The Mau-Mau housing development in Nyanga has been faced with multiple delays over the year. Picture: Mthuthuzeli Ntseku/African News Agency
The Mau-Mau housing development in Nyanga has been faced with multiple delays over the year. Picture: Mthuthuzeli Ntseku/African News Agency

Woman, 55, injured falling from stairs with no rails in incomplete housing development

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Jun 17, 2021

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Cape Town - The Equal Rights Forum (EFF) in Nyanga has called for the dismissal of two contractors of the Mau-Mau Housing Project following the serious injury of an elderly woman who fell from the stairs.

The 55-year-old woman allegedly fell due to the newly built housing units not having railings which the forum said was one of the compulsory safety requirements.

ERF chairperson Thulani Pike said the contractors had been doing “shady” work with numerous postponements of the completion of the housing project.

“The City did not approve all the units but the contractor is forcing the people to occupy them. The entire development has not been handed over to the beneficiaries. As far as we know all those houses do not have safety features with the majority having defects.

“This is a human rights violation, that the people are moved into two-storey housing units with stairs with no guardrails, especially where the elderly are concerned. The units were supposed to be built on specifics from the City and there is no way that such specifics cannot include railings, which are a safety feature,” said Pike.

Pike said most of the beneficiaries of these housing units were senior citizens with the oldest being 78.

“The contractors were supposed to build 434 units in two years but they have been stalling. Out of the 400 units, both contractors finished less than 100 units in more than three years. We believe the contractors do not have the capacity or the resources to complete the project. This is the first reported case of this nature but that project is a ticking time bomb with its shady workmanship,” he said.

A family member who asked not to be named said they were terrified of talking to the media as some community members were blaming the beneficiary for the incident. The beneficiary allegedly agreed to be moved into the house while it was unfinished.

Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements Malusi Booi said the unit was still under construction and therefore hasn’t yet been formally handed over to the City. He said the implementing department had warned the contractor on numerous occasions of the risks associated with moving beneficiaries into unfinished houses.

“The City has a strong stance against this practice and the contractor is aware of the risks. All completed units must have guardrails installed at the stairs, otherwise such units will not be accepted by the City and formally handed over to beneficiaries,” said Booi.

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