(By Nokulunga Majola, Groundup.org.za)

Robin Kooseelal lives in a dilapidated shack with 12 other family members in Redcliffe, Verulam, which is north of Durban. Photo: Nokulunga Majola

Robin Kooseelal is 65-years-old and has lived in Redcliffe, Verulam, north of Durban, for more than 20 years.

Kooseelal lives in a three-room shack with 12 other relatives, the youngest member is his one-month-old grandchild. His wife Anita, 53, has been in and out of hospital for several years.

Their home is weathered and riddled with holes and broken windows. Often during heavy downpours, the family seeks shelter with neighbours or they sleep in an old car in the yard.

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

“I came here 22 years ago from Giyani. We struggle with everything from water to electricity. We use firewood which we fetch from a forest about two kilometres away to cook or boil water,” said Kooseelal.

“We use firewood which we fetch from a forest about two kilometres away to cook or boil water,”

He said the family also uses a pit toilet next to the shack

Kooseelal said he has tried “everything to find a job” but to no avail. He currently fixes cars in his yard with his son, but they mostly rely on social grants to buy food and other necessities.

“My children are all unemployed and they all depend on this grant and the little I make from fixing people’s cars. A week often goes by without making anything. We are tired of living like this,” said Kooseelal.

His son Keran, 34, said he has been looking for a job without any prospects so far. “It’s not like we have not been trying. There are just no jobs,” says Kegan. “We are overcrowded in this house, chances are if any of us gets [Covid-19] we are all at risk of getting infected.’”

Ward 59 Councillor Chris Langa said he is aware of the Kooseelal family’s plight. “I have known the family for a very long time. I am trying my best to get them a house or a decent place to live in. Their living situation is really worrying especially since they have small children in the house.”


Published originally on GroundUp.

© 2020 GroundUp. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and GroundUp, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

Accommodation offers from

20,000 listings in 2,000 locations with 10,000 reviews.

18% DISCOUNT – From R1222 p/night

Hudsons on Twelfth

Rivonia, Gauteng

Valid until April 30 2020

66% DISCOUNT – From R1440 R518 p/night

Silver Forest Boutique Lodge and Spa

Helderberg, Somerset West

For stays between 1 Jul & 30 Sep 2020

35% DISCOUNT – From R1524 p/night

The Atrium 30

Durban, KwaZulu-Natal

Valid until April 30 2020