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Wheelchair-bound man finds his house occupied

By Sabelo Nsele

A municipality-owned RDP house in Cinderella Park was taken away from a disabled man after he rented out the property.

A municipality-owned RDP house in Cinderella Park was taken away from a disabled man after he rented out the property.

The KZN Human Settlements said that Sihle Zondi (54) was not given the house because he was not living in it.

Zondi moved into the house in 2005 while the Msunduzi Municipality was still looking for the beneficiary to whom the house had been originally allocated.

In August 2008 the Msunduzi executive council took a resolution to approve Zondi as the legitimate owner of the house as it could not locate the rightful owner.

The resolution, of which The Witness has seen a copy, stated that the decision to allocate the house to Zondi was based on Zondi’s “account of limited mobility”.

“They told me that if the owner of the house pitches, they will consider him or her in the next housing project,” he said.

Zondi was admitted to hospital in December 2015 and returned to his house a month later.

He said he was shocked to find that the house had been allocated to someone else.

“I was stranded. I had nowhere to go. Nobody told me why I was being kicked out of the house. I had to beg the new owner to allow me to sleep in the house until I find an alternative venue,” he said.

KZN Human Settlements spokesperson Mbulelo Baloyi said when the houses in Cinderella Park had been completed, the department handed them over to the municipality.

He said the process to regularise Zondi’s occupation of the house was halted when the department heard that Zondi was renting out the house.

“At that time we were in the process of renovating the house to make it wheelchair friendly. The community was upset that while there were people on the waiting list, someone was renting out a house,” he said.

Zondi has denied renting out the house, saying that he had asked people to look after the property when he was hospitalised.

Zondi said he is currently staying in Jika Joe informal settlement.

“The conditions are appalling. The toilet is miles away from my house and is not wheelchair friendly. When I need to relieve myself in the middle of night, how am I supposed to get there?

“I am also in limbo as to what is going to happen next because I am here for a short while. When the municipality allocates houses to these people and decides to shut this place down, I do not know what is going to happen to me because I am not on the list of beneficiaries,” he said.

Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha did not respond to queries about the issue.