News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Tuesday July 16th 2019

Joe Slovo housing list fiasco leaves family on the streets


A Langa family of ten is homeless after their new flat in a state-subsidised housing scheme was allocated to someone else last week.

Vuyisile and Nobanele Qhaba, aged 47 and 52 respectively, have eight family members including a six-month baby and a disabled relative in the care.

They have all been living on the street since Friday.

The family had been living in the Langa Temporary Relocation Area (TRA) while waiting for a proper home since their displacement following a fire in Joe Slovo seven years ago.

But their dreams of moving into the new Joe Slovo Park flats were shattered last week after finding the flat allocated to them by the Housing Development Agency (HDA) – unit 5546 – was already occupied.

This left the family stranded on the streets with their belongings as they could not go back to the TRA house they had vacated as someone else had already moved in there.

Both Vuyisile and Nobanele, visibly stressed about the matter, vowed to fight for their new home.

They feared that if they did not move in, the state would not allocate them another house as its records would indicate one had already been allocated to them.

The couple said the HDA housing list indicated that they were the rightful occupants of flat number 5544.

“If we don’t get it, we will die. We are stressed. We will sleep outside until we get our house,” said Vuyisile.

He said when they approached the person occupying their flat, she had conceded that the property was not hers, but indicated that the HDA had moved her into that place because someone else had taken hers.

Vuyisile wondered why the HDA had informed him that he could move in yet when he arrived with his family and belongings they were told that all the units were fully occupied.

“This is very painful, we cannot even eat when we think about it”, his wife Nobanele said.

She said it was the first time she had seen her husband cry.

Housing activist Cindy Ketane, chairperson of the local branch of Abahlali BaseMjondolo, said the whole community had expressed sympathy for the family.

She said corruption around the allocation of housing units in both the TRA and at the new blocks of RDP flats had “got out of hand and was getting worse”.

She said the solution would be for the HAD to make the housing lists available to the public so that a verification process could be undertaken and the rightful owners could be placed in their units.

Ketane said a mass meeting in the community was scheduled for today where the Qhaba’s misfortune and other matters related to housing would be discussed.

She added that there was another man in the community who could not move into his flat last Friday because it had been illegally occupied by someone else.

Langa Development Forum (LDF) member Nolubabalo Ntlantlu said she sympathised with the family and complained that it seemed as though young people were being prioritised in the allocation of the new flats instead of the elderly who had waited for many years.

“People with three years in Cape Town are getting houses. They are not even married,” she said, indicating that the HDA should take responsibility for what had happened to the family.

She said the Qhaba’s were on the HDA housing list and it seemed as though his name had been “scratched out and replaced by pen”.

“We phoned the HDA yesterday about this matter and we did not get a response,”

she said.

HDA operating manager Bosco Khoza could not be reached for comment yesterday as his cell phone was on voicemail.

Several reports alleging corruption around the selling of TRA housing units by some community leaders there have emerged recently.

In July, Abahlali BaseMjondolo requested mayor Patricia De Lille to intervene saying that TRA units were being sold for as little as R2 500.

On July 13, Thandeka Ngcelwa, an epilepsy sufferer, made the headlines when she was rendered homeless with her belongings after her TRA unit had allegedly been sold away by some community leaders. – Francis Hweshe

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