After living in a dilapidated shack for nearly 30 years with three children, one of whom is disabled, Fezeka Mtiya, of Khayelitsha in Harare, wept with relief when the Department of Human Settlements gave her an RDP house, on Thursday April 20.
The 57-year-old unemployed mother told Vukani that her life had been plagued by hardship and her hope of living in a decent house had vanished a long time ago. Ms Mtiya said like many other people, she had joined a number of housing projects which promised to build them houses and improve their inhumane living conditions.
However, while other members received their homes, she did not and each time she inquired about this, she would be sent from pillar to post, with no one providing sufficient reasons.
Ms Mtiya said that, over the years, she had lived in fear of her shack being engulfed by fire, and not being able to save her children or her belongings.
She said her shack had been riddled with holes and during heavy rains in winter, she was forced to put out empty buckets to contain water leaking into her home.
This, she said, created a health hazard.
Ms Mtiya said the only source of income for the family was a child grant and she had been unable to stretch this little money to revamp her shack. She said she had been unable to look for work because there would be no one to look after her disabled child. However, she said, the harsh living conditions she had been subjected to were now a thing of the past-thanks to the department. “This has been a long overdue and I’m glad that I have a house like other people.
I had been longing for a house for many years but today I’m proud to say that I have a place that I can call home for my children. I have no words to describe how I feel about this. This is the only that I ever wanted in my life,” she said.
Bonginkosi Madikizela, MEC for Human Settlements, said he had heard about Ms Mtiya’s plight from one of the officials who had been doing a door-to-door campaign last year who saw her dire living conditions and informed him.
He pointed out that people who lived with people who have disabilities needed to be prioritised when it came to the allocation of houses, provided that they qualify for the housing subsidy.
“We will add few features to the house and the yard to ensure that it is suitable for a person who lives with a disability,” he said.
Ward 98 councillor Anele Gabuza said he was thrilled that Ms Mtiya had finally received her house and that it was important that people receive good service from all spheres of government.