City’s promise to help with housing gives Khayelitsha family new hope

| Barbara Maregele
Site C Khayelitsha resident Nokwakha Eslina Kalpens pointing out where her family lived before they were asked to move to make way for a housing project two years ago. Photo by Barbara Maregele.

For two years Khayelitsha resident Nokwakha Eslina Kalpens has had to help her 11-year-old mentally disabled granddaughter find her way to toilets 50 metres from their home.

Now, following an enquiry made by GroundUp in July, City of Cape Town officials have vowed to assist the family with a housing application.

The 47-year-old grandmother has been living in B-section Kuyasa Street in Site C, Khayelisha for more than 20 years.

The family moved their shack about 100 metres two years ago to make way for a new housing project which they believed they would benefit from.

Kalpens and her husband, Alfred Kalpens, 53, signed up with the Siphosethu People’s Housing Project in 2012 and again before the elections earlier in 2014

They said they believed their family would be next in line to receive a new RDP home.

“ I thought that when I voted I would get a house, but it’s going very slowly,” she said.

Kalpens said the flush toilet behind her home that she shared with two other neighbours had been destroyed during the construction of her neighbour’s new two-bedroomed house in 2012.

“I went to the clinic to fetch my medication one morning and when I came back the toilet was completely gone. I didn’t know they were going to remove the toilet. When I asked my neighbours about the toilet, they couldn’t give me an answer.”

Kalpens has been accompanying her 11-year-old granddaughter, Khanyise, who has a mental disability, to the nearest flush toilet about 50 metres from their home.

Soon after GroundUp’s visit to the Kalpens’ home, members of the City’s Human Settlement directorate and leaders of the Siphosethu housing project met the Kalpens family.

During the meeting it was discovered that the Kalpens had not initially qualified to benefit from the housing project in 2012 and that their re-registration had not been done correctly.

Mayco member for Human Settlements Siyabulele Mamkeli said the City had advised the Kalpens family to re-register for a housing subsidy after meeting them on 22 July. He said the City would help with the application.

“ We will also investigate possible interim relief measures for the family’s disabled child,” he said.

Mamkeli said officials from the Human Settlements and Utility Services directorates had been back to the family to inspect their living conditions to determine relief measures for the child.

There are about 282 000 qualifying applicants registered on the City’s housing database, he said.

On 8 August, a portable flush toilet was delivered to the family.

When GroundUp revisited the Kalpens’ home this week, Nokwakha confirmed that they had received the toilet and was in the process of going to re-register for a house.

“I’m so happy. We would’ve still been here, thinking that we going to get a house. At least now we know what we have to do. They brought the toilet for the child, which I am grateful for.

“Now she can go to the toilet here and be safe,” she said.

TOPICS:  Housing

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