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A Mfuleni woman who’s has been waiting for a house for 19 years wants answers

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CAPE TOWN – A Mfuleni woman, who has been waiting for a house for the past 19 years, is demanding answers.

In 2002, Thumeka Madalane, 41, applied for a house while living as a backyarder in Mfuleni. She says she was told that it would take less than five years for her to get a house.

Now close to two decades later, she is living on illegally occupied land next to the Philippi railway station.

“After I lost my job I had to leave Mfuleni due to not being able to afford the rent and I joined people who were building shacks here.”

Sometime in 2018, the mother of three decided to check with the department about the promised house. To her surprise, her housing application was approved in 2016.

“I was shocked and asked how when I am still occupying land somewhere else. I was told to go to my councillor to show me where the house is.”

Documents seen by The Weekend Argus show that her application was approved on 19 December, 2016. She was meant to get a housing opportunity in the Mfuleni Bardale development.

“The councillor told me they tried to get hold of me but could not reach me. I have never changed my contact details, I do not know how they tried to get hold of me. He does not say what happened to the house and only asked that I give him my details so he can check.”

Madalane said it was a struggle to live a shack in an area she was unfamiliar with. “I had to change my children’s school, we had no water for a very long time and we recently got electricity through a good Samaritan who said we can connect on their box. People think we just build shacks yet we struggled.”

Madalane is not the only person who’s staying in a shack even though her house was approved. Nonfundiso Jara from the same area, is also in the dark about her house.

“I have been sent from pillar to post about where my house is. Papers show that the municipality paid for it to be built but it never reached me. The project manager asked that I find a house that is being sold so that they can buy it for me but no one wants to sell their house to the municipality.”

A source close to the project said houses meant for beneficiaries were sold for around R50 000.

Councillor Thembisile Batembu said he was aware of the issue but was not in office when people were allocated houses.

“I tried to intervene and details were sent to the project manager who promised to assist them. We have about 35 people who were supposed to be in their houses but are not, and I must say that it was difficult to contact some beneficiaries but the project manager must answer these questions.”

Marcellino Martin, spokesperson to Human Settlements MEC Tertuis Simmers, said no payment was made for both women. “This means that the house was not built although she is approved.

“Site was not allocated to her by the City of Cape Town. We are awaiting the City to allocate sites, not only to her but to all the beneficiaries who have been approved on the project who are still residing on TRAs.”

Weekend Argus