15 August 2012
Timred Jabaza has been waiting 22 years for a decent home – his long wait finally came to an end on Friday when President Jacob Zuma handed him the key to his new, fully furnished two-bedroom house.
Jabaza was one of the first beneficiaries of the more than 200 new houses that Zuma handed over in Kanana Park, south of Johannesburg on Friday.
Others who will be benefiting from the new homes include those were found living in uninhabitable conditions when the President visited Sweetwaters and Thulamntwana in 2010.
Following that visit, the Gauteng provincial government and the City of Johannesburg began developing the Kanana Park housing project, which will incorporate the settlements of Thulamntwana, Sweetwaters and the two smaller informal settlements of Doornkuil and Bhekaphambili.
A total of 3 101 houses are being built, 1 793 of which are government subsidised housing units, 756 social-rental units, and 552 bonded units.
Parks, two sports grounds, two primary schools, a high school, a clinic, and commercial and light industrial sites are also being planned for the area.
Jabaza’s daughter Kholeka Jabaza said it was wonderful to see one of her father’s dreams finally realised. “It wasn’t nice staying in a shack, especially at his age. It was not easy. My father has been waiting for 22 years, and his day has finally arrived,” she beamed.
Kholeka was particularly pleased that Zuma, who had promised better living conditions for residents during his 2010 visit, had kept his word.
“It’s been less than two years and already it’s happened. I’m so grateful. I just hope that he can do the same for everyone who has been living in those conditions,” she said.
Patience Mehlomekhulu also spent the first night in her own decent home on Friday.
The 74-year-old had been living in a shack with her grandchildren, where conditions were far from ideal. “It was so cold I could not sleep at night. Tonight I will sleep in my new house for the first time. I am very happy,” she said.
Zuma, who was accompanied by a number of representatives from national and provincial government, also addressed a community meeting after handing over the houses.
He said he was touched when he visited the area in 2010 and found that people were living in dire poverty.
Plans were in place to develop the area and those plans were speeded up after his visit.
“Everyone on the list will get a house … Everything takes time … things will not happen in one day, but at the end everyone will have a house,” Zuma assured residents.
He also promised that there would be electricity and other services in the area.
Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said the Kanana Park housing projects would be a mixed development. Apart from the “give away houses”, houses would also be built for affordable rentals.
“We are providing for families,” she said, adding that millions had been earmarked to build houses and develop the area.