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RDP houses on verge of collapsing

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The occupants of RDP houses in Warrenvale are living in fear that they will be buried under the rubble of their own homes that are on the verge of collapsing.

The RDP houses are on the verge of collapse. Picture: Supplied

THE OCCUPANTS of RDP houses in Warrenvale are living in fear that they will be buried under the rubble of their own homes that are on the verge of collapsing.

The residents said the 54 houses, known as the “vaalblok huise”, were allocated to them about 24 years ago.

They claimed that the houses were “imposed on them” after they were rejected in Postmasburg.

The residents said they were told that if they didn’t agree to he houses, they would never get a house.

They said the houses started developing “serious cracks” five years later, but no one expected the situation to get as “extreme” as it is today, with the houses on the verge of collapse.

They explained that they tried to minimise the damage by plastering the walls with cement, but the plaster fell off the walls.

Only those who could afford to do so, managed to rebuild their homes.

One resident, 54-year-old Julia Batshegi, said that she has to endure sleepless nights due to her concern that her RDP home will collapse on her and her family.

Batshegi pointed out that she can see outside through the wide cracks in the walls.

The corner of her house has already collapsed, leaving behind a pile of rubble and a deep hole.

Batshegi lives with her sick husband, her disabled son, and another child who is often not home due to job hunting.

She said that the heavy winds over the past weekend had left her terrified.

“We were so scared and piled up into one room, which seemed to be experiencing fewer cracks,” said Batshegi.

“My house is just a house by name and my local municipality does nothing to intervene, regardless of me going there almost every week.

“The corner of my house has already collapsed. Whenever there is a bang, one can hear the walls moving. The windows are shifting outwards and neither the councillor nor the mayor have never come to do inspections.

“I frequent the municipality and the mayor’s office, only to be told they are never there and only go to meetings,” said the frustrated woman.

“Officials from the Department of Co-operative Government, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) are the only ones who come here once in a while and take pictures and write notes, but never implement anything.

“They only tell me that they will be back again.

“Different representatives from opposition parties come to check on us once in a while.

“My biggest concern is what will happen if the wall collapses and we are inside the house. We will be buried alive. I will not know who to save first – my husband who can’t walk or my disabled son?”

The Northern Cape Department of Coghsta said it has requested the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) to conduct a forensic investigation on the structural integrity of the houses.

Coghsta indicated that a report will recommend any remedial action that needs to be taken to make the houses structurally sound after the completion of the forensic investigation by the NHBRC.

Magareng Local Municipality stated: “All the complaints received regarding the defects were long ago escalated to Coghsta. To date, no response or progress can be reported.”

The RDP houses are on the verge of collapse. Pictures: Supplied
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