A Mdantsane grandfather is living in appalling conditions in an incomplete RDP house in NU6, and he blames says Buffalo City Metro for the shoddy job.
Patrick Daka, 68, is disabled and frail. As though that’s not bad enough he has no access to water, and needs to be carried when he wants to go out of and into the incomplete RDP house he forcefully invaded three months ago.
Daka is one of hundreds of angry residents who have since December forcefully invaded incomplete RDP houses built for them in Daluxolo, NU6.
Residents say they were removed from the area in 2014 and lived in shacks while their new RDP homes were being built.
The invasion came after two female bodies were found dumped in the area last year. The gruesome discovery was made by angry community members while they were chasing down someone believed to have raped a schoolgirl in May last year.
Eight months after occupying the houses the residents are now crying foul over poor living conditions, accusing mayor Xola Pakati of neglecting them.
Earlier this month the residents wrote to Pakati demanding completion of the houses and installation of water systems. They received no news from Pakati despite giving him three days to respond.
Their daily struggles include living with broken windows, and cracked and leaking walls.
Speaking to the Daily Dispatch on Monday, Daka said: “I moved into this house because the shack I lived in was not good for my health. It was leaking when it rained and cold on most nights but even in this house I’m still struggling. I have to be carried in and out because the contractor never built the steps outside. I use a bucket to relieve myself because there is no water in the toilet to flush and I pay someone to throw the waste away for me because I’m unable to move and I’m sick.” Daka lives alone. Granny Nocawe Mbane, who was the first person to move into the houses, said: “We moved in because there were crimes taking place here, and there was constant vandalism and we just could not take it anymore. We were removed from the area in 2014 and lived in shacks while our houses were being vandalised on our watch.
“The municipality knows that we moved in here, officials have been coming here. But nothing is being done to fix our houses. We have been complaining to the ward councillor and the mayor about our problems but nothing is being done,” said Mbane.
In June Pakati “handed over” 10 communal toilets to the area, but residents said they had stopped using the toilets as they were dirty and far from their homes.
“We have toilets inside the houses, we also have taps in the kitchens. We just need water. We are forced to use buckets, especially at night, and throw away the waste at the back of our homes because it’s difficult to control nature. But the mayor expected us to walk to these toilets at night, knowing very well that women were raped and killed here. The municipality has neglected us.
“There is no dignity in this,” said resident Philiswa Toto.
BCM spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya said: "The department of human settlements has noted with concern the issues that have unfolded in the area, and subsequent to the correspondence received from the office of the executive mayor, it undertook an investigation, which will be tabled to the highest decision-making body of the institution and upon the resolution of this report, we will act accordingly."
Pakati’s spokesperson, Luzuko Buku, confirmed that Pakati received a letter from the residents. “He accordingly referred it to the department of human settlements, highlighting its urgency. The department will be giving a regular report to the executive mayor and the council. The portfolio councillor [Ntombizandile Mhlola] will give regular progress reports to the community and the matter is going to council for a concrete decision.”