Families fear eviction

2019-07-19 14:15
Jeanette Campbell, a resident, shows a dilapidated window at one of the municipal houses in Scottsville. PHOTO: kerushun pillay

Jeanette Campbell, a resident, shows a dilapidated window at one of the municipal houses in Scottsville. PHOTO: kerushun pillay

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Families in five municipal houses in Scottsville fear eviction because an extension of the N3 highway may cut through their properties.

The houses are in a dilapidated state, with residents claiming Msunduzi has not maintained or repaired the houses, which have cracks on the walls, roofs caving in, and broken fixtures.

Residents living in the houses, on New England Road near the N3 turnoff, say they have not been given any timeframe about when construction may begin on a detour from the N3 by the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral).

They said they were informed about it in a meeting.

On Monday, the families were given application forms to be rehoused in different municipal homes, adding to concerns that their eviction could be soon.

Families are already selling off their possessions, bracing themselves for eviction from homes they have lived in for more than 30 years. They pay about R1 000 to R1 500 in rent.

Jeanette Campbell, who lives in a four-bedroom home with her mother, said all five houses received application forms for new municipal housing in their post boxes on Monday.

“But nobody is telling us what is happening.”

Campbell’s house has a ceiling which is caving in, and water leaks in the roof. “When it rains, our front room becomes a swimming pool.

“The municipality has never maintained this home. We’ve painted it and replaced the geyser twice.”

A house where Margret Mustard has lived for 29 years has broken floorboards and ceilings.

She has stuck bin bags to parts of the ceiling to stop rain from pouring into the house.

Several windows have missing window panes and some windows can’t be closed.

The ceiling in her bathroom is mouldy, toilet tiles are broken and the toilet seat needs to be held in place with elastic bands.

“Who can live like this?” she asked.

MSUNDUZI said yesterday that it was not clear at this stage whether Sanral needed to build through these homes.

“We are awaiting their [Sanral’s] confirmation soon. Should the properties not be required for road widening purposes, then we will consider replanning the area and developing a new housing solution,” spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said.

Mafumbatha said the City has been engaging regularly with the residents. “The houses are all in a poor state of disrepair. Renovating them will result in high costs. We will be looking at several options to re-house these residents, as most of the residents are pensioners.”

Sanral did not respond to a query.

Meanwhile, Msunduzi confirmed yesterday it is investigating the possibility that tenants of municipal housing in Scottsville are subletting their units.

Mafumbatha added: “Some tenants have arranged to leave the country but are subletting to ensure they still secure the revenue they earn from these properties.

“Should the above be true, these tenants will be evicted without alternative accommodation, as this is a major breach of conditions of the lease agreement.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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