'Our houses are all ready to fall down'

Ntwaagae Seleka

Ntwaagae Seleka

Maria Phakela peers through a gaping crack in her RDP house. It is so huge that she can see people passing in the street.

A resident of Sebokeng's Zone 20, Phakela says dejectedly: "These houses are a danger to us and no matter how many times I repair it the cracks keep coming back."

The cracks stretch from the roof to the floor.

The residents say their anger is a "time bomb waiting to explode".

Last Thursday residents of the Zone 20 RDP houses staged a march to the Emfuleni local municipality office to hand in a memorandum of grievances.

They say the houses were built in the late 1990s and the workmanship is shoddy.

Residents also claim that the area is infested with snakes.

Motshehoa Tau, 26, who lives with her aunt, says: "When it gets windy it feels as if the house will be blown away. People have tried to fix their houses but it still does not help."

Residents have now called for the immediate removal of their ward councillor, Madisebo Khomoasera, and during their march warned her not set foot in Zone 20.

"Our councillor is aware of the crisis but is doing nothing about it," says Veronica Toli, 34, whose parents' house also has cracks "So we need somebody who will look after our needs."

Lucy Mahlangu, 25, says the walls inside her parents' house could collapse any moment.

Mahlangu showed Sowetan the a wall separating the kitchen and bedroom. It looks as if it will collapse if given a firm push.

"How can our councillor expect us to live in such a hazardous house?" Mahlangu asks.

As representatives of Emfuleni at Thursday's march, Johnny Thabane and Khomoasera promised to respond to the memorandum.