Langa’s old flats crumble down


Tenants of Old Flats in Langa, have expressed their concern about repeated sewerage pipes leakages, blocked toilets and the crumbling buildings.

They described their living conditions as “appalling” and “not suitable for human beings”, particularly children. The tenants charged that they have had to endure inhumane living conditions for a year now and also bemoaned the damp and dark conditions and broken windows.

Tenant Nomalungelo Kwababani, 48, shares a room with her three daughters and three grandchildren. She had been living in Old Flats for 17 years.

She said the toilets have not had flush levers for almost two years and the sink is leaking. Ms Kwababani claimed the City of Cape Town used to clean and maintain the building during the week.

“As residents we feel that the City has neglected us. We used to pay R20 monthly rent and after the City stopped sending the rent collection letters to us, that is when the City started to ignore the maintenance checks of the building,” she said.

With heavy winter downpours expected in the coming months, Ms Kwababani said they are bracing themselves for misery. She said whenever there was rain they could not sleep in their beds because of the water that leaked through their roofs.

She said about 30 people, including children and men, share one communal bathroom.

“If I had money, I would leave these Old Flats and buy my family a better house or even a shack for that matter because the environment we live in is painful,” she said.

Another distraught resident, Nomonde Mnqanqeni, said the sink and the sewerage pipe had been leaking for about four months and they had reported the matter a number of times.

“Two weeks ago the toilets were blocked for about a week and people decided to put money together and hire a local plumber to fix the toilets whereas the City is the one that is responsible for the maintenance of this building. The City used to check the building once a week or come after a month, but now they had not checked the building for nearly four months. The building is also infested with rats,” she said.

Ms Mnqanqeni believed that the City was paying more attention to the newly built flats next to Bhunga Avenue

“ We appeal to the City to monitor the state of this building like they used to do before, and we also hope as well to be moved to the new flats,” she said. Mayoral committee member for human settlements, Benedicta van Minnen, said the City’s housing and maintenance department responds to all notifications and service requests in this regard, on a day-to-day basis.

“There are several issues with the main lines and an integrated solution is being sought with the City’s utility services directorate to remedy the situation,” she concluded.