Gogo dies waiting for home ANC promised 7 years ago

2019-01-18 14:55

An 89-year-old KwaSwayimane granny who was promised a house by the ANC following her rape ordeal seven years ago, died on Tuesday while still waiting for the house.

Eleena Mbhele, whose 2012 rape ordeal at the hands of a 30-year-old local man left the nation in shock, died at her Emambheleni home in KwaSwayimane following a stroke.

“She died shortly after the stroke but even before that she had not been okay — the rape incident affected her general health very badly,” her daughter-in-law Happiness Mbhele said.

The elderly woman’s attacker had taken advantage of her age and the fact that she lived in a dilapidated house with scant security.

The story of the rape generated both anger and sympathy from the general public, resulting in the Social Development MEC, Weziwe Thusi, and other government leaders visiting Mbhele’s house.

It was during this period when the spotlight was on her that the ANC in the area pledged to build a secure house for the granny to prevent the recurrence of the attack she had endured.

However, seven years after making the promise, the ANC is yet to deliver the house.

Eleena Mbhele’s daughter-in-law, Happiness, stands outside the house in which Eleena was raped in 2012.

According to Happiness, the contractor had started building the house but then stopped.

“She was looking forward to moving into the house but unfortunately things did not happen that way. The builder who had been building the house told us he was no longer able to continue with the project,” she said.

After the builder had stopped work, the ANC leadership abandoned the project, only to revive it on learning that the granny had died.

When The Witness arrived at Mbhele’s home on Thursday afternoon, a new builder had just started working on the house.

ANC ward councillor Nomusa Khanyile said she decided to intervene out of fear that the granny would die before moving into the house the ANC had promised her.

“I then started a fundraising campaign but it was too late as by the time I raised enough money to buy building materials she was already gravely ill.

“There isn’t much that could be done now, all we have to do now is to ensure that the granny’s house is completed,” she said.

Asked why it had taken more than seven years to build the house — comprising two bedrooms, a dining room and a kitchen, Khanyile said she did not have the full details of the project.

“I only became councillor in 2016, I stepped in because I felt I should help as the granny was in my ward,” she said.

ANC KwaZulu-Natal Women’s League secretary Nonhlanhla Gabela, who is one of the ANC leaders who was tasked with delivering the house to the granny, apologised for the ruling party’s failure.

“We really had wanted her to move into the house before she died but unfortunately things did not go according to plan.

“The contractor who had volunteered to build the house ran into financial problems and had to abandon the project.

“Initially, we had approached the Human Settlements Department but only to find that their processes were long,” she said.

The granny, whose attacker was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Pietermaritzburg high court in 2013, will be buried on Saturday.

She is survived by two sons and grandchildren.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  anc
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