Joy and heartache as Zuma hands over N2 Gateway homes

2015-10-15 18:20
(Tammy Petersen, News24)

(Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - Another 6 000 homes would be built in the next four years as part of the N2 Gateway housing project, president Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

He was speaking at the handover of homes to beneficiaries in the Langa-based Joe Slovo informal settlement bringing to 14 000 the number of homes built along the highway.

"Not long ago the place where we are today [Thursday] was a valley full of shacks. There was not even a single formal house," he said.

"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 tragic losses of life.

"However, today [Thursday] the situation has changed dramatically."

Beneficiary Rachel Manyi told News24 there was no better feeling than sleeping under a "solid, real roof".

"My dream came true when I stepped into my home. I like the sound of that – my home," she laughed.

"I was born in a shack and I thought one day I would die in one, but my president made sure that didn’t happen. Halala!"

However, not everyone was as happy as Manyi.

Thembani Ramoloko said he had been on the housing waiting list for almost 20 years and was nowhere near having a home of his own.

"It makes me sad and angry to see people get keys to brick homes while my rickety shack falls apart.

"My wife is sick and my children are unhappy with where they are living. When is Zuma going to come sort this out? I am tired of waiting."

Zuma said once the 20 000 homes were completed, this project and many others similar to it, would "make a dent on the housing backlog currently experienced in most of the country’s major urban centres".

He said the human settlements department had committed to completing the remaining 6 000 units by 2019 - before the end of the current government's term.

"It is also my wish we speed up the process, because Cape Town still has a lot of people living in informal settlements, especially the black communities," he said.

"We want to eliminate the artificial racial boundaries created by apartheid and will continue to provide housing opportunities for both the lower-income families as well as those falling within the gap market, who earn too little to qualify for a  mortgage bond, but too much to qualify for a [reconstruction and development programme] house."

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  cape town

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