Three months after The Citizen highlighted Selina Mahlasela’s plight the granny, who is almost 101 years old, finally owns a house of her own.
Mahlasela could not hide her joy when she was presented with the house after enduring many winters in a shack at Cape Gate informal settlement, near Sharpeville in the Vaal.
Mahlasela told this newspaper in February she had applied for an RDP house, but had not received a response from officials. She said she had to use her neighbour’s pit toilet and walk about 2km to fetch water. “Life was very difficult, especially in winter,” she said.
But Mahlasela hopes her health will improve now she doesn’t have to live in a shack.
The Gauteng department of human settlements said because of her age, Mahlasela was regarded as a special case.
“On visiting granny Mahlasela, we discovered that she had never applied for a house because she was planning to stay with her son when his subsidy house came,” the department said.
The department assisted Mahlasela with her application and she became one of 95 beneficiaries of houses at the Savanna City Mega Human Settlements Project.
People from surrounding areas such as De Duer, Lakeside, Orange Farm, Evaton and Kliprivier plots are also among the beneficiaries of houses.
The department said giving Mahlasela a house was putting into practice its commitment to prioritise vulnerable members of society such as the elderly, disabled and people in child-headed households.
“We would like to thank the media for informing the department about the plight of one of our vulnerable citizens,” said Keith Khoza, the department’s deputy director-general.
“The government has always indicated that it cannot work alone.”
Emfuleni Local Municipality executive mayor Simon Mofokeng welcomed Mahlasela into her new home.
“I appreciate the efforts of Gauteng MEC for cooperative governance, traditional affairs and human settlements Paul Mashatile for his intervention,” said the mayor.
“He gave me a call on the morning of the day that The Citizen newspaper published Gogo Selina’s saddening story and we immediately started processes to help her … three months later she has a house.”