South Africa: Elderly Woman Forgotten During Covid-19 Relocation

A 74-year-old grandmother in Gqeberha is living in poor conditions after she was left out of a recent relocation process for elderly people with disabilities.

Nontombazana April lives alone in Powerline informal settlement, Motherwell. Her shack is badly built and precarious. It is made from rotten wooden boards and plastic sheets. It is cold and the roof leaks when it rains.

April suffers from high blood pressure and her sight is affected. She walks with the aid of crutches. She struggles to carry even a two-litre container of water from the communal tap, a 100 mteres away. She uses a friend’s toilet, but it is 500 metres away.

The settlement is built beneath high voltage pylons and the municipality refuses to formalise it, only providing limited communal toilets and water supply.

Last year as the pandemic spread, the municipality embarked on a programme of relocating hundreds of people, prioritising elderly people and those with disabilities.

People were relocated to relocated to serviced stands with wooden bungalows in various areas, including NU30 Motherwell and Gunguluza, Kariega.

April should have been relocated at the time.

Spokesperson for Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Mthubanzi Mniki said, “She should have benefited from the project long ago on account of her age and poor health.”

Mniki could not say why she had been missed.

“We will send our staff, including a social worker to assess her living conditions. The municipality will also liaise with the provincial Department of Human Settlements to ensure she is recorded on our housing waiting list.”

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