Despite budget cuts the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) is still mandated to provide residents with decent houses in the process of addressing the housing backlog across the province.
This is according to Minister of Human Settlements Nomaindiya Mfeketo, who presented three RDP houses to pensioners in Ext 106, Seshego last Thursday. She said the department must be creative and sacrifice in order to deliver houses and stressed that a lot still needs to be done for people staying in squatter areas to get decent houses. Mfeketo said her department was committed to restoring the dignity of ordinary South Africans through the delivery of sustainable human settlements, adding that housing delivery was lagging behind in Limpopo.
Addressing residents she said “I want to give you the hope that very soon your houses are coming. We are committed to get rid of squatters in Limpopo. We want to make sure that all the people of South Africa are housed properly in well located places.”
Coghsta MEC Jerry Ndou indicated that the contractor had donated furniture for the three houses to give the benificiaries a proper start in their new dwellings. He also promised residents that the department will build more houses in the area.
One beneficiary, Hendrik Venter was thrilled to receive his new house after waiting for more than 14 years. Venter (71) was one of at least 100 people who have taken occupation of their houses in extension 106, it was learnt. Approximately 1 790 title deeds were also given to residents on the day.
Speaking from the threshold of his new house, Venter said receiving the keys marked an end of a long wait since he first applied for a government subsidised house in 2004. This was just three years after the death of his wife. He previously lived in a shack on the outskirts of Polokwane. “This is a really great day for me. I am very excited, you will not believe. 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 after I was sometimes forced to sleep on the street.
Another beneficiary, Martha Selepe (88) emphasised that she was staying in her daughter’s house because she couldn’t afford to build one. She said she was excited to finally receive a house of her own.
Mfeketo had to leave the area several minutes after her address due to ill health and as such was unable to provide an overview of the housing backlog in the province.
Story & photos: ENDY SENYATSI