Family still waiting for City to repair home

Dawood Hendricks shows one of their bedrooms where a fire destroyed the roof.

A Bonteheuwel family are still waiting for their council house to be fixed, 10 months after a fire destroyed parts of it.

The Hendricks family of seven are sleeping in the small lounge of their ruined Dissel Road maisonette, since the fire in December last year.

They endured a torturous winter, as part of the roof was also destroyed, leaving rain to flood their rooms and flow down the stairs.

They have also been left without electricity for all this time.

Shihaam and Dawood Hendricks have four children aged 5 to 14. They live with Mr Hendricks’s sister, Shirley Hendricks, who is the City’s tenant.

Earlier this year, Ms Hendricks told of her frustration of “going everywhere” for assistance, but with no results.

A contractor had come out at the end of July – after the article appeared – to assess the damage, but had still not done any repairs, said Ms Hendricks.

“They told me that they will be back the next week to start repairs, but this did not happen. Between myself, my husband and sister-in-law, we go to the rental housing office at least once a week to find out when the repair work will start, but all we are told is that our address is on the list of houses that need to be fixed,” she said.

In her desperation, Ms Hendricks approached mayor Dan Plato at a meeting when he was in Bonteheuwel to campaign for the DA Metro chairperson position in September.

Ms Hendricks claimed Mr Plato had told her she would get feedback from ward councillor Angus McKenzie within two days, and if not, he and Mr McKenzie would take full accountability.

That was a month ago, and when the Athlone News asked Mr Plato about it, he responded in a statement, saying: “Mayoral committee member for human settlements Malusi Booi is aware of the urgency required in this matter and has committed to resolving it as soon as possible.

“I have stressed that we cannot leave repair work unattended for this period of time and that we will need to look at our internal systems to ensure the City is more efficient going forward.”

Mr McKenzie has also requested feedback from City officials, and is awaiting their response.

Mr Booi said repair work across the City was delayed because of backlogs caused by the Covid-19 lockdown.

“The City’s upgrade and maintenance department has investigated, and work will commence soon. I thank our tenants from the bottom of my heart for their patience and understanding,” Mr Booi said.