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Sat Nov 01 13:49:29 SAST 2014

Dream home a concrete slab

CANAAN MDLETSHE | 13 February, 2013 01:10

Six members of the Masango family have been sharing a tent for the past three weeks after their home was demolished to make way for a new RDP house that Shauwn Mpisane's Zikhulise Construction company was allegedly supposed to build.

"We curse the day we agreed to demolish our four-roomed house because we're now forced to squat in a makeshift tent, which we use to cook, bathe and sleep.

"The tears of joy of owning a well-built house have now turned into tears of sadness. We were far better off then.

"Our house was not fancy but it was okay for us," said Ntokozo Masango.

Mpisane's Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport was awarded a R482-million tender by the eThekwini municipality to build low-cost houses in Umlazi.

There are many other families in the same situation as the Masangos.

"The least they could have done was to offer us alternative shelter other than telling us to make a plan."

The Masangos' dream home is only a concrete slab.

"When we asked the construction workers how long we were going to wait before walls were erected, they told us that the company had run short of material," she said.

Mpisane's spokesman, Vuyo Mkhize, blamed the municipality.

"They are the ones who point out land earmarked for development, give a constructor instructions on what to build, how and where and we abide by that," he said.

Municipal spokesman Thabo Mofokeng said: "We were not aware of the situation. We'll engage with affected communities and the contractor to find the way forward."

Mpisane was on Friday granted R100000 bail by the Durban Commercial Crimes Court, where she is facing 53 charges of fraud, forgery and uttering.

The charges relate to allegations that she submitted forged documents to obtain the Construction Industry Development Board grading, which was used to win government tenders worth R140-million.

Two days earlier, the Asset Forfeiture Unit had swooped on the Mpisanes' mansion in La Lucia with an order to seize assets in an attempt to recover the money.

The case was postponed to April 29.

Mpisane is also to appear in court in May on charges of inflating her invoices by more than R5-million to cut her tax bill.

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