WHEN Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu promised to build her a proper house two months ago, an elderly Soweto- on-Sea resident did not hold her breath as she had complained about her severely dilapidated RDP house for at least five years to no avail.
But yesterday, when Sisulu made good her promise and handed over the newly renovated house to Mavis Manoni, 70, the years she spent in “inhumane conditions” seemed like “just three minutes”.
Sisulu was accompanied by Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Ben Fihla, councillors and her provincial counterparts.
She said the government was proud of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality as it boasted the most RDP houses built and handed over.
An ecstatic Manoni said she was looking forward to spending Christmas in her new, beautiful home.
“I’m more than happy to get this house. So much so that all those years living in those inhumane conditions, where my old house could have collapsed on me at any moment, seem like just three minutes,” she said.
“I was always complaining to anybody who would listen and I’m grateful the minister … heard my cries.”
Sisulu said she had been so touched by Manoni’s plight that she had to do something.
“I came here [on October 26] and was shocked to find her living like she was. I must apologise that this happened in the first place. It should not have.
“To the councillor, let this not happen again … Phone me about such.”
Manoni spent three weeks in a temporary structure at the back of her house and was joined by about 100 neighbours for her new home’s official opening.
While her neighbours were happy for her, some murmured that they wondered whether the same would be done for others.
Sisulu urged people waiting for RDP houses to be patient because their turn was coming as the government geared up to build 1.5 million RDP houses in the coming year.
“[Manoni] has been living in the most terrible conditions since 2009 … and now finally she is out of her misery and has this beautiful house.
“So we would like those still waiting to have faith in us. We keep our word,” she said. – Zandile Mbabela