2 October 2012
After years of waiting, residents of Elliot Dale in the Eastern Cape have finally received new houses to replace the mud structures they used to call home.
Two hundred houses were recently handed over, in the first phase of the a multi-million rand Elliot Dale Rural Sustainable Human Settlements Project, to beneficiaries who qualify for the government housing subsidy grant, falling in the R3 500 to R7 500 income bracket.
While phase one saw the construction of 200 units, phase two will result in another 800. At the end of the project, 7 000 new homes will have been built, along with new sanitation, a sports field and a community centre.
Eastern Cape Human Settlements MEC Helen Sauls-August, who handed over the houses, said it marked an important era in the rural development agenda for Elliot Dale, Mbhashe and the broader Eastern Cape.
“This handover will clearly contribute to an improved household life and a complete human settlements project with a sport field and a community centre for this village. This is one of the few projects to have such amenities in our province,” Sauls-August said.
The MEC urged those involved in the project to work hard to ensure that people were not forced to wait any longer than they had to for the services they had a right to.
The project had created 25 job opportunities for semi-skilled labourers, 22 for skilled labourers, 64 for youth, 68 for women and 90 for men.
With 7 000 beneficiaries expected to have new houses by the time for project is complete, many more employment opportunities are expected to come the way of local people.
In July 2011, the Cabinet had identified the 21 poorest district municipalities throughout the country, and the Amathole District – under which Elliot Dale and the Mbashe Local Municipality fell – was among these.
A number of projects were being implemented in the area. These included household water connection across the Mbashe Local Municipality, including Elliot Dale; a housing project in Elliot Dale and the completion of 25 household gardens.
In addition, 50 hectares of arable land had been cultivated, and the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform was supporting the Elliot Dale community with agricultural inputs, with 10 km of fencing of arable lands having been completed and 15 cooperatives having been registered.