Housing bungles breaking up families

15 June 2015 - 02:30 By Roxanne Henderson

Administrative fumbles and allegations of corruption in the government low-cost housing scheme are breaking up homes and leaving the poor more destitute. Two weeks ago 80-year-old Mathule Maepa's wife left him. She went back home to Limpopo because she could no longer bear to live in the shack they shared in the Winnie Mandela Informal Settlement in Tembisa.Maepa cannot get a state-subsidised house because local authorities say he already has one.He has been allocated land in Tembisa according to the national housing subsidy system, but, due to an administrative error, another person, unknown to him, has occupied his land.A few shacks down the shabby mud road Maepa lives on, his neighbour Maphusha Matlou, 34, a widow and mother of two, has the same problem.Maepa, Matlou, the Ekurhuleni Concerned Residents Association (ERCA) and 131 others last month launched an application in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to correct the misallocation of their state-subsidised houses.To make matters worse, the applicants, who are registered as owners and municipal account holders due to the misallocation, are billed monthly for services they do not enjoy.But the 133 heading to court is just the tip of the iceberg.According to their attorney Nomzamo Zondo, of the Socio-Economic Rights Institute SA, there are as many as 500 more residents in the Winnie Mandela settlement who have complained of the same problem.The Department of Human Settlements said it had not yet seen the papers. ..

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