Haphazard plot allocations, poor construction, broken plumbing, shared electricity meters – what was meant to be the perfect publicity stunt for the governing party of Joburg turned into a PR nightmare as residents of “new homes” showed off shoddy workmanship and botched infrastructure to journalists who had come to record the event.
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane and Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba visited families in Lufhereng, Soweto, who received title deeds to their homes on Tuesday.
But Lufhereng residents weren’t exactly happy with the conditions of their new homes.
“Today, I came because I felt that it was important for us as a political party to say we must address the injustices of black people not being able to own the land that they live in. It will not be addressed by amending the Constitution but only be addressed by ensuring that our people are able to own land by their own right,” said Maimane.
Mmusi Maimane and mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba hand out title deeds to the residents of Lufhereng, Soweto. Picture: Onthatile Kgoadigoadi/City Press Picture: Onthatile Kgoadigoadi/City Press
“We have already issued more than 5000 title deeds in the City of Johannesburg within the time frame of 22 months,” said Mashaba.
It took 22 years for the Lufhereng community to be given houses.
They were initially allocated Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) houses in December 2010.
While residents were grateful for their homes, they complained about the construction.
Nora Motshelane explains how the leaking roof damaged the ceiling. Picture: Onthatile Kgoadigoadi/City Press
“We are happy for the house and the title deeds, however, the houses are not well covered. They leak when it rains, which results in the ceiling being damaged and hanging loose from the roof,” said Nora Motshelane, a resident of Umvumvu Street.
Other residents complained that the yards weren’t a standard size and the sewerage drains were not placed in appropriate places.
“The proportion of the yard in relations to others are unequal – some are small and some are a reasonable size. One problem is that my yard has two sewerage drains which are not appropriately placed – one at the back of the house and one at the gate. This may be hazardous if the drainage bursts and it does not permit me from doing certain things in my yard,” said Idah Manda, also residing in Umvumvu street.
Other resident complained about substandard plumbing.
Mamayila Maringa can’t use her bath tub because a broken pipe means that the water leaks on her neighbour’s side. Picture: Onthatile Kgoadigoadi/City Press Onthatile Kgoadigoadi/City Press
“The bathroom pipe leaks water to my neighbour whenever I use the bath tub because of the broken pipe,” said Mamayila Maringa.
“I only have a tap of cold water in my bathroom due to the geyser not working. I did report it but I didn’t get a response,” said Stephina Seashana.
And electricity didn’t go without a complaint either.
“I share the meter box with my neighbour and I have to switch on the meter from their side so as to have lights in my house. It is a problem because I have to rely on them to be available so I can have electricity in my house,” said Mmapule Lefikanyana.
After being passed from pillar to post, City Press was eventually handed over to a media specialist at the executive mayor’s office.
Luyanda Mfeka said that the council was aware of the residents’ complaints and the matters were raised during the mayor’s visit
“The city has took note of the concerns raised by the respective residents, with the view of engagement with those residents and resolving the queries raised,” said Luyanda.