Lindiwe Sisulu answers Winterveldt pensioner’s radio plea for proper home to replace mud house
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Pretoria - A desperate plea by a 67-year-old pensioner Sibongile Mndebele of Winterveldt on Radio 702 last year for a proper house has had a good ending.
Mndebele highlighted her plight on a national radio about her mud house, which was on the brink of collapse due to heavy rains.
She narrated how she was forced to move her granddaughter and her four-year-old child living with a disability to her relatives to prevent them from being injured in the event of the house falling apart.
Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu was among the people who were listening to the radio at the time.
She was touched by Mndebele's story and assisted in amassing resources to build her a house.
Yesterday, Mndebele smiled from ear to ear when Sisulu handed her a four-room house.
She said: "Today I am a celebrity. I thank God for what is happening here. I have never dreamt that one day there would be many people gathering at my place while I am still alive."
In the early 2000s, she was among the people who were promised by local leaders that their mud houses would be demolished and replaced with RDP houses.
When that promise never materialised and after her mud house started to show cracks she took her chances by phoning the radio to air her need for a house.
Sisulu said: "I happened to be listening at that particular time. It was just a coincidence that has led us to where we are today."
She thanked the private donors of the house and Gift of the Givers for donating the furniture.
The house was not yet complete; the contractor was still to install a septic tank and a tank for water.
Sisulu said her department was still grappling with a huge backlog of building low-cost houses.
"We are behind in our delivery of houses. We have delivered 4 million houses. No other country has delivered so many houses to their citizens. However, we are outnumbered by the people who need houses," she said.
She said the government was taking a different approach to address the housing backlog through providing land parcels to people who could afford to build houses for themselves.
"This will cut short the waiting list so that the attention is then given to people who are truly not able to help themselves," Sisulu said.