Toilets but no houses: Toilets built 8 years ago are now blocked and cracking and still no sign of promise for houses

2019-11-20 08:59
Lovey Mpolweni standing next to the ashes of what used to be her home in Fingo Mission. In the background is one of the toilets.

Lovey Mpolweni standing next to the ashes of what used to be her home in Fingo Mission. In the background is one of the toilets. (Chris Gilili, GroundUp)

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In 2011, the Makana municipality built toilets for 28 households in Fingo Village near Makhanda, Eastern Cape, and promised houses would follow soon.

Eight years later, the toilets are blocked, the structures are cracking, and there are no houses. The village has about 400 residents, GroundUp reports. 

"All they did is just build us toilets in 2011, when Zuma was still president. They promised that the houses will follow soon," says Ethel Funani.

READ | Company leaves R164m housing project unfinished

The 74-year-old has lived in the small village of Mission in Fingo Village her whole life. She has been waiting for an RDP house since the 1990s. She lives in a leaking, four-roomed zinc and mud house with her five children and three grandchildren.

"This is definitely not how a human being should live. I have given up all hope in my government," says Funani.

Ntombomzi Tom, also a lifelong resident of Fingo Village, lives in a one-room shack with nine other people. The shack of rusted zinc is baking hot inside. There is one tiny window. The floor is muddy.


"We have been waiting for a house for over 20 years now…"


"We share the room with our mother, who is old and sick. We have been waiting for a house for over 20 years now… Different councillors come and go with their promises that never get fulfilled," says Tom.

Lovey Mpolweni, 64, lost her shack in a fire on Mandela Day this year. She and her family of seven are now homeless and sleep at the homes of neighbours. She says her mother was approved for a house in a development in KwaNdancama, but she died in 2017 before they were given the house. The paper proving this went up in the flames.

"I lost everything I had in that fire… bed, TV, fridge… It's very painful having to share someone else's house, especially if you come with your own children," says Mpolweni.

Housing officer at Makana Local Municipality Vumile Nxamleko said the Public Protector was looking into the Fingo Village housing issue.

"Our legal manager is in the process of responding… I do not see a need for the municipality to respond to your enquiry. And certainly, in view of all the above, my office will not respond to the housing questions you posed to me," Nxamleko replied to GroundUp.

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  housing
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