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New focus on quality RDP homes is painful for many

THE quality of RDP houses has greatly improved over the past 10 years as the department of human settlements shifted its focus from quantity to quality.

In 2003 it cost just over R20 000 to build an RDP house; today it is nearly R90 000.

Provincial spokesman Lwandile Sicwetsha said the department was proud of the quality of houses it was now giving to those in need.

“The new two-bedroom houses each have a openplan lounge, kitchen and a bathroom with a bathtub.

“All the houses have a ceiling and we are moving towards making sure they are each plastered and painted inside and out.”

Ten years ago RDP homes consisted of little more than the shell.

“Over the years we learnt, with much pain, about the defective houses our people were getting,” said Sicwetsha.

“Then we thought to focus on the quality.

“This is an asset and an investment for them to raise their children .”

He said the new houses cost the state about R86 000 each. Last week almost 100 of these new houses were handed over to residents of Second Creek settlement.

The Dispatch took a tour of one of the homes, which was plastered and painted, had a tiled roof, ceiling boards, a kitchen, bathroom with tub and lounge.

In Mzamomhle, Gonubie, residents who were living in shacks are now waiting for electricity to be installed so they can move into similar new homes.

But residents in Nompumelelo, in the older RDP homes, felt shortchanged because their houses were already in a poor state.

Nosimamkele Heshu said she and her family were lucky because her husband is a handyman and had been able to fix the house.

“We are grateful to the government for giving us houses, but this is not right,” said Heshu.

“We received our house in 2004 and all we got was a hall with a toilet. My husband bought cement and plastered the house inside and outside himself.

“We used plyboard to separate the rooms.

“The house did not have a sink so we bought one.

“The kitchen then became too small so we moved the toilet outside.

“Then we managed to buy paint.

“My husband also did the floor so we could put in tiles,” she said.

Ntombizakhe Ndlela said she and her partner, Headman Zekevu, were too poor to carry out similar upgrades.

She showed the Dispatch inside the small one-room home.

“There were no ceiling boards and it had not been plastered or painted.

The roof was covered with sheets of zinc and there were no fittings inside.

“We are unemployed so we cannot afford to plaster the house. The roof leaks when it rains. The doors over the years have been damaged because they are of cheap material.

“I am jealous, because the government has robbed us of proper homes,” Ndlela said. — siyab@dispatch.co.za

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