Spotlight on service delivery in Mpumalanga
Still no hope for elderly woman
WHEN a strong wind blows or heavy rain falls, all that Linah Khabonina Masango does is kneel down on her knees, pray and hope that her one-roomed mud hut does not fall on her.
Masango, of KaMadakwa Ndlovu in Barberton, Mpumalanga, says she has been living in a mud house all her life.
"I have been registering for an RDP house for many years but I have not received it. Each time I go to the (Umjindi local) municipality offices, I am given a form to fill. Thereafter, nothing happens," says Masango, who does not know her exact age.
"I do not have a toilet in my yard. Each time I want to relieve myself, I have to go to my neighbour's house and ask to use the toilet. I do that even in the middle of the night. I do not have a choice. What can I do?" she asks politely.
"I do not know what I could have done to deserve this. It seems I am being punished for something I have done but I do not know what it is."
Masango used tree trunks and mud to build the structure she calls home. There is a window with zinc shutters but she never opens it because her shack has cracks.
"The house I live in can fall on me any time. The one side fell some time ago but I was not hurt," she says.
"The worst could happen if it falls again. I do not sleep at night, especially when it is windy or when it rains.
"The people I went to the municipal offices with on several times to register for RDP houses will be moving into their houses soon," she adds, pointing to an unfinished RDP house in a yard next to hers.
Surprisingly, Masango has electricity supply.
Her mud house is scantily furnished. There is a single-sleeper bed, a table on which she has placed a two-plate stove. Some of her clothes hang against the wall.
The door is worn out. It does not have a lock. At night, she just twists the nail on the door frame and goes to bed.
"I wish I knew why this is happening. It is hurting me to see people get RDP houses when I still stay in a mud house.
"It gets really cold at night. As you can see, there are holes almost on every corner. When it rains, everything gets wet. I want a house," she says.
Residents in the area say they are also concerned about her safety.
Neighbour Flora Hlophe says: "She cannot lock the door. The mud house can fall on her any time. This is confusing because young people in the area own RDP houses.
"Why is she not getting a house?"
Municipal spokesman Sam Jele says all housing issues are directed to the provincial department of housing.
Provincial housing department spokesman Freddy Ngobe says it is not the duty of the department to give people houses.
"We build a certain number of houses per annum and the municipalities identify beneficiaries," Ngobe told Sowetan.
"The department would not know who needs a house and who doesn't. What we do after a person has been given a house, is register them in the system so that the person cannot register for a house again in another area." - firstname.lastname@example.org