South Africa's 'Chocolate City', where houses melt in the rain

2018-03-02 07:30
Residents of Dambuza in Pietermaritzburg call their settlement Chocolate City because they live in mud houses. (Nompendulo Ngubane, GroundUp)

Residents of Dambuza in Pietermaritzburg call their settlement Chocolate City because they live in mud houses. (Nompendulo Ngubane, GroundUp)

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Pietermaritzburg - Residents of Dambuza in Pietermaritzburg call their settlement Chocolate City because they live in mud houses.

The hundreds of residents only have pit toilets and say they are running out of space to build new toilets when they are full. There are no communal taps in their yards and the roads are bad, according to a GroundUp report.

Resident Sonto Mbanjwa said the community fetched water from a leaking tap on the side of the road.

Ward 21 councillor Mtuza Mkhize had raised the lack of development in the area with the council, but a problem with acquiring land in Greater Edendale was delaying the Msunduzi Municipality, he said.

According to municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha, the municipality had received a budget from the Department of Human Settlements.

"Some of the money will be used for land acquisition within the town centre. Some will be used for acquisition of land in Edendale, of which Dambuza is part."

READ: Collapsing mud school a danger

Mafumbatha said the delay was because the owners of the land were absent.

Thokozile Mahlangu, who is 33, was born in her mud house and has lived there all her life.

She lives with her two young adult brothers, Senzo and Dumi.

"My parents died in this same mud house," said Thokozile.

"We have rebuilt this house four times. It cannot sustain rain and heavy storms. When it rains, it leaks from the roof… Our democracy has failed us."

A resident who did not want to be named said: "In some homes they share yards. If the old toilet is full, there is no space for a new toilet. One cannot build a toilet at the neighbour's yard. My toilet is full. Our family of six is currently using the neighbour's toilet."

He said that, at the Dambuza home of Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande, a kilometre away, the streets were tarred.

"If you go by Nzimande's home you will see the difference … They tar side roads instead of fixing the main road, the main road used by the taxis. It has potholes. Why is that? We are always left behind as residents and voters," he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  service delivery

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