Johannesburg – Life’s a daily climb for four Eldorado Park families who have to use ladders to get in and out of their homes while they wait for new stairs to be built at their flat complex.
A picture of the stairless flats made the rounds on Facebook this week, with many claiming the stairs had been stolen.
But the truth is altogether less sinister and the residents of the Diamond Street Flats want to set the record straight, although those who spoke to News24 asked to remain anonymous.
“We have been getting calls from people asking what happened to our stairs. Our stairs were not stolen. They were broken down for renovations,” said a couple living in a second floor flat.
Instead of rolling out a red carpet for News24, the man of the house laid out a ladder and invited our journalist in to his home to explain what life was like without stairs.
“The concrete stairs were broken down on May 12,” he said. New metal stairs were supposed to be installed within a week.
‘Nowhere close’ to being finished
But two weeks later, the family says it seems like the project is nowhere close to being finished.
There were no workers on site on Thursday and the family said it had been like this for most of the week.
“The contractor tells us he is busy working on the stairs at his workshop,” the woman told News24.
The tenant above them has had to get an even longer ladder.
Life without stairs is tough.
The couple and a neighbour have sent their children to relatives, unwilling to expose them to the hazards of scaling the ladders with school bag.
The family says provision had been made for them to move out of their homes.
“They gave each family R1000 to find accommodation for a week while the building was underway,” said the man.
But he and his wife were unwilling to leave their home unattended and had chosen to take time off work. “The area is not very safe.”
A staircase in the next block of flats was also broken down a few weeks ago.
Construction of the new staircase for that block was not yet complete and one of the tenants had come home to find that her home had been broken into.
As News24 spoke to the couple, their son arrived.
Speaking to his mother as he made his way up the ladder to the house, the young man said he had seen the Facebook picture of their home from during a visit to the doctor earlier.
Although the family is looking forward to having things back to normal and getting their new stairway, they are also worried those could get cut out and stolen due to a spike of metal theft in the area.
One way or another, it seems they won’t be stowing their ladders anytime soon.
SCRAP METAL THIEVES STRIP METAL STAIRCASE WHILST PEOPLE WERE ASLEEP : ELDORADO PARK. JHB. GP. pic.twitter.com/zVprBsGEbW
— REZA (@crimeairnetwork) May 20, 2015