IN terms of the bill of rights which are embedded in our country’s constitution, all residents have a right to housing. From 1994, the government has been relentlessly trying to make this happen for millions of our people. A witness to the government’s efforts to house its people is a grandmother that does by the name of Bonisiwe Duma , who told of how she worked as a domestic for 35 years. After her employer died, she found herself without a decent place to live. Her plight was heard by the municipality and her prayers were answered when she was allocated a house.
Elation was in the air as City Mayor Themba Njilo and MEC for Human Settlement Ravi Pillay together with the interim head of the Nadi nation Ndlunkulu Zondi handed over the new home to the grandmother. The kwShange community also came out in its numbers to witness the handover. She could not hold back the tears as she also pleaded with the community to accept her as one of their own.
“I humbly request that the traditional leadership accept me and thanks to uNdlunkulu Zondi for accepting me as a member of the community. I am overwhelmed by feelings of joy as I now own a home. Old people like myself must take their concerns to the government as it will assist them. When I finally pass on, I did not know what would become of my grand children but now I know that they will not be homeless,” said Gogo Duma.
She continued by saying that her former employer told her in the face that she will not be getting anything as she was just a domestic: “I did not know where I would stay as his house had been sold to other people.” Gogo Dlamini’s eye were full of tears of joy.
Ndlunkulu Zondi of the Nadi nation was commended for being instrumental in finding Gogo Duma a home and this is how she responded: “The land exists so that it can help the people. It makes me happy that I was able to assist a fellow woman and as traditional leadership we by no means that this for granted or as a stroke of luck as this is what we are here for,” she concluded.
Ward 4 coucnillor Mlungisi Zondi thanked the various tiers of government for being able to look after its people as well as Ndlunkulu Zondi for making the land available to build the house for Gogo Duma. He also extended his gratitude to the community for welcoming the grandmother to the area. “I would like to thank you the community for accepting Gogo Duma because it would have been easy not to accede to the request as you are not on the first roll to receive free housing. You showed a great deal of humility and we would not like to hear stories that the granny’s house has been broken into because she lives with her granschildren,” said the councillor.
MEC Pillay wasn’t going to be left out as he expressed joy in being in the kwaShange area and added that even though they, as a department, has a mountain to climb by delivering some 25 000 housing units, much has already been done as they have already delivered 23 500 units in the Vulindlela area.
Even though the granny’s house was not part of the 25 000 units to be delivered, something had to be done to assist her. We also thank local businesspeople who include the Themba Njilo Foundation for assisting with sponsoring the furniture that will come with the house,” said MEC Pillay.
City Mayor Themba Njilo said this following about the proceedings: “I am over the moon about the granny’s fate changing overnight and I am certain that her grandchildren will now live in comfort.
We have also advised them that they need to keep the house in a clean and acceptable condition,” said Mayor Njilo.
He also said that they have identified a home belonging to Mrs Hlatshwayo which is not in a good condition, has leaks and is snake-infested. Members of the delegation visiting the Duma household killed a snake during their visit, which shows how dire the situation is. The human Settlement Department promised to build her a house, which will be completed by April this year
Sustainable Development Portfolio Committee Chairperson Eunice Majola was ecstatic about Gogo Duma receiving a house and stressed that through collaboration with the Human Settlement Department shows that people’s lives can easily be turned around for the better quickly. “What is awesome about Gogo Duma’s intervention is that her unit is not part of the allocation but the municipality realized that it needs to do something to assist her as it is the duty of the council to look after its people. Others who are not part of the roll but are in need of housing will also be identified as it has happened with others,” said Mrs Majola.
Themba Dlamini, a member of the community expressed his delight for getting a new neighbour. “She will not not feel like she is not part of this community because in this area, we look after each other like family does and we will also welcome her as one of our own,” said Dlamini.