.

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