By Linda Pona
Winter has settled in early this year, yet some do not have adequate housing, despite Section 26 of the Constitution stipulating that everyone has a right to adequate housing. These are the ones that suffer the most.
The same Section of the Constitution also stipulates that the government must take action and use its available resources to ensure they achieve people’s rights to proper housing. Grocott’s Mail reports this week that eNkanini residents form part of those who do not have adequate houses, as they live in informal settlements. Despite promised housing from the government (clearly stated in the Constitution), this community of individuals has not received houses and continues to live in shacks. How is it that in 2023, the government still has not given individuals proper housing infrastructure?
While the government has made progress with RDP housing, it is not enough when people suffer, especially in the cold months. People get sick, and given Makhanda’s poor infrastructure, ambulances cannot reach people in certain areas because the roads are so bad. This, in addition to the water and electricity issues we face daily. The same article shows that the living conditions also result in mental health issues for eNkanini residents. This area is but one of many across South Africa. In one instance, strong winds ripped the roof of one shack, while shacks are flooded repeatedly with rainwater in another article.
In most instances, high unemployment and poverty are cited as major contributing factors to issues of inadequate housing. Perhaps one day, we will be able to solve these issues, as has been the case in some countries. Employment plays a vital role in ensuring that people have enough to eat and have food and a warm roof over their heads.
Although these are medium to long-term solutions for the issues at hand, I challenge each one of us to contribute to helping others. Many initiatives in the city are already lending a helping hand, and I believe the more of us that contribute to change, the more we will see.