Within two weeks of the DA retaining local governance in the Western Cape after the recent municipal elections, the party’s Provincial MEC for Human Settlements, Bonginkosi Madikizela has laid down the law: No more housing freebies in the Western Cape.Addressing graduates of the department’s youth brigade at the Zolile Malindi Community Centre in Mfuleni, Madikizela encouraged the group of more than 30 to work hard so that they can build their own homes. “Giving free houses to people who have the ability to work and buy their own homes is economically unsustainable. With the older generation, which suffered from lack of opportunities as a result of the apartheid government, it is understandable. Just as it is with the disabled and child headed homes, those people didn’t ask to be in that position, but for everyone else, no. We need a system that encourages people to be on their own, because right now if a married couple is employed...earning around R5000, they do not qualify for the home. Are we not then encouraging people not to work in order to receive housing? ,”he asked. Madikizela has been the subject of a backlash in the past for a similar remarks, which he first uttered at the Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa/National Association of Realtors Property Update at Lookout Hill in Khayelitsha last week. This past Tuesday, he reiterated his statement, urging the graduates to use the skills they have acquired in the programme to be financially independent. The group of 40 residents from Mfuleni took part in the skills programme that taught them bricklaying, plastering, carpentry and plumbing were initially taken for a two-week labour intensive training. This was undertaken under the watchful eye of a contractor appointed to build the local Bardale housing development VHP Holdings. The training was facilitated by Tjeka Training Matters, an organisation that provides training and development in building and civil construction industry. Madikizela said that he was impressed to see that the majority of the group had remained despite the dropouts. Ïm excited about this project because not only will it give you a chance of being employable but you can also start your own companies and create employment for others. A lot of people think that going to university is the only way one can get educated and be successful but they forget that in this country artisans are desperately needed. Notulani Madolo, 31, who is one of the graduates, said that she was excited to receive her certificate. “I’m very grateful for this opportunity and I’m ready to do some work. I believe that I do have the necessary skills to enter any site now,” she said.