Makhaza man waits desperately for his house

The joy and hope of owning a decent house has turned sour for Michael Kobowana, of Makhaza, after builders assigned to build his house allegedly disappeared after laying the foundation.

The 56-year-old unemployed father of one told Vukani he had moved from his plot in 2013 so construction could start.

Four years later, he is still desperately waiting for his house to be built, and he lives in a shack with no access to running water and electricity.

Mr Kobowana said the builders stopped working without giving any reasons-and to make matters worse, he no longer remembers the name of the project that should build his house.

Mr Kobowana said he was made to believe that the house would be completed quickly. But that was not the case.

He wept silently as he decribed to Vukani some of the challenges of living in a dilapidated one-room shack with four people.

There was no privacy, he said.

Other family members were forced to move outside whenever someone had to take the bath to allow that person some privacy.

He said street committees in the area had told him to move his shack, and he had refused because he had nowhere to go.

He said he had visited the offices of the Department of Human Settlement and been told that the department had kept his subsidy, but he does not know why they have done that.

“My life is miserable and I don’t know what to do to get my house.

“I have been advised to contact the media in an effort to find help,” he said.

He said other people in the area had illegally tapped into their neighbours’ electricity supply and pay a monthly fee for that, but he could afford to do so.

He said the only source of income was his grandchildren’s grants and some piece meal jobs.

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, said according to the City’s housing subsidy system, Mr Kobokwana’s housing subsidy had been approved but his name had not yet been selected for a housing opportunity.

The contractor should not have commenced with the construction of his house until the subsidy had been selected, he said.

He added that the contractor could now start the process of submitting the beneficiary details to release funding.

“It takes about 60 days for the various processes to be completed, whereafter the contractor can recommence construction. A City official contacted Mr Kobowana and explained the process to him,” he said.

Nathan Adriaanse, spokesperson of the Department of Human Settlement, said the department can confirm that Mr Kobowana was an approved beneficiary of the Siyaphumelela Infill People’s Housing Project in Khayelitsha.

But, he said, the City of Cape Town was the developer of the project.