By Malikhanye Mankayi
Tantyi resident, Ntombizanele Regina Wokolo and her three grandchildren lived in a dilapidated house made of mud, straw, sticks, cloth, and corrugated iron sheets for years before the South African Communist Party (SACP) and Young Communist League (YCL) stepped in and secured a temporary structure for her.
“Since the handover of the temporary house at least now I do sleep comfortably, because it`s clear that if I remained in that mud house, I was going to die. It was no place for a human being to stay. Inside my heart, I am very happy. I can not even explain my happiness in words because of the way my spirit is free. Ndikhuleke empefumlweni – now I can say I am at home” said Wokolo, better known as Mama Regina.
She added that she could never sleep properly in her previous home because at any moment she believed the house could cave in on her three grandchildren. “I knew that the house could go down anytime or if floods affected us, we may not survive” said Mama Regina.
Siyabonga Jam, YCL chairperson, said it was not an easy process to secure the temporary structure. “We engaged with the Department of Human Settlements who provided it, so we are not aware how much this structure cost to erect,” said Jam, adding that the YCL had also secured another two temporary structures for residents in D and E Streets in Ward 10.
“The intention is that there will be a long-term solution to the problem that the SACP has identified. For now, we could say this is a good initiative but we are the first ones to admit that is a temporary measure to a problem that needs a long-term solution”, Jam added.
He said the SACP and YCL would ensure that Mama Regina received a brick house when the Phase 10 houses scheduled for Makhanda were eventually built.
Mtumhle Kepe, YCL Deputy District Secretary, said the temporary, prefabricated rooms were a good option ahead of the winter for people living in mud houses in Makhanda.
“The state of the previous house was really bad… storms and wind would have easily collapsed that house. Situations like this highlight the importance of people being given houses, because Mama Regina had been applying for a house for three years. This case highlights that there are really desperate people out there who are in need of help,” said Kepe.
Kepe called on other parties and society as a whole to collaborate to solve similar situations for similarly affected residents.