South Africa


Promises, promises: Butterworth residents still waiting for housing after more than a decade

Promises, promises: Butterworth residents still waiting for housing after more than a decade
A municipal water truck supplys Butterworth residents with water. The Eastern Cape Department of Human Settlements says Zizamele informal settlement may get houses within two years, providing residents accept pit latrines and water tanks as alternatives to plumbing. (Photo: Hoseya Jubase)

If residents accept a proposal by the province they will get houses with pit latrines and water tanks within two years.

First published by GroundUp.

Zizamele informal settlement residents in Butterworth were promised RDP houses by 2009 by the Mnquma Local Municipality. A dozen years later, the houses have not been delivered.

Yanga Funani, spokesperson for the Eastern Cape Department of Human Settlements, says Zizamele could get the houses within the next two years, but only if they accept that their new homes will have pit latrines and water tanks.

This is because the homes would be built according to rural specifications, even though Zizamele is in a township.

Funani said 1,241 houses are budgeted for 2022/2023. He said if residents accept the terms, the department is ready.

Formed in 1992, Zizamele has 630 households. It has only three communal standpipe taps. There are communal pit toilets. There is no electricity.

But community leader Vuyokazi Fatman said residents have not been officially informed of the human settlements’ plan to build according to rural standards. She said she believes the community would accept homes with pit latrines.

She said that last year residents were so fed up with waiting they demanded ownership of the land so that they could go ahead and build their own homes.

Community leader Collygen Daniso said they have been bounced for the past 11 years between the provincial Department of Human Settlements, the Mnquma Local Municipality and the Amatole District Municipality.

“This informal settlement is very old. People are tired of living in shacks. We are tired of having to buy paraffin every day. The local municipality is cutting all illegal electricity connections,” said Daniso.

Mnquma Municipal spokesperson Loyiso Mpalantshane said its role is to provide land. It will assist with providing community facilities and registering beneficiaries.

Bulk infrastructure for the houses would be supplied by the district municipality.

But Amatole District Municipality (ADM) spokesperson Nonceba Madikizela-Vuso said its involvement can only start after the local municipality submits a plan to formalise an area, stating how many houses it intends to build.

“ADM has no record of these submissions for Zizamele informal settlement,” she said.

Mnquma Municipality, therefore, appears to be the stumbling block to advancing the housing plan. When told that ADM said it had received no plans and that the Eastern Cape Human Settlements is ready and waiting for an answer, the Mnquma Municipality was unable to clarify why this is the case. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Chris 123 says:

    Don’t worry they will still vote ANCorrupt.

  • Pet Bug says:

    As a recent qualified knowitall I had to spend two nights in Butterworth to do some research.
    The main road(?) was bombed (or potholed?), pavements and Kerbs had disintegrated, every 15th streetlight worked, rubbish everywhere. I felt eyes on my back stepping out.
    It reminded me of Mozambique c1990, during the war there and a youthful disregard for danger.
    The hotel required I be back at 6pm when the roller shutters came down hard and the 5 guests were prisoners for the night.
    This was is 1995.
    Never been back. Wonder if the town got any better…
    It was, and remains the scariest 48 hours in my life.
    (Mozambican diving, and the prawns! gets extra points).

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