A CAPE Town handover of a new eco-friendly house was yesterday marred by anger and disappointment when the beneficiary was told she had been wrongly selected.

The provincial housing department had set up the launch of a new detached house in Delft for two families. The house is made from recycled material and provided with a solar geyser.

It took 10 days to build the house - the first of its kind in South Africa.

But 35-year-old mother of two Nonkululeko Magula burst into tears when she heard that she had been selected by mistake and that the house would be given to a blind or disabled person instead.

She had been told she would move in next door to Velamva Ncanda, 85, but when housing MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela announced that only one beneficiary was in the crowd, Magula broke down in tears.

Madikizela avoided her and did not apologise for the disappointment, but one of his officials was overheard saying "we are sorry".

A group of disgruntled residents interrupted the ceremony, shouting that they wanted electricity in their houses. But Madikizela told them it was not the right time to register their grievances.

Approached for comment, he said an official from his department and another from the City of Cape Town were responsible for the error and promised to investigate.

Ncanda said this was the first time he had lived in a proper house after more than 50 years in a shack. He said he would share the house with his two jobless daughters and two grandchildren.

Another eco-friendly house, with lights powered by its own wind turbine and hot water provided by a solar panel, was then handed over to beneficiary Phindiwe Mbewana in nearby Mfuleni.

Mbewana thanked God for "giving me my own house" and said she was "excited and don't know what to say",

The house was built in partnership with VHP Holdings, which specialises in sustainable quality low-cost housing.

Both show houses are projected for mass roll-out, the MEC said.