File picture: Bongani Shilubane/ANA

Soweto - Pensioners who have been waiting for years to get what they say was promised to them decided to take their matters into their own hands by marching to the City of Joburg Group Forensic and Investigations Services offices.

Despite most of them struggling with taxi fare and living in horrendous conditions, they said they hoped after the meeting the process regarding the status of their RDP houses would be verified.

“My mother was pregnant with me in 1971 waiting for her RDP house. She now 73, gravely ill and has endured operation after operation,  recovering in Baragwanath hospital while she is a homeowner in Phiri, Soweto,” said an emotional Mpho Kekana who accompanied the pensioners to the heated meeting.

The 47-year-old, alongside more than 50 pensioners, arrived at the offices to have their demands heard.

“We come here in peace and have not come to cause any disruptions. What these people are doing to us is unfair. We came here two months ago and were told that they would call or sms with feedback and it is enough. The people who are occupying these houses are half our mother’s ages and it is unacceptable,” she said.

Founding president of the Communities Housing Forum Moalusi Mothopa said the systems put into place have no respect, empathy nor heed the elderly.  

“We came here because we didn't want to open cases directly with Human Settlements because they are corrupt themselves. We have exposed many irregular circumstances of up to 400 cases but no action has been taken. An elderly person from Protea went to a house that was allocated to her with all the documentation proving she is the rightful owner and was chased away with an axe. I’m talking about something that happened less than two years ago and there are many other incidents.

Mothopa alleged that undocumented people were occupying houses across Soweto due to the fact that officials had been bribed.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, he said.

“People are billed and sent statements of service for houses they don't know nor have occupied. We need arrests of people implicated as well as the removals of illegal occupants. We are inviting different structures with the same complaints to come forward and fight with one voice," he added.

Addressing the crowd, an official from the City of Joburg said the cases were being investigated and the department would liaise with the relevant line managers, start the investigation process and give them feedback by Friday.

They will also start calling the elderly to take individual statements and lay criminal charges, work side by side with the Johannesburg Metro Police Department to ensure justice that justice was served, he said.

The Star