Long wait for house

Freedom Square in Nyanga

A 57-year-old Nyanga woman has run out of patience after waiting for an RDP house for 29 years.

And while the City has admitted that Zingiswa Mtibe from Freedom Hostels is on the City’s Housing Needs Register – and has been since her application was first made on February 9, 1991 – they claim Ms Mtibe was at fault because she had given them the wrong address.

Ms Mtibe, however, is certain that she supplied the correct details when she made her application and still has the red card she was given when she did so.

The unemployed woman who lives with her son and that of her older brother at the Nyanga hostel said she is now facing eviction from the children of her brother.

She held back tears as she recalled how she had been sent from pillar to post by the City and provincial government’s human settlements departments.

When years passed and she had still not been provided with housing, Ms Mtibe started going to the local housing office and the offices of the Department of Human Settlements offices in Wale Street, Cape Town, every week.

But not even that helped. So she turned to Vukani.

Describing the wait as a “nightmare”, she said over the years officials had told her she would get a house in Khayelitsha but that never materialised.

She was again promised one in Mau-Mau, which also didn’t happen.

Showing Vukani the proof of letters and red cards that she said she was given by the City, Ms Mtibe said she feels abandoned by the government.

“I saw younger people getting houses but I am still here. This is the most painful and traumatic time of my life. I feel that the world has turned its back on me.

“The hostel is full and we always fight because the family is growing and I hate that. I want my own place where I will not bother anyone or be bothered. I have submitted every document and was promised to get a house in Khayelitsha at some point,” she said with tears flowing down her cheeks.

But there is little hope at the end of the tunnel for her. Mayoral committee member for human settlements Malusi Booi, said the previous submission would be withdrawn for consideration from the Mau Mau housing project as applicants residing in the Gugulethu Hostels are not being considered for the project.

However, he said: “The application will be reinstated for possible consideration in future projects, depending on whether Ms Mtibe meets the criteria for consideration in such projects.

“It is important for Ms Mtibe to keep her address and cellphone number up to date so that the City can contact her when it is her turn to be assisted,” he said.

Mr Booi said while the Housing Needs Register is now fully electronic, Ms Mtibe must hold on to her card which serves as her personal proof of application.

He said she and others may visit this website to update their information.

A card system was used to keep track of residents who had applied for housing. The colour of the card indicated the year in which the person applied for housing.