Unfinished RDP houses leave a woman homeless

Nongetheni Shotwana in front of unfinished house. Photo by Mbulelo Sisulu

Residents of Ducats near East London in the Eastern Cape spent many years living in the shacks. In 2003, they were very happy when they were told that a construction company had been hired to build RDP houses for them. 625 Houses were supposed to be built in this township. But the houses for 64 families did not materialise. 42 houses were left unfinished and 22 houses have never been built at all.

East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Residents of Ducats near East London in the Eastern Cape spent many years living in the shacks. In 2003, they were very happy when they were told that a construction company had been hired to build RDP houses for them.

625 Houses were supposed to be built in this township. But the houses for 64 families did not materialise. 42 houses were left unfinished and 22 houses have never been built at all.

Nongetheni Shotwana (65) is one of the residents whose house was left unfinished. She says her situation is very bad. “Since 2003, I have been asking a for place to stay from different people here in Ducats. I am not working so it is difficult for me to build this house. I tried to build a shack long time ago but I did not finish the shack because I do not have money. There are times where I go to bed with an empty stomach. But there are days where residents give me food,” she said.

At Ducats they are using long-drop toilets which need to be cleaned. Nongetheni sometimes gets a job to clean the toilets. “It is not an easy job to do but I do not have an alternative because of my bad situation,” she said.

Another resident Sithembele Sidakane (44) is one of the people that where supposed to get a house. Sithembele is among the unfortunate 22 whose house construction was never started.

“My house number is 378 but these people did not build my house. They built 377 then they skipped [mine] and built 379. This development was under the Amathole District Municipality; when I went to them to question this problem, I was told that my house is on the map so there was a mistake by the construction company. They promised to sort out my problem then they gave me a temporary house structure. It’s been seven years now living in this shelter. This shelter now is getting old because it’s been a long time.

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“The biggest problem that I have about this problem of not having a house is that I do not have privacy because in this shelter there is a kitchen and bedroom only. My wife and I are sleeping in this bedroom with our five kids. When I want to do something at night my wife and I are going to wait until children sleep,” he said.

Eastern Cape Human Settlement spokesman Lwandile Sicwetsha deferred to the Amathole District Municipality as the authority responsible for the Sidakane family’s predicament. He added that the department is addressing the problem of temporary structures: “Human Settlement has launched a programme that is going to deal with people who live in the temporary structures. This programme started this year and it is going to take three years. All these people that are living in the temporary structures are going to get proper houses in this period of three years,” he said.

Responding to inquiries, Amathole District Municipality spokesman Siyabulela Makunga said the RDP housing project may have been affected by the amalgamation of municipalities. He made a commitment to investigate the matter.

 

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