Disabled residents fear loss of water, power

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Nearly 150 Clarendon Home for the Disabled residents, including 46 children, will have their water and electricity discontinued today if they refuse to relocate to other premises during renovations.

Durban - Nearly 150 Clarendon Home for the Disabled residents, including 46 children, will have their water and electricity discontinued today if they refuse to relocate to other premises during renovations.

The 148 blind, deaf, and physically and mentally disabled residents who have lived in the Albert Park home for years are refusing to move from the home until their concerns and grievances are addressed.

One of their major concerns is the high rental they will face if they agree to relocate to the premises at Maud Mfusi (St George’s) Street.

Residents pay R160 a month for rent, but that will more than triple when they relocate.

“The social grant is R1 200 for the disabled and we still have to buy groceries, look after our families and put our children through school,” said Minathi Gama, who has lived in the home for eight years.

“The landlord is liable to find a suitable place during the renovations that won’t cost more than what we are currently paying.”

Gama said the residents were also told that they would have to share the rooms with three other people at the new premises, unless they wanted to pay the full R2 000 rental.

“I can’t share my space with just anyone.

“As disabled people we sometimes need assistance with certain things and those can only be done by someone who is known to you and who you trust,” he said.

The home is owned by the eThekwini Municipality and is leased to the KwaZulu-Natal Society for the Blind for 99 years. The society in turn sub-lets the rooms to the disabled.

Frustrated residents on Sunday said they were more than willing to relocate to allow for the renovations to begin.

“For years the building has not been fit for human habitation.

“The lifts have not worked since 2005, refuse removal and cleaning services are non-existent, and the lack of security renders many residents vulnerable to robbery and assault,” said community representative Lungisa Khumalo.

In September angry residents marched to the City Hall to demand decent housing and two months later the society announced that a R12 million loan to revamp the home had been granted by the government.

Early this year the society approached the municipality to write off of the home’s R650 000 water and electricity debt.

Albert Park ward councillor William Zenzile said only a handful of people were resisting the move and were now trying to influence other residents.

“We have found a decent interim building to house the residents during the renovations, but some people don’t want to move, yet they are complaining about their current living conditions,” he said, adding that the residents were notified about plans to renovate the home more than three months ago. - Daily News

nondumiso.mbuyazi@inl.co.za


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