Access to housing – glass half full or half empty?

‘ALTHOUGH there are health issues that I am faced with, others including not having someone within the household who wakes up every morning to earn a living, however, getting a roof over my head has made a world of difference.” These are the words of Ms Bongiwe Kasibe’s whose prayers spanning years were answered following the intervention of Mayor Themba Njilo.

Msunduzi News visited Ms Kasibe a month after she was handed the keys to her house from the Themba Njilo Foundation during an event attended by, amongst others, MEC Ravi Pillay, Municipal Speaker Councillor Jabu Ngubo, councillors from Msunduzi Municipality, community leaders and Ukhozi FM Station Manager Mr. Bonga Mpanza.

This mother, who was paralysed in 1997 and is wheelchair-bound, is amongst hundreds of thousands of people within the Msunduzi jurisdiction who are in desperate need of housing. Narrating her past, she said: “My life took a turn when I found out that my spinal cord had issues and doctors had to operate on it. This really turned around my life for the worse as it rendered me not accepted based on my condition. When I was discharged from hospital and went to rent a unit in Caluza, I then realised that my life was never going to be the same. I would move from one unit to another renting and realized that what caused this is that I was not welcome because I was living by myself with a young child who could not assist me in any way or form,” explained Kasibe.

She continued: “We lived in a one-room shack where we did everything. I had no ease of movement because of having to maneuver with the wheelchair within the small space,” she related with despair.

Ms Kasibe was not the only recipient on the day. Another recipient was Ms Phindile Ndlovu who was thankful that there are still people like Mayor Njilo.

“This is the end of the poverty era for me because I will have a roof over my head with a sense of dignity. I lived with my children in a shack and Mayor Njilo took us out of our misery which we are eternally grateful for,” said Ms Ndlovu.

Speaking to Msunduzi News, Mayor Njilo said: “Having a roof over your head is one of the ways of restoring dignity of a person. What is happening here is our attempt to replicating the feeling of dignity restoration. Still on that point, I wish to express that the issue of housing cannot be left just to government alone. Government, whether local or otherwise, needs assistance from the private sector so that many of our people can restore their dignity,” said Mayor Njilo.