Housing project opens

2015-10-22 06:00
President Jacob Zuma handend over houses for N2 Gateway Integrated Housing Project, in langa on Thursday.

Mbongiseni Maseko

President Jacob Zuma handend over houses for N2 Gateway Integrated Housing Project, in langa on Thursday. PHOTO: Mbongiseni Maseko

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Life will never be the same again for families who have been living in shacks for years as they received keys to their decent houses in Langa on Thursday.

The handover of the N2 Gateway Integrated Housing Project was done by President Jacob Zuma who was accompanied by Zou Kota-Fredericks, deputy minister of Human Settlements, Nomvula Mokonyane, minister of Water and Sanitation, Bonginkosi Madikizela, MEC for Human Settlements, high ranking officials from different departments, Members of Parliament (MPs), councillors and religious leaders.

The N2 Gateway Project was launched by the then Department of Housing, now Human Settlements, in 2004 and it has to date delivered more than 14 000 housing units.

Zuma said this was one of the efforts to improve the lives of the people in the country.

“Not long ago the place was a valley full of shacks.

There was not even a single formal house. Residents of this place lived a life of squalor, poverty and homelessness, and were susceptible to all forms of hazards such as floods and fires, which often wreaked havoc through loss of life.

However, today the situation has changed dramatically. And this change will continue as we forge ahead in our mission to fulfill our constitutional mandate to provide adequate and decent housing for our people,” he said.

This project provided an opportunity to build integrated and sustainable communities, not only here but in almost every part of the country, where there will be easy access to all essential facilities such as schools and clinics.

We are busy with similar projects in other parts of the country such as Cornubia, Ethekwini, in KwaZulu-Natal; in Zanemvula in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan in Eastern Cape, in Lerato Park, Kimberly, Northern Cape and Fleurhof, Lufhereng and Cosmo City in Gauteng.

He also thanked private sector companies and international partners who contributed to the success of the project.

The department has made a commitment that the remaining six thousand units will be completed before 2019, before the end of this current Government’s term.

Zuma announced that over 12 million South Africans have benefited from the 3.8 million houses and serviced sites since 1994.

“Very soon, we will reach the four million mark in terms of the houses that we have provided, and this is an outstanding achievement given all the odds that we faced since assuming government,” he added.

He also assured the Langa Backyarders that they are “forgotten” and that they will also benefit from the houses in future.

Zwelokuphila Msindwana, 47, is one of four beneficiaries who were given keys to their houses on the day.

He lived in a shack with his two nephews since 1996 and was on cloud nine after getting the keys to his house.

“I am very happy. This is a life changing moment. Living in a shack was not nice at all. There were floods and it was cold in winter. The house will make a big difference in my life,” he said.

Msindwana lost his job in 2010.

Zithulele Ngesi, a community leader in Joe Slovo, said they have been in and out of courts from 2006 to 2009 as there were some misunderstandings regarding the project.

He said the “problem” they facing is that some houses are occupied by people who “do not qualify” to be beneficiaries.

Ngesi also said the misunderstanding which is happening in the area is caused by not fulfilling the promise of having the houses occupied by residents of the area and that there is a plan of moving other residents to Delft.

“We are not going to Delft as they beg us. We need to sit down and talk about this matter,” he added.

Vusi Mandindi, of Sivukile Sonele, said the project is met with mixed reaction in the area.

“Only specific people are celebrating in Langa, others are crying. Human Settlements is the cause of conflict that is happening here,” Mandindi said.

He said the issue of database that is used in the area is questionable.

Zuma said he will make a follow up on the issues raised by the concerned community leaders

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