Pretoria - Nancy Raletsemo has been living in a dilapidated, smelly Saulsville hostel looking out on the modern family units which are yet to be occupied several years after their completion - a painful reminder of what she and other families are being denied.
According to the City of Tshwane, it is busy with the final administration.
The units cost the city and provincial government more than R85 million, but were initially unoccupied as the city’s building control unit had not issued a certificate of occupation. Yet the residents meant to benefit from the project continue to live in dismal, unsafe conditions in a hostel surrounded by rubbish and the stench of urine and faeces, despite having keys to the units.
Raletsemo, who has been living in a dilapidated hostel adjacent to the new units since 2001, said they were promised that the hostels would be a thing of the past once the new housing units were completed.
However, they were yet to move in seven years after the construction of the units had been completed.
Raletsemo said the family units were a painful reminder of what the locals were being denied.
She said when they went to inquire about the houses they were told to pay a registration fee of R1 000 and return two weeks later to collect the keys and move in. “I don’t even work, but did my best to find the money so that my son and I could have a place to call home. But we were surprised when Atteridgeville residents came a few days after we took occupation and kicked us out,” she said.
“The residents claimed they paid R1 500, and we were not entitled to the units as we were foreigners. These units are just sitting there with no one using them and yet we have to live in disgusting and unsafe conditions,” said Raletsemo.
Mayoral spokesperson Blessing Manale said the units were cleared for occupation last October.
He said the city experienced setbacks in letting the residents take occupation. “The units could not be immediately allocated to the approved tenants due to the fact that they were not yet energised. It took a long time to resolve the electricity connection issues,” he said.
Manale said the Department of Housing and Human Settlements started allocation of the units last December upon confirmation that electricity would be switched on.
They were told there were people from the local community who stormed into the units and forcefully removed the tenants, he said.
“The list of beneficiaries was compiled and pre-screened. However, when the list was verified, it was realised that some of the people who were on the list had subsequently retired or died.
“It was then resolved that we were going to invite all residents of the hostel to apply for the accommodation, and that the criteria should be set that would determine who would qualify,” said Manale.
“We've been fixing 20 units that were damaged due to the illegal invaders. The screening for allocation of the units is almost complete and we aim to start moving families in by the end of May,” he said.
Be a South African citizen or an individual with a permanent residential permit.
No previous property ownership.
No previous subsidy benefit.
Must be employed or be financially independent.
A family household income of R2 500 to R7 500 a month.
Must have dependants.
Must have a deposit of R1 000.