Sisulu didn’t save my house‚ says disappointed military vet
A military veteran who had placed all hope of saving his home on Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu is disappointed and angry.
Raymond Cindi said he was humiliated when he had to publicly ask Sisulu for help at a military veterans housing dialogue held in Boksburg earlier this month.
He had told Sisulu that his house would be auctioned on May 10.
“Sit down Raymond‚ the house will be yours before you go to bed today‚” Sisulu had replied‚ filling the room with applause.
But Cindi said this did not happen. Instead he waited an entire week‚ hoping to hear good news from the bank.
“Without tarnishing anybody’s image‚ I want to say they didn’t pay. I had to borrow R47‚000 and pay it to the bank because I realised that I was about to lose my house‚” said Cimbi.
But the department‚ which had pledged to assist military veterans with housing‚ some of whom were exiled during the apartheid era‚ told TimesLIVE on Wednesday that they had successfully resolved Cimbi’s matter.
Department officials produced a letter‚ dated May 9‚ 2017‚ which they had sent to the bank‚ arranging that they would pay R188‚000 towards Cimbi’s debt.
“The Department of Military Veterans‚ in collaboration with the Department of Human Settlements‚ commits to request approval for a deviation from our policy from the Minister for the utilisation of the R188‚000 joint subsidy amount as a down-payment towards the settlement of the bond mortgage.
“Any residual amount‚ thereafter‚ will be subjected to permissible options and timelines falling within the confines of ABSA so as to reach a process of reaching the full and final settlement stage of the said bond agreement‚” said the letter.
Cimbi said he had received the letter from the department of military veterans on the day the auction was meant to have happened but he had no confirmation that the bank had even agreed to the proposed arrangement.
“A letter which I received from the bank … doesn’t say we aren’t proceeding because the department of military veterans has agreed to pay. It says that they acknowledge that I paid R47‚000 although the money was not yet reflecting on their side.
Cimbi said he had lost all hope in ever getting assistance from the government.
“The department is so cruel. They did the same thing to me last year when my house was being auctioned. I borrowed R36‚000 to stop the bank from auctioning my house‚” he said.
When Times Media contacted Cindi on Sunday‚ he said the situation had not changed.
“I have had no further communication with the bank or the department‚” he said.
He was not the only one who had placed hope in the words spoken by Sisulu and Deputy Minister of Military Veterans Kebby Maphatsoe last week.
Funeka Valentine Mpungose‚ who says she was a child soldier who joined the struggle at 14‚ had taken to the podium at the dialogue‚ saying that she had been waiting for assistance for years from the military veterans department.
“I fought and went into exile at the age of 14‚ my pioneer age. At the age of 45‚ I am destitute. I don’t have a place a stay‚” Mpungose said.
“We [as female veterans] end up having relationships just so you can have a place to stay‚ a place to hide your head‚” she added‚ speaking of the pain of being forced to live apart from her children.
Sisulu had called on all the veterans present who were without housing to stand up. Scores stood up.
“Before you leave‚ there will be a register to say you do not have a house and you must say where you live. I will give you the cellphone numbers of the task team members so that in a month’s time‚ if you do not have a house‚ their phones will not stop ringing‚” Sisulu said.
Mpungose said she was waiting to see if this would happen.
“No one has called me as yet but I want to give them until month end to see if they will keep their promise‚” she said.
Another woman who identified herself as Charmaine had publicly taken a swipe at Maphatsoe during the dialogue‚ saying “you failed us. We trusted you‚” as she became emotional.
But on the sidelines of the dialogue‚ other military veterans were reluctant to speak about their struggles with obtaining housing and other benefits which they were promised by the department.