Residents are incapacitated by neglect

Getrude Makhafola

Getrude Makhafola

Wheelchair-bound Itumeleng Mguga was full of joy when she heard she would be allocated her own RDP house.

But five years later her dream is little more than a daily nightmare of unfulfilled promises.

Mguga, 35, and other disabled people were told that houses had been built to meet their specific needs.

Situated in Takalani, Lakeside near Vereeniging, the houses were built and delivered six years ago by the Gauteng housing department.

Mguga said: "The houses were meant specially for disabled people.

"Blind and deaf people were told their houses would have bells inside and outside to alert neighbours in an emergency."

Roads would be tarred, she said, and ramps built for wheelchairs.

But when she moved into her house in 2002, Mguga said, she found out Takalani was in the middle of nowhere.

Five years later, there are no tarred roads in the area, the street lights have never worked and the promised ramps have never materialised. There is no clinic, police station or shop in the area.

"It is very difficult to get around in this place," Mguga said.

Pensioner Ruth Mmota said: "We walk a long distance to get a taxi at the main road. I feel like we have been dumped and forgotten."

Mmota, who is blind, said she spends most of her money on transport because there are no shops or medical facilities in Takalani. And, like most of the residents, Mmota has to travel to Vereeniging to receive her monthly disability grant.

The residents are also concerned about crime in the area. Mguga said a blind neighbour's house was once broken into while he was inside.

Another resident, Maria Monamo, 52, who walks with difficulty, said things had become more difficult because she did not have a wheelchair.

"It takes me almost an hour from the road to catch the taxi.

"It is much worse when I am alone because I cannot sit or stand without assistance," she said.

What initially appeared as a haven for the residents has turned out to have been a pipe dream.

Housing Department spokes- man Mongezi Mnyayi said he would consult the developers and the local municipality to find out what had happened in the development of the area.