Resident’s fight for a ground floor flat

Aletta Felix and Abe Braaf with her grandchildren Keanu, 7, Enrico, 10, and Azario, 12.

A sickly woman who lost all her possessions in a fire at her top floor Lavender Hill flat is still pleading with the City of Cape Town to place her along with her two children and five grandchildren in a flat on the ground floor.

Aletta Felix was stranded without any permanent residence after the fire, which happened eight months ago.

She has experienced health setbacks and has had to undergo an operation due to arthritis in the knee as well as a double mastectomy.

Fortunately, her “good Samaritan”, Abe Braaf, a paralegal, came to her rescue by offering her accommodation at his house in New Horizon, when she was looking for a home.

Mr Braaf contacted Southern Mail because he was upset the City was taking so long to repair her council owned flat which had been damaged in an electrical fire on November 18 last year.

“The second major concern was the fact that Aletta had a fourth-floor flat and her right knee cap was removed, due to arthritis, causing her to walk with a limp and thus causing difficulty for her to walk up the stairs.”

Mr Braaf asked the City for a ground floor flat, as it would be difficult for Ms Felix to walk up and down the stairs due to her knee problem.

While living with her son in Lotus River, Ms Felix had been offered a container in February, which was placed in the forecourt of Pontiac Court. However, the container had no toilet, wash basin, water or electricity, said Mr Braaf.

The family lived in the container for two days before
being offered an electrical box and a toilet which were to be erected outside. However, during her stay Ms Felix and her family lived in fear because of the noises at night and illegal activities going on around the container.

When the City’s housing office offered to move the container to Ashley Court, the community of Ashley Court did not want it there as they feared it would draw unwanted problems. Ms Felix decided to stay in Lotus River, said Mr Braaf.

When Mr Braaf met Ms Felix, she said she had to move out of Lotus River, and he offered her a place at his RDP house in New Horizon. “It is a pleasure to be of help to provide temporary housing to, Aletta, her two adult children and her five grandchildren as well as to give her paralegal assistance.”

Ms Felix said she was grateful to Mr Braaf for taking her and her family into his home. “I thank Abe as he even gave up his room for us.

“I am worried about my grandchildren aged 12, 10 and 7, who are kept out of school, at Hillwood Primary, due to lack of transport.”

She said they needed a place as soon as possible as they had been living with Mr Braaf for almost four months.

After Southern Mail enquired about Ms Felix’s situation, the City apologised for the delay.

Malusi Booi, the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for human settlements, said: “The insurance claim process for the fire-damaged dwelling is still under way.

“In the meantime, the City is investigating a temporary accommodation option to assist Ms Felix until her fire-damaged unit is repaired. The City is making every effort to assist Ms Felix and will liaise with her in this regard. The City sincerely apologises for the length of
time that it is taking to assist despite its best intentions to do so.”

Mr Braaf added he and Ms Felix had been due to meet a social worker from Retreat Day Hospital, on Monday July 15, “who will give a letter to the City confirming the medical situation of Aletta medical situation,” in order for her to qualify for a downstairs flat.

Mr Braaf said the letter would be presented to the Steenberg housing office to be used as motivation for the transfer to a downstairs flat.