Two elderly women who have lived in shacks for most of their lives finally received new fully furnished houses and household essentials in Sakhile, Extension 21 in Lekwa Local Municipality, Mpumalanga. Human Settlements MEC, Speedy Mashilo together with The Executive Mayor of Lekwa Local Municipality Linda Dhlamini visited the families during meetings with the community.
Ms Puleng Nkosi (66), a single parent of four children who all depend on her old age pension and Martha Nkabinde (62), were handed keys to their new government low cost houses. Nkosi who lived in a shack with her children for a long time was overjoyed when she received her fully furnished house. “If I had wings I was going to fly higher since that’s how I am excited, my prayers have been answered. As you all know that this area is very cold and it was very hard to sleep in that shack, thanks to the department for my house” said Nkosi with a joyful smile.
Later in the day, MEC Mashilo and Executive Mayor, Linda Dlamini proceeded to a community meeting were the community had the opportunity to engage with the MEC and raise their concerns regarding their settlements and the occupied houses in extension 8. “We can’t move to extension 8 because there is no proper sewer and water, please can our government prioritized us and assist us because the condition we are living in now is not good” said Goodman Mhlongo one of the community member.
The project was initiated by the municipality in 2013 to develop 300 hectors into an integrated residential development programme. The Provincial Human Settlements Department has set aside R3 million to assist the Lekwa Local Municipality to provide water and sewer infrastructure to mitigate challenges affecting the project.
The IRDP project was initiated to deliver about 2000 government low cost houses (RDPs), 2000 bonded units for middle income earners, regional shopping mall and two filling stations. It was to further provide five schools, clinic and a community center. The required services include water purification plan, sewer pump stations, bulk electricity and electricity connections. These interventions will be jointly funded by the Department and the municipality through its Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG).
The project has to date delivered 500 low cost houses with a budget of R51 million and installed internal engineering services at R22 million. MEC Speedy Mashilo has held meetings with the municipality, contractor and CoGTA to develop a clear on how to expedite the interventions. Addressing the community on this project, Mashilo indicated that, “all stakeholders have conceded that there are challenges that are affecting the project and an immediate solution has since been identified”.
The Department’s commitment to eradicate inadequate infrastructure, poor access to basic services, unsuitable environments, uncontrolled and unhealthy population particularly in the Gert Sibande and Nkangala District Municipalities where majority of job seekers move to. The Department has R1.3 billion to construct 8 620 houses, service 7 466 stands/sites, deliver 100 Community Residential Units, six community halls and child care centers in the Province during the 2016/17 financial year.