The 100-year-old elderly woman from Sharpeville in the Vaal will soon, for the first time ever, live in a proper house with her son, whose application for an RDP house has been prioritised, the Gauteng human settlements department has said.
The Citizen recently visited Selinah Mahlasela who, later this year, will be turning 101 years old.
Despite the department’s denial of ever receiving her application for an RDP house, Mahlasela said she had applied twice since 1997.
Mahlasela, who said she was promised by officials that she would be helped accordingly when applying for the government-subsidised house, stays in a three-roomed shack near Tshepiso in Sharpeville.
The Citizen alerted the department to Mahlasela’s plight, and spokesperson Mogomotsi Mogodiri promised the matter would be followed up.
“Since the department was made aware of gogo Mahlasela’s situation, several steps have been taken, including verifying her application status. But unfortunately, the system reported that she has never applied for a house,” Mogodiri said.
“As a caring department and government, our officials were dispatched to her house to help her fill in the application forms and submit the required documents. The application is currently being processed.”
Commenting on what would happen to Mahlasela while her application was being processed, Mogodiri responded: “Since gogo Mahlasela is over a hundred years old, a concern arose of the prudence of her staying alone. To ensure her safety and wellbeing, the department proposed her son be prioritised for allocation of a house within the Tshepong development, currently under way, while her application was being processed.”
During a recent interview, Mahlasela said she was forced to walk for about a kilometre to fetch water from a local tap, carrying 25-litre containers.
She also does not have a toilet inside her yard, forcing her to use a neighbour’s pit toilet.
Mahlasela’s daughter Ntsekiseng was concerned government may again renege on its promise to help her mother.
She said local government officials had done so in the past, but nothing had materialised.