Decent homes remain a dream for Magagula

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Masa Mofokeng emerges from the back of her one-roomed shack and rubs her wet hands against her clothes.

She offers to shake our hands before she bursts out excitedly: "I knew you were coming. (Fani) Nkosi told me that you will come."

Mofokeng, 54, lives at the Magagula Heights informal settlement in Ekurhuleni. The place is a stone's throw away from Katlehong township.

As she sits she starts narrating her sad story to the Sowetan team.

She has been waiting for more than 13 years for an RDP house, she says.

"I vote and do everything that every law-abiding citizen does but nobody cares for me," she says dejectedly.

Behind her is a heap of stock bricks that were intended to build her house.

Mofokeng is among 50 families in the area who qualified for RDP houses and when the building started in 1995, they were overcome with joy as the prospect of living in decent houses seemed inevitable.

But that was not to be.

"I have accepted that I will die before I move into my RDP house," she says.

"My husband died in a shack and I think the same will happen to me. It is painful."

She says when she asked about when her house would be finished, the former ward councillor did not give her an answer.

She says if she had money she would have finished the house herself like many other people, but, as a pensioner on a disability grant, she cannot afford it.

"My dream has vanished."

A few metres from Mofokeng's shack is Norah Mkhuma's house.

Mkhuma says the builders dumped a few bricks and 12 corrugated iron sheets in her yard and that was it.

She says when she realised that nothing was happening a few years later, she used her pension money to build the house.

"I do not have even a bed. I used all my small savings to build this house," says the 64-year-old grandmother of three grandchildren.

Other residents complain that FEFE Building Construction only dug trenches, which they have since filled up because there was no building taking place.

Some complain that even the finished houses have cracks and are leaking when it rains.

Ekurhuleni project manager Abrie Lorenzen says his department knows about the housing problems at Magagula.

"The (housing) department has since taken a decision to finish those houses during the next financial year beginning on April 1 2009," he promises.

He says the project was stopped in 2003 when the development became "problematic".

Magagula, as it is affectionately called, lacks basic infrastructure.

The roads are untarred and the the only primary school operates in freight containers. The clinic is in a rented four-roomed house.