9 November 2017

South Africa: 65-Year-Old Loses Shack in Flood

Thembinkosi Mvinjelwa has been waiting for a formal house for many years

Thembinkosi Mvinjelwa has been living in Masibulele informal settlement in Mdantsane since 1996. Recently, he lost his shack in strong winds and heavy rain.

Mvinjelwa asked ward committee members for help with new building materials. But Pumla Yenana, ward councillor in Mdantsane, says the Buffalo City Metro Municipality does not provide building material for people who lose their homes because of floods. Instead, she gave him old building materials she had.

Mvinjelwa, who lives with his wife, Faniswa Daba, says he built his original shack when he was working as a security guard. "I managed to build myself a beautiful shack," he says.

But his rebuilt shack has only one room. The shack leaks as there are holes in the zinc sheets.

The couple cook on an open fire. They do not have electricity, but use solar powered lights he bought. He relieves himself in the bush, although there is a pit toilet residents share. They sleep on a small mattress on the floor.

Mvinjelwa says he has been waiting for years for an RDP house. Other informal settlements near Masibulele have been developed with houses while Masibulele has not, he says. "Each year the municipality promises to build us houses but that does not happen," says Mvinjelwa.

Municipal spokesperson Bathandwa Diamond said Masibulele was included in Mdantsane Cluster One housing project. Other areas included Masibambane Ilinge, Velwano and Dacawa. She said the project had two phases and Masibulele was part of phase two.

Diamond said construction would start when the Metro received approval for the plans from the province. Beneficiaries would be moved to temporary houses during construction.

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