Social media used to expose serious housing issues in Abu Dhabi

Sunnette Fourie was helping her two-year-old brush her teeth when the sink in her Al Reef villa fell away from the wall in what could have been a dangerous incident if she was not there to protect her child.

Rukayya Alli, 35, from London, witnessed her kitchen cupboards coming away from the wall in her Al Reef home.
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ABU DHABI // Sunnette Fourie was helping her two-year-old brush her teeth when the bathroom sink in her Al Reef villa slipped from its cabinet and almost dropped onto the little girl.

“All of a sudden I hear this noise and I hear the back of the sink rip up out of the cabinet as she leaned on it to brush her teeth,” said Ms Fourie.

The South African mother of two, who asked to be named using an alias, caught the sink before it fell but the incident came as a shock.

She used Facebook to voice her unhappiness with the property management company, Manazel Specialists, only to find that other residents had encountered the same problem.

“This time with the sink – that was the end for me. To me, I thought, if I wasn’t there, that thing would have crushed my two-year-old’s leg,” said Ms Fourie.

She said that her family has decided to pay for repairs rather than have them done by the property manager.

Rukayya Alli, 35, from London, also took to Facebook to highlight a problem in her Al Reef home last month when her kitchen cupboards came away from the wall as her nine-year-old daughter looked on.

“We were just about to start cooking and I went to the shelves to get a plate and everything just fell on top of me – everything from the shelves and the cupboards themselves,” Ms Alli said.

“I was bleeding, bruises everywhere. It was just an absolute nightmare. My daughter was screaming. She got a few cuts but, thankfully, she’s fine.”

Her four-year-old, who usually follows her, stayed in the other room, said Ms Alli.

“I just thank God that she didn’t come in with me on that particular day,” she said.

She contacted security staff and posted pictures on an Al Reef Facebook page. A neighbour noticed that the cupboards had not been screwed in but were bevelled and fitted into a plank on to the wall, she said.

“It wasn’t that I wanted to publicise what had happened but I just didn’t know what to do. I just took pictures and put them on Facebook,” said Ms Alli.

The post raised concerns among other residents. Ms Alli said that it was the first time that she felt that the workmanship could be dangerous.

She said Manazel has apologised, was cooperative and promised to replace the cupboards, “but it’s not about the measures that happen now”.

She would like to make sure that her neighbours are safe.

“The community as a whole has been fantastic,” she said. “It was just overwhelming, the response that I got just from a few pictures.”

Manazel Real Estate has not responded to a request for comment.