A shattered family victims of red tape
A POOR Mpumalanga family of 10 is forced to share a one-roomed shack because the local municipality has been unable to assist them since their four-roomed house was destroyed by a storm five months ago.
To rub salt into their wounds, the family has also been informed that it does not qualify for an RDP house because one of its members is a state employee.
The family member earns R700 a month as a contract worker under the provincial roads and transport department.
The entire Mphiwe family of Lefiswane village in Marapyane uses the room as a dining room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.
"Our house was destroyed by a freak storm on November 4 last year and our efforts to engage the local municipality failed after they said my brother was working," said the unemployed Mmaphuthi Mphiwe, who shares the shack with her seven children.
Mmaphuthi lives with her brother Michael, who works in government's Siyatentela Routine Road Maintenance Project.
The roads and transport department implemented the Siyatentela employment-intensive rural road routine maintenance project.
Local authorities normally provide temporary shelter like tents for victims of natural disasters, but the Mphiwe family has not been fortunate.
Local councillor Nurse Mathabatha yesterday said the Mphiwe family could not be provided with temporary shelter because the tents were out of stock since there were many families asking for assistance after the storm had destroyed their homes.
"I reported the matter to the human settlement department but the request to assist the family was not granted," Mathabatha said.
"I did all I could to assist the family."
Last week Mathabatha told members of the Mphiwe family that their application for an RDP house was turned down because they do not qualify to benefit from the government's housing programme for the poor.
Provincial cooperative governance department spokesman Simphiwe Kunene said ordinarily, in cases of emergency like this one, a local councillor should submit a report.
"The government has what is called an emergency housing fund under the human settlement department but the money can only be paid to the affected people after a report from a local councillor," he said.
Freddy Ngobe of the human settlement department said they would look into the matter and see how they could assist the Mphiwe family.