Backyard dweller gets a new RDP house
By Bathandwa Mbola
Johannesburg - After staying in a backyard shack for more than 30 years, Harriet Mthembu, 78, is among the 720 people taking occupation of new RDP houses in Pennyville, near Soweto.
"I could not believe my ears when officials from the department contacted me to inform me that I have been allocated a house in Pennyville.
"I am happy that finally I have a place of my own," said Ms Mthembu, adding that she had lost hope of ever getting a house.
She is among the beneficiaries who applied for RDP houses in 1996.
The KwaZulu-Natal born Ms Mthembu spent her adult life working as a domestic worker in Johannesburg and has been staying in a backyard shack with her daughter in Orlando East, Soweto.
Pennyville is one of the mixed income housing development projects undertaken by the Gauteng Department of Housing and the City of Johannesburg and its beneficiaries are people from Zamimpilo informal settlement and Orlando East backyard dwellers.
The project started last year and would yield 2 800 housing units of which 1 200 would be RDP houses, 800 bonded and 400 flats for rental accommodation, said the provincial Department of Housing.
The development is in line with the department's Breaking New Ground strategy which seeks to alter the housing patterns in the country by integrating communities and placing them closer to areas with economic opportunities.
"The relocation of beneficiaries to this project was at some stage threatened by protest with people from Zamimpilo informal settlement bickering over allocation of houses to backyard dwellers from Orlando East," the department said.
However after deliberations and engagement with community leaders from the informal settlements the issue was resolved and allocation is continuing as planned, it said
The department also announced that it would also intensify its door to door campaign to verify ID copies of beneficiaries to prevent fraud and corruption before handing over title deeds to rightful owners. - BuaNews