People living in hall desperate for homes

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Thirty families have been living in a vandalised community hall for 11 years after their homes were destroyed by a hail storm.

The families from the Mthebeni area in Ndwedwe, north of Durban, have been living in a Verulam hall since 1995.

Local authorities accommodated the families and promised to provide building material to rebuild their houses. The families say the promise was not kept.

Grace Zwane, 66, said only half the families were given houses in a newly developed site in Waterloo. She is renting a house.

"We don't know how much longer we have to wait, but it has been too long.

"Life has been difficult. I have to divide my grant among my children and grandchildren."

Velephi Ntethe, 55, said she applied many times for a house.

"We will wait, but for how long, we don't know. This hall has no toilets and windows. The doors are broken and it leaks during heavy rains. Conditions are bad for children and older people, but no one cares," she said.

Widower Bhasobhile Mhlongo had a stroke and can't remember her age, but hopes she will get her own house before she dies.

Nigel Gumede, eThekwini municipality Housing Department chairman, said he is aware of the issue, but that all the families were already given houses.

"The problem is that new people keep coming when they find out that they can get a house. I think this is what happened here, but I will talk to the councilor."