Protea Glen storm victims blame shoddy workmanship by contractors

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Residents of the tornado-struck Protea Glen area in Soweto are adamant that their houses were destroyed by the hailstorm because of the shoddy workmanship by contractors.

More than 50 bonded houses in the area were destroyed by last week’s hail storm.

Perimeter walls have collapsed and cars badly damaged by the flying objects.

Residents are now sleeping in the open as they wait for assistance to rebuild their homes.

Homeowners are trying to rebuild roofs of their damaged houses. They say this is the only option they have to cover their heads while waiting for a permanent solution to their plight.

Father of four, Kgosi Papane, says he is forced to sleep in a six-meter square tent erected inside his yard with his wife while his children have been accommodated by family members.

“We sleep in a tent. We can’t sleep in this house. As you can see, it is dilapidated. This is a timebomb waiting to explode. The whole thing that is left here will just fall off. As you can see, the tent is underneath a tree and whenever there is wind blowing, the tent also does the same thing. Obviously, if it’s like this they will have to give me the whole money to build a new house. I’m not going to settle for them to come to me and say to me no we can fix this house. No, I’m not going take that.”

Happy Mabale was alone in his home when the hailstorm struck. He shares the experiences of which he says he remembers vividly.

“I thought I was going to die because, as I tried to run to this room, I could (hear) things started falling around me. I just thought this is it, I am going to die today and I was like, ‘so, God separated me from my family so that I can die alone?’ I was so terrified.”

Thamani Netshiongolwe says the shoddy construction work contributed to extensive damage to his house. He estimates it runs into hundreds of thousands.

“Here it can be more than R200 000 honestly speaking. The way I looked because when we check the house there are lots of cracks. I think they used material that is not strong because there are so many cracks on the house. It also indicates that the material they used is cheap. We just pray to God that maybe one of the good days we will get our house rebuilt.”

On Tuesday, residents barricaded roads including the R559 towards Randfontein, west of Johannesburg. It is believed the protest was sparked by government’s apparent slow response to assist those affected by the storm which left many homes destroyed.

“This morning (Wednesday) we are continuing with the monitoring of the area in Protea Glen Ext 16 where there was a protest yesterday (Tuesday). Today (Wednesday) it is clear the motorists are moving, but we will continue monitoring the situation,” says Gauteng Police Spokesperson Kay Makhubele.

The City of Joburg is compiling a report on damaged property and it is expected to be released on Friday.

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