Scrolla logo

Long walk to home ownership

By Anita Dangazele

After a 15-year-long wait, 270 senior citizens in Nelson Mandela Bay became homeowners for the first time on Thursday.

In a follow-up visit to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, human settlements minister Mamoloko Kubayi and her deputy, Pam Tshwete, handed over 50 houses in Kariega’s Polar Park in KwaLanga township and 220 in Gqeberha’s New Brighton township respectively.

Elderly couple Mama Nomathamsanqa, 65, and her husband, Sipho Qoyi, 77, were the first to receive the keys to their newly built home in Polar Park, KwaLanga.

“We have been moving around and living with relatives for so many years. We are happy to finally have our very own home, I cannot explain how happy we are,” said Qoyi.

The second recipient was 37-year-old Tembisa Matyhu, who looks after her 71-year-old mother, who now suffers from dementia.

“As old as she is, my mother has never owned a house. This makes me emotional, because my mother is not in a good mental state to witness this day.

“We’ve been living in a shack that leaks when it rains for 15 years, but today the situation has changed for the better,” said Tembisa, as she shed tears of joy.

The handover follows a previously “disappointing” oversight visit to the metro in May 2022.

NMBM had managed to build only 28 houses in the 2021/22 financial year, resulting in R150 million being returned to the National Treasury.

“As you will remember, last year my visit to Nelson Mandela Bay was very disappointing. I saw that the municipality had a housing backlog of 80,000. I said we cannot work at this pace,” Kubayi said.

“Secondly, I appointed a war room to help fast-track the building of houses, and I must say I’m very happy with the progress I’ve seen today.”

The national Department of Human Settlements had previously threatened to withhold funding meant for the upgrade of informal settlements due to expenditure.

NMBM MMC for human settlements Thukela Zumani said the municipality will have built 867 houses by the end of the 2022/23 financial year in July.

Pictured above: The handover of one of the homes

Image source: Anita Dangazele

Poco c40