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A handover ceremony to show off the provincial department of human settlements' new methods of building low-cost homes was marred when a would-be homeowner was turned away from a house she thought was hers.
Nonkululeko Magula, 36, thought she would be moving into her new home in Delft after being "chosen" by provincial housing officials as one of two beneficiaries. Instead, when it came to handing over the houses, the only person smiling was 85-year-old Velamva Ncanda, a former labourer who became a homeowner for the first time.
The two semi-detached houses, each 40m2, had taken just over 10 days to build, as opposed to the three weeks through conventional methods.
As Ncanda was taken through his new home by Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela, Magula stood in the doorway, hoping to get the keys to her new home.
When one of Madikizela's officials told her she was not one of the intended recipients, she cried inconsolably as her two young children and shocked neighbours looked on.
Madikizela's spokesperson Zalisile Mbali took her to one side, telling her that she must have known all along that she had not been chosen as one of the beneficiaries. But she stood her ground and Mbali handed his business card to her, inviting her to call him.
Asked about the incident, Madikizela said he had been under the impression that the houses would be handed over to an 85-year-old and a disabled person.
Earlier, ANC ward councillor Phumelele Mgadeli, in a speech at the handover, accused the provincial government of not having done much to alleviate the problems experienced by some beneficiaries of the N2 Gateway project in Delft after it took over the project from the Housing Development Agency.
"The biggest issue here is the delay in installing electricity to some areas of the N2 Gateway, and the stalling of housing projects for backyarders," said Mgadeli.
During Madikizela's speech, agitated community members demanded he address their concerns, as highlighted by Mgadeli. Madikizela said he was aware of the issues at the N2 Gateway but would not discuss these with Mgadeli at the handover function.
The new houses are 20 percent cheaper to build. Using dense Styrofoam injected with concrete and reinforced with a steel mesh, they can be built up to 10 storeys.
Representatives of the construction firm said the materials were more energy efficient.