The community of Khutsong near Carletonville in the west of Gauteng says the improved service delivery they fought for when they objected to being incorporated into the North West is falling short of expectations.
The Merafong City Local Municipality under which Khutsong falls, was part of the North West from 2005 to 2009, however, it was reincorporated into Gauteng through a Constitutional amendment, following violent protests in Khutsong township.
A new multi-million-rand RDP housing development has left residents disappointed and angry about the quality of their new homes.
After living in a shack in the old Khutsong township for 26 years, pensioner Maria Motone was elated when she received the keys to her RDP house in October 2019.
“I could not stop praying, whilst holding the keys to the house, thanking God for having answered my prayers after spending 26 years waiting for a house.”
However, her excitement soon turned into frustration and disappointment. Taps are broken and the bedroom doors don’t close properly. The bathroom tub made of fibre has cracked and the windows don’t close properly, letting dust into the house.
She says, “Things are breaking down, they are not properly fitted. Doors, windows…look now how dusty it is. And where’s strong winds, you cannot sleep, they make the noise the whole night. You are forced to wake up and put papers in between so that it can close and stop the noise it makes. The taps just yanked out while I opened it to wash hands.”
Cracks in walls
Her neighbour, Mapule Kumisi, started spotting cracks in her house walls immediately after taking occupation in November 2019.
The constructor returned twice for repairs, but the cracks are even worse now, extending from the living room into her bedroom.
Kumisi’s worried that strong winds could blow the roof off, and the solar geyser is also problematic.
“The geyser leaks, we had to drain the water out of it. We are scared to buy water because it was continuously leaking. So, we do not use water from the geyser, we do not have hot water. We heat up water using a primus stove because pre-paid electricity is also costly.”
Most homeowners in the area face similar problems. Some have to fetch water from a communal tap on the street.
Pensioner Sarah Morei says her prepaid water meter malfunctions and she’s not been able to load a voucher. She’s furious.
“See this water voucher, when I put in the numbers the water does not come out. There is no water, nothing. Inside and outside the house there is no water. We fetch water from the tap in the street. When you have a running stomach, it is a problem. The people who built these houses, they did a shoddy job, they are falling apart.”
Mayor of the West Rand District Municipality, Dennis Thabe, says the provision of housing is a provincial competency, but this does not absolve the local authority from taking responsibility for poor workmanship.
“We are not going to defend any wrong thing. When something is wrong it is wrong. When some of us should account we will account. And that is what I am emphasising going forward, these are the things we are going to correct. And give our community the best service.”
Gauteng Premier David Makhura visited Khutsong this week. He says he is aware of the service delivery issues around electricity, water, health services, road infrastructure and sewerage, but he says the provincial government has done a lot, including the provision of housing.
Makhura says contractors who do shoddy work will be held to account.
“If you have been building and you have gotten some houses wrong, you must not be entrusted with the opportunity to build. There are some contractors who have done shoddy work in Human Settlements, I have seen those reports, they are being acted upon. We have brought in the Special Investigations Unit, they are pursuing the money so that that money can be repaid back by those contractors.”
However, for community leader Mthandazo Skhenjane their fight to be governed under Gauteng and not the North West seems futile as the level of service delivery has declined.
“Government has failed us from the President to the Ministers to the MEC. Even the visit of the Premier, we know that it is nothing. He is here to disguise as if he is concerned about sinkholes or any problem of vaccination. People want to vaccinate where are the institutions for people to vaccinate. The clinic has been closed for two years, it has never being utilised. It appears politicians will have a tough time trying to convince the people of Khutsong to give them their votes come the 1st of November. “
VIDEO: Khutsong residents not optimistic about upcoming polls: