Five destitute families within the Makhuduthamaga Local Municipality were overcome by gratitude and joy last Friday when they took possession of the keys to their brand new houses donated to them by Standard Bank through its Corporate Social Investment Programme.
Each new house boasts a kitchen, two bedrooms, sitting room and bathroom. It is also equipped with an outside toilet and JoJo tank to enable the occupants to store rainwater.
Each of the Masola, Mampuru, Madihlaba, Maloma and Madipane families has existed in dire circumstances for years.
The Masola family is headed by 42-year-old Lizzy Masola who was sharing a two room, dilapidated house with her 18-year-old son and 12 other persons, some her own siblings left orphaned by the death of her mother and others the children of her late sister.
Accepting the house Masola said: “It was not easy living in two rooms with so many other persons because most of them are also adults and need their privacy. I am employed at a retail store in Polokwane and earn R3 200 a month. I cannot support everyone nor refurbish the old house. As a family we prayed about the situation and we’ve had our prayers heard.
“We thank Standard Bank for coming to our aid and hope they are able to continue their good work.”
Virginia Mampuru, an 18-year-old mother of two from Mamone village also thanked Standard Bank for ensuring they have a roof over their head. She lives with her brother Tholo, 23 and currently doing matric at the Mamone Secondary School.
She told the gathering during the handover: “Life has not been easy since our mother passed away in 2004. She was the only person we had and since then life has been tough. I even dropped out of school because I could not deal with the pain of being alone. We were living at people’s houses and with other family members and it was no longer conducive. Most relatives could no longer accommodate us. We want to thank Standard Bank for their act of goodwill and we promise to take care of the house,” Mampuru said.
She added that once she is settled in the house she will go back to school and complete her Grade 10.
Mogale Maloma, a 29-year-old mother of two has been sharing a shack with her six siblings since their mother died in 2009. “Life has not been easy for the past seven years. I am not employed, we rely on social grants for the children for survival and we could not afford to extend the shack. We want to thank Standard Bank for touching our lives and restoring our dignity. We really appreciate the gesture,” Maloma said.
The Madipane family is headed by 19-year-old Grade 10 learner Katlego who had lived in a shack with her five siblings since their mother died in 2013. “Sometimes when you don’t have proper shelters it is difficult to study and focus. What makes us even happier is that the new house has two rooms and we are going to make the other room a study room during the day and bedroom at night. We don’t have words to thank Standard Bank but we are grateful,” Madipane said.
The Madihlaba family is headed by a 71-year-old pensioner who has been living in shack with her two sons for the past 33 years.
She also thanked Standard Bank for its gesture and urged them to continue touching many lives.
Bob Malatji: Standard Bank Regional Manager Mokopane said they were happy to meet the needs of some of the people in the province.
“We are so proud to be part of this. We continue to say Africa is our home and we drive her growth. We started with this initiative last year, we built five houses in the Tzaneen area and we went further to say which other communities need houses in the province. Then we came to Makhuduthamaga Local Municipality and we are pleased to reach out to the orphans, elderly and people who cannot afford to build houses in this area,” Malatji said.
Makhuduthamaga Mayor Minah Bahula said they applaud the work done by Standard Bank to help Government reach out to the needy people of the province and also restore their dignity.
Provincial Treasury MEC, Rob Tooley commended Standard Bank for uplifting the lives of the impoverished community members. “This is a wonderful gesture from Standard Bank, the recipients will be able to sleep peacefully. We are also urging other business to help such members of the community and better their lives,” Tooley said.
Story and photos: Herbert Rachuene