Zuma arrives in Balfour

2010-05-22 14:47

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma honoured his promise by returning to the town of Balfour in Mpumalanga on Saturday, a year after his last visit.

He was expected to address scores of residents at the local Siyathemba Stadium. Locals had been waiting anxiously for the president's arrival since early morning.

Crowds of people sang church songs and danced in the garden of a new home which was being built for Balfour woman, Busisiwe Tshbalala.

The woman said she had been waiting since 2004 for a house.


"I am so happy. I didn't believe that this dream could come true. I want to tell him [Zuma] how happy I am," she said.

Tshabalala was unemployed and was living in a shack with six other people for the past six years.

Tshbalala's sister Leya said a lot had improved in the town since Zuma last visited them.

"We were not expecting this. We were promised in 2004 that a house would be built for us but the ANC people would come to our shack and then disappear.

"None of us have jobs. We make a living by accepting part time employment," she said.

Tshbalala's home was one of eight being constructed in the area.

Zuma made an unannounced visit to Balfour after being sworn in as president last year. Violent protests had engulfed the area at the time and Zuma announced measures to address the community's demands, and promised to visit again.