Waiting for 10 years for an approved grant

SHOW ME THE MONEY: Pensioner Lungelo Menti (left) with DA councillor Terri Stander, holds the plans to his house, approved in August 2001. Despite numerous visits by government officials, he is still waiting for his approved personal grant to be paid in order for him to erect a roof over his dwelling
Picture: ROB KNOWLES
ROB KNOWLES
 
ALMOST 10 years after Nemato resident Lungelo Menti’s government subsidy was approved to complete his home, he is still waiting for it to be paid out to him.
 
In the meantime, his half-constructed home sits like a silent sentinel on his small plot of land, awaiting completion.
On his retirement in 1999, Menti took his Eskom pension and invested it in materials and labour to build a new house on his property for himself and his wife Winnie. Having had building plans approved, he began the construction process through an approved contractor. The basic shell was completed in 2001 but the rest of the structure was left in a semi-completed state.
 
Menti then learned he qualified for an individual subsidy and therefore applied for the money in order to erect a roof over the building as well as the purchase of doors, windows and glazing.
 
The subsidy was approved in 2002. However, despite numerous visits by government officials, Menti has never received any money and, as a consequence, his house remains just an empty shell.
 
“He needs the money in order to complete the building work,” explained his granddaughter Lulama Menti. “He is old now, and has used his entire pension to get the walls of the house built. But no one seems to care.”
 
Recently, Colin Ingram of the provincial department of human settlements (DHS) became involved and has attempted to convince Menti to rather accept a new RDP house instead of completing his own home.
In an e-mail to Ndlambe municipality’s infrastructural development director, Xolani Masiza, Ingram explained the problem.
 
“We only have a limited amount available to construct a basic 40 square metre house which meets certain norms and standards. Mr Menti’sstructure ismost likely four times this size – if not bigger. Financially, we will simply not be able to attend to his request to complete the house – not to even mention getting the present structure ‘sound’ before completed.
 
“Getting the structure sound might cost more than what is available in terms of available subsidy quantum,” wrote Ingram.
 
Ingram went on to state that the present subsidy amount is R54 650 and that Port Alfred falls within the Southern Cape Coastal Condensation Area (a 20km inland belt all along the coast) which implies that a further maximum variation of R11 120.59 can be granted to cover the costs of plastering and painting the outside of the house, fit a specified ceiling or insulate the ceiling to a certain specification.
 
The latter grant can only be used for the purpose stated and nothing else.
 
TotT sent questions to Ingram regarding the matter but had received no answers by the time of going to press.
 
DA councillor Terri Stander has taken up Menti’s case.
 
TotT accompanied Stander on a visit to Menti, his wife and granddaughter on Monday. Stander said local professional civil engineer, Riaan Moller, at his own cost, had recently visited the property and carried out an inspection.
 
“Riaan has stated that, aside from a minor variation which has already been completed, the house is structurally sound and conforms to municipal standards,” said Stander.
 
Menti, who is an asthmatic and has recently been quite ill, said he probably wouldn’t live long enough to see his home completed.
 
“We just want an answer,” said his granddaughter Lulama Menti. “He has invested a lot of time, effort and money into this house. It needs to be completed.

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