'We will die waiting for our houses'

2017-11-04 07:22
Water flows from a broken drain in front of Zoleka Ngqobaka’s home. (Thembela Ntongana, GroundUp)

Water flows from a broken drain in front of Zoleka Ngqobaka’s home. (Thembela Ntongana, GroundUp)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

East London – "We will die waiting for our houses," says 74-year-old Zoleka Ngqobaka.

She is one of three elderly people GroundUp spoke to in C-section of Duncan Village, East London, who have been waiting for houses for more than 25 years.

They say that over the years their living conditions have gone from bad to worse.

Ngqobaka has a lame leg and uses a stick to get around.

She has been living in Duncan Village for more than 25 years. Her one-roomed shack is dark; the only light comes from the door when it is open. The floor is bare cement.

Her only child died a few years ago. She lives with her 13-year-old grandchild. Sometimes she looks after her neighbour's child.

"Our living conditions are getting worse instead of improving," she says.

"In front of my door, there is dirty water from [blocked] drains. I eat in the smell. No person should have to live like this, but I have no choice," says Ngqobaka.

The smell is worse on hot days, she says.

Questions over promised housing development

Thozama Ndongeni, 61, moved to Duncan Village in 1990 from her parents' home in Mount Frere.

She now lives with her teenage grandson in a three-room shack. She can no longer walk due to arthritis.

When GroundUp visited her, she was being carried to a car in a chair by her neighbours to go for a check-up at the hospital.

She doesn't have a wheelchair and depends on her neighbours' goodwill.

"I thought older people took priority but I was wrong," she says.

"Younger people are moving into houses, while we are staying in shacks with no hope of getting houses. We have been waiting for more than 25 years. All we get is promises," says Ndongeni.

Kholiswa Tsaba is 65 years old and lives alone in a one-room shack. She survives on her pension.

"My husband died waiting for a house. It looks like the same thing will happen to me," she says.

A month ago she slipped and fell crossing a stream of water flowing from blocked drains. She now walks with a limp.

Fifty families share five working toilets. There is no formal electricity provided and residents depend on illegal connections.

Duncan Village residents are meant to be beneficiaries of a housing development in Reeston.

GroundUp tried for several days to get clarity on this development. We also tried to get comment from the municipality. We had received no responses at the time of publication.

Read more on:    east london  |  service delivery

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.