Bomkazi Sitela’s RDP house in Mandela Park was illegally occupied
By Vincent Lali
29 June 2023
Bomkazi Sitela outside her leaking shack in Site C, Khayelitsha, Cape Town. Photos: Vincent Lali
Although she was allocated an RDP house, Bomkazi Sitela has lived for ten years with her brother in a leaking shack in Site C, Khayelitsha, Cape Town.
Back in 2013, a non-profit housing organisation and community leaders told her she must vacate her yard as an RDP house would be built for her on the site. She dismantled and rebuilt her shack nearby. She has now lived for a decade in a place she thought would only be temporary.
Her belongings are still piled high in stacks of boxes awaiting an RDP home.
She has basins and buckets to catch leaking water. She has to empty these during the night or else they will overflow. To keep her bed dry she sleeps under a plastic sheet.
She has an outside flush toilet but she is too afraid to use it at night because of “thugs”.
Sitela turned 70 last year. She is still suffering from the effects of injuries she sustained in an horrific car accident seven years ago that killed six fellow passengers. She was in hospital for three months.
“My whole body aches from the cold. I have to see a doctor and get an injection in my shoulders monthly,” she says.
Sitela has problems with her two neighbours. Her shack encroaches on their land, says community leader Lungiswa Makalima. The neighbours want to extend their shacks and also fence their yards. They want her to move.
But the materials for her shack are in such poor condition, dating back to 1985 when she first built a shack as a domestic worker in Rylands, that she doesn’t believe they will survive another relocation.
According to Munnera Allie, spokesperson for the Western Cape Department of Infrastructure, Sitela was approved for a housing subsidy and a house was built for her in Mandela Park. It was illegally occupied and Sitela could never take ownership.
“The Department has embarked on legal processes to de-register Ms Sitela’s initial house,” said Allie, and “is also exploring opportunities where Ms Sitela, and other affected beneficiaries, can be accommodated in other housing projects.”
For years Sitela’s belongings have been piled high in stacks of boxes awaiting an RDP home.
Published originally on GroundUp .
© 2023 GroundUp. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and GroundUp, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.
We put an invisible pixel in the article so that we can count traffic to republishers. All analytics tools are solely on our servers. We do not give our logs to any third party. Logs are deleted after two weeks. We do not use any IP address identifying information except to count regional traffic. We are solely interested in counting hits, not tracking users. If you republish, please do not delete the invisible pixel.