The Mpophomeni house donated to a poor family by Deputy President David Mabuza, but which was being occupied by an uMngeni Municipality employee, was finally handed over to its rightful owner on Monday.
On Friday The Witness reported that uMngeni Municipality officials had allowed an employee to take occupation of the house despite the fact that the rightful beneficiary, Busiswa Ndlovu (24), was living in a crammed shack in Siphumelele, outside the Howick CBD.
Following the exposé by The Witness on Friday, officials from Mabuza’s office on Monday flew to Pietermaritzburg to hand over the house to Ndlovu.
Mabuza, who visited the area in 2019 campaigning for the ANC, had pledged to build houses for Ndlovu and another indigent family from the area.
However, when the house meant for Ndlovu was completed, uMngeni Municipality officials put in a council employee instead.
Sources within the municipality said the officials kicked the employee out over the weekend following the exposé.
Ndlovu, who was all smiles when uMngeni Municipality official Thami Mkhuthukani handed her the keys to the house, said she had given up hope that she would be able to take occupation of the property.
“I never thought this day would come, particularly given the rumours that had been flying around that the house had been given to someone else.
“All I can say now is that I’m grateful for what Deputy President David Mabuza has done for me,” she said.
Despite the house having been completed several months ago, uMngeni Municipality officials had kept on telling Ndlovu that she should wait for the property to be properly registered before moving in.
“I had tried everything, including raising the matter with the uMngeni Municipality Speaker, but they kept on telling me to wait,” she said.
“What made it difficult for me to accept the explanation was the rumours that there was someone already living in the house,” she said.
Neighbours of the house, located on Nkonka Road, had complained that the municipal employee had been throwing wild parties at the house, creating a nuisance for them.
Ndlovu said she was concerned about the nieghbours’ complaints.
“I’m a new person in the area and I’m worried that the neighbours have already developed a negative attitude towards the house.
“Even though I’m grateful that I finally moved in, it would have been even better if I had come much earlier. As it is I don’t know how the neighbours would relate to me,” she said.
Asked whether Mabuza was upset about the manner in which uMngeni Municipality officials had handled the whole matter, the deputy president’s spokesperson, Matshepo Seedat, was more diplomatic about the fiasco.
“We were told that the person who had been occupying the house was brought in as a security measure as leaving the house unoccupied could have resulted in it being vandalised.
ALSO READ: uMngeni protest enters fifth day
“On the issue around complaints by the neighbours, the municipality officials gave us a different report to that being circulated in the media,” she said.
ANC members complaining about corruption and nepotism at the municipality have shut down the council’s offices in Howick as part of the rolling mass action against its leadership.
Apart from the Nkonka Road house, Mabuza, who has also assisted in fixing a house for an indigent family in the area, is building a second house for another poor family.
Seedat said Mabuza is closely monitoring the projects.
Seedat was accompanied by Mabuza’s special adviser, Whitey Maduma.