Families in Uitenhage’s Rosedale are fighting a losing battle in which the elements are destroying their homes, forcing one family to defecate in front of passing motorists.
Living a stone’s throw apart, Llewelyn Armoed, 49, Anne Japtha, 83, and Joseph Hendricks, 66, say all they have in common is that “the municipality can’t fix our problem”.
Each family has a different infrastructure problem, reported several times to the municipality, they say, but to no avail.
Hendricks, who lives with 10 other family members in his Duranta Street home, has to share an exposed toilet with his neighbour after a strong wind blew down the walls of his backyard toilet and wrecked his neighbour’s toilet.
“This is inhuman. I reported this problem when it happened in October, but the workers just come to take pictures and measure the water reading,” he said.
“There is an old woman living here. It is not right for her or any of us to show people our private business. We can sit on the toilet and wave to people on Kamesh Road.”
Hendricks’s neighbour, Bertina Jantjies, 61, said: “I have five people in my house, so 15 people need to use a toilet that doesn’t even flush or have walls around it.
“We have to use water from an underground pipe and a bucket to refill the toilet.”
About 50m away in Essenwood Avenue, Japtha and her five children say they fear for their lives following the collapse of their roof about two years ago – a result of the house’s foundation slowly shifting.
“The house is full of cracks and has been for almost 10 years. I have reported it, but they can’t fix our problem,” Japtha said.
“I am an old woman. If the roof or walls fall in again, I won’t be able to get away.
“I am the only one bringing in money, with my pension, so if something happens to me, my family will not cope.”
In Kamesh Street, Armoed said his permanently flooded garden was a safety and health risk for his family of 13.
“We have [had] this problem since April last year. A water pipe in the back yard bursts repeatedly,” he said. “The municipality has come to fix it once. “My children have got sick because of it. “The political parties come and campaign, but don’t fulfil the promises.”
Despite three days of e-mail correspondence and numerous telephone calls, the municipality failed to respond to questions.