People desperate for housing

2018-10-17 06:02
PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaTents that Jika-Joe residents are using as a shelter after their houses were burnt down.

PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaTents that Jika-Joe residents are using as a shelter after their houses were burnt down.

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JIKA-JOE residents whose houses burnt down in August say they are tired of living in tents.

These residents have been living in tents that were given to them by Msunduzi Municipality for almost three months.

They tried to rebuild their houses immediately after the fire but the municipality stopped them, saying that they have no right to build in that area as it belongs to them [the municipality].

One resident, Nobuhle Ndlovu, told Echo that, since they started living in these tents, no one has come to inform them of what will happen next — whether they are they going to be given houses or if they will be allowed to rebuild.

“Even the ward councillor has not come back to check on us and update us as to what is happening after they gave us these tents and blankets. We cannot live in these tents forever.

“Life is tough here. It is no different from living on the streets. The rain just pours inside and everything inside the tents get wet, from clothes to the food.

“The houses that we were in living previously, before they got burnt, they were much better than the tents. We don’t even have toilets — we have to beg people to use their toilets and they have even decided to lock them. We understand that the municipality does not want us to build the houses where we used to live but they must give us an alternative place. They cannot just dump us here and leave us like nothing happened. We are living with our children and a tent is not the right place to raise a child,” she said.

The residents also complained that they don’t feel safe and they are living in fear all the time.

“You can’t go anywhere if you do n’thave anyone to look after your tent because anyone can steal the little things that you have.If you hear noises at night, you wake up quickly because you do not know if that person is going to walk into your tent and hurt you or if he or she is just passing by,” said another resident.

Echo established that some residents who were living in tents have since relocated because they could not stand the conditions they were living in.

Ward Councillor Nkululeko Mkhize said he is aware of the situation residents are facing but, unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done.

“Usually, when the people are given tents, they are supposed to live in them for two months at most while they are trying to rebuild their houses. In this situation, the municipality has left the tents for so long because these people do not have places to go.

“The municipality is not going to build any houses and they are not allowed to rebuild their houses at Jika-Joe. They need to find another place where they can rebuild their houses.

“The only thing that I can do for them is to go to the municipality and Human Settlements and ask them if for vacant space that can be given to these people.

“We feel for them but there is nothing we can do for them now,” he said.

Comment from Msunduzi Municipality was not forthcoming at the time of going to print.

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