Cape Town - After more than 20 years on a waiting list for houses, residents from various informal settlements finally received new homes in Pelican Park, near Grassy Park – but many are bitterly disappointed at “shoddy workmanship”.
They complain of uneven floors, skew walls, poor ventilation and cheap alternative materials used in the building.
Winnie Poggenpoel, said her family had moved into their new house only three months ago. But the only difference between the house and their old shack was that they could no longer hear the rain like they did while living in Zille-Raine Heights in Parkwood.
“When we were staying in Zille-Raine Heights we were happy there. I was on the housing waiting list for 22 years and when I got the letter to say I qualify for this house, I was thrilled because I would finally have a place to call my own. I don’t want to sound ungrateful but this is not the standard of housing I expected.”
Poggenpoel lives in the two-bedroom house with her family of six. She says they’re not able to make any alterations because they rely on government grants for an income.
Her neighbour Yahgia Amaldien, who has worked previously in construction, said the houses were being built way too fast, and that the exterior walls had not been properly plastered.
“The walls look like they’re plastered on the outside, but when it rains the inside still gets wet. Besides the plastering, the ventilation is also not right, and in the bathroom there is a pipe which isn’t long enough, so they used a piece of plastic to make it longer.”
Amaldien said he and his family moved in three weeks ago. The only good thing was they now had electricity.
Paul Johnson, who also lived in Zille-Raine Heights, has been in his new house for five weeks.
He pointed to a number of problems, including doors too big for their frames.
“I am a pensioner and I cannot be fixing these things. I have made complaints to the company and they said they will get back to me, but so far I haven’t heard anything.”
Power Construction built the homes, and when approached for comment, spokesman Bongani Mgayi said they were aware of some of the complaints.
If residents reported complaints via the correct channels which had been made available, the company could respond to them properly.