POLOKWANE – The occasion saw the Human Settlements Minister, Nomaindiya Mfeketo, in attendance as she appraised housing delivery following the challenges after budget cuts. The department lost over R10 billion in the past three years from the national fiscus as a result of funds being redirected to other sectors to cover more pressing issues.
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The department was forced to be creative by engaging partners within the private sectors to ensure people still received houses regardless of the challenges it faces.
Gogo Ngwanape Martha Selepe received a house on the day and she expressed joy at finally owning her own home at the ripe age of 88.
The house, which has a bathroom, two bedrooms and a kitchen, is a relief for the grandmother who previously lived with her daughter, Johanna Chepape. Her daughter explained she helped her mother to apply for a house as she hadn’t owned her own previously. “My mother is very happy with the new home, this truly is a beautiful home and she will settle in wonderfully. We are going to build a wall around the house for her as well as security doors to ensure she is safe even when she is home alone,” she said. The granny will, however, not be living alone as her other daughter will live with her to assist her.
Another recipient, Hendrik Johannes Venter, was over the moon when the department presented him with a new house. The 71-year-old pensioner was one of roughly 100 people whose houses were ready for immediate occupation.
Altogether 1 790 other residents were also presented with title deeds for their new homes. Venter lived in a shack as he waited for 14 years for the house which he applied for in 2004. “This is a really great day for me. I am very excited and it is good to see so many people coming here to celebrate with me. I am grateful to God and I am feeling so special because now I have a place of my own where I can stay and sleep properly. Sometimes I slept on the street but last night I didn’t sleep because I was so excited that today I will be sleeping here,” he said.
Mfeketo said the Department of Human Settlements is committed to restoring the dignity of South Africans by providing sustainable housing settlements. She acknowledged the fact that although the government has provided at least 4,6 million houses since 1994, it is not enough and Limpopo is lagging behind in the provision of houses.
“I want to give you hope that very soon your houses are coming. We are committed to get rid of squatters in Limpopo and we want to make sure all the people of South Africa are housed properly in well located places. That is our policy, so today we will hand over the title deeds to the people. I will hand out a few but since they are too many, the MEC will hand over the rest of the title deeds. I hope that very soon those people sitting here who are without a house will also receive their houses,” she said.