Long wait for home

SIYAVUYA KHAYA

When Sindiswa Zilindile, of Site C, received a letter from the Department of Human Settlements in May 2004, stating that her housing subsidy application had been approved, she could not hide her joy.

More than 12 years later, she is yet to see the foundation of her house being laid, even though some people whom she said were approved with her have been in their houses for years.

Ms Zilindile, 44, told Vukani that she was shocked, when in 2008, departmental authorities said her house had been completed in 2006. Since then, she has been sent from pillar to post, she claims.

Battling to contain her tears, she slammed the department for failing to to explain why she had not received her house.

Ms Zilindile described her living conditions as appalling. The shack in which she lives is riddled with holes and leaks when it rains, posing a health hazard to her and three children. And with heavy rains expected in the coming weeks, she said she was concerned about her children’s health.

Ms Zilindile said she also has been in raging battles with some of her neighbours because of where her shack was located. It is apparently on a piece of land meant for sewerage and water pipes.

It is alleged that connections to some of the houses could not be completed because of her shack. She added that she has also received numerous eviction warnings from the municipality.

“I don’t really blame my neighbours for being angry at me because they don’t have running water because of my shack. They have to go and fetch water from other neighbours. I built my shack as a temporary lodging because I thought I was going to receive the house very soon since it had been approved,” she said.

Ms Zilindile said she had been part of the KBDC people’s housing project, which no longer exists.

She said towards the end of 2004 they were moved to Mandela Park with a plan to build them houses in the area.

But due to infighting between them and Mandela Park residents they were then moved back to Site C.

She said only 503 beneficiaries out of 1000 received their houses. “We were then told to join another housing project called 497 in 2009,” she said. “

Ms Zilindile is unemployed and dependent on the children’s social grant.

“If I had money, I would buy my own house and stop waiting for a house from the government who does not care about poor people,” she concluded.

Zalisile Mbali, spokesperson for MEC for Human Settlements, Bonginkosi Madikizela, said the department is looking into the matter.

“The department will send out a team to investigate the matter and will comment when it has concluded its investigation,” he said.