RDP recipients want mouldy, cracked houses fixed

2017-05-31 05:43
Government built homes in Kuyasa, Khayelitsha, where residents complain about mould, leaks and walls that were never plastered. (Vincent Lali/GroundUp)

Government built homes in Kuyasa, Khayelitsha, where residents complain about mould, leaks and walls that were never plastered. (Vincent Lali/GroundUp)

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Cape Town - Providing homes to people who cannot afford to buy their own is only the first part of the challenge for the South African government.

Once houses are built, they need maintenance, and with massive unemployment, residents of RDP houses can seldom afford the upkeep.

This is why many families in Kuyasa, Khayelitsha – where just under 4 000 families live in RDP houses – are unhappy. According to GroundUp, their houses have mould and cracks which allow rain water and cold in.

Lulama Mgudini and his family moved into their RDP house in 2007.

"The house looked good when we moved in, but three months afterwards, it developed cracks and we saw mould on the walls," he said. "It is hard to bear staying in the house in winter as our clothes and ceiling become damp in the mornings.”

Khungeka Cewu stays in an RDP house in which rooms are separated by ceiling boards. Her family wants to fix the cracks in their house, but they have no means to do so.

"The house has never been plastered from the start, and bricks look as if they will collapse on us. But we have no money to repair it," she said. "In winter, water comes in … We are frightened of winter."

Community leader Monwabisi Makoma said his RDP house becomes hard to live in during rainy winter seasons.

"When it rains, water seeps through the unplastered bricks and runs down the wall,” he said.

Remedial work 

To stop water from penetrating the wall, he covers it with paint. He said the wall and the ceiling become black and mouldy during and after heavy downpours.

"If I place my shoes under my bed for two or three days, they become covered in white mould," he said. "After heavy rains, the house smells as if there is a rotting dead dog inside."

Makoma wants the government to repair the house or rebuild it from scratch.

According to Ntomboxolo Makoba, spokesperson for the provincial MEC for Human Settlements Bonginkosi Madikizela, Kuyasa was developed in 2001 by the City of Cape Town. The problems with the houses were raised with the Human Settlements department at a community meeting in December 2015. A subsequent "walkabout" confirmed that some houses had mould and cracks.

"The minister pronounced that officials from his Department will visit the area and work with the leadership to investigate the cause and submit a report and confirm whether remedial work is required or not," said Makoba.

The department, together with community leaders, is now verifying ownership of houses built by the state. Once this is done, a technical report will be compiled on the state of the houses.

Madikizela said: "All the houses that were built before the establishment of National Home Builders Registration Council, which was in 2002, are rectified under an emergency housing program, provided the reason the house is falling apart is because of structural defects. But those houses that are looking bad because of neglect from the owner, we do not rectify them."

Read more on:    cape town  |  housing  |  service delivery

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