It takes 20 minutes for Woodlands resident Sarah Ratsibe, who lives on the third floor in a council flat, to climb up and down the stairs to her home.
Holding the railing with her one hand and her crutch in the other, Ms Ratsibe says it is a “hell of a mission” to get up and down the stairs.
A frustrated Ms Ratsibe said she applied to the City of Cape Town for a house transfer in 1991 but has received no assistance. She has a club foot and has undergone several operations over the years.
“For many years I have been waiting for the City to transfer me to another place. I have been to the housing office so many times, and every time they tell me to wait. I am now really despondent because my request is falling on deaf ears.
“I also recently found out that I was on the wrong housing waiting list. I am not sure whether this is true, but this has been a long process,” she said.
Ms Ratsibe moved into the flat in 1986 and is a mother of five children between the ages of eight and 25. “At times I have to wait for my children to come home to help me. It is already difficult for me to do daily activities, so when I have to go out, I have to mentally and physically prepare.
“By the time I am downstairs, rain or sunshine, I am exhausted,” she said.
Joan Woodman, councillor for Ward 75 (Colorado Park, Morgen’s Village, Westgate, Wildwood, Rondevlei Park, Woodlands, Highlands Village, Hyde Park, Weltevreden Valley , east of Jakes Gerwel Drive, and parts of Philippi) said Ms Ratsibe was at her office and had called the housing office.
“They confirmed that they are looking for a ground floor apartment, as it is not my mandate to provide homes for the community. When I enquired about Ms Ratsibe’s situation, I was told that she did not want accommodation outside of Mitchell’s Plain and this was very difficult as there was no vacant ground floor accommodation. She has now agreed that she is willing to take anything, anywhere,” Ms Woodman said.
She said she was inaugurated as Ward 75 councillor in August last year and cannot give account as far back as 1991.
Eddie Andrews, the Mayco member for area south, said Ms Ratsibe requested a priority transfer to a maisonette in Woodlands.
He said the recommendation could not be supported at the Committee of Cases meeting held on October 27 last year as the motivation did not qualify in terms of special needs as per the allocation policy.
“However, it was recommended to Ms Ratsibe that she submit another motivation, based on medical grounds, for consideration,” he said.
When questioned about Ms Ratsibe being on the waiting list since 1991, Mr Andrews said the Tenancy Management Department had no information on record relating to requests in 1991.
“The department is not aware of the resident being on the wrong list. The department has advised Ms Ratsibe that we would like to assist, but a motivation based on medical grounds is required.
“If her request is successful, she may need to consider moving to another area in terms of availability of ground-floor units.”