Holding the keys to his new house has brought mixed emotions for 71-year-old Limpopo pensioner, Hendrik Johannes Venter, who has been waiting almost 15 years for a government subsidised house.
Venter was one of at least 100 beneficiaries of new houses built in Seshego township, Polokwane.
The houses were handed over by Human Settlements Minister Nomaindiya Mfeketo during a ceremony in the area on Thursday.
Speaking on the doorstep of his new house, an elated Venter said receiving the keys to the new house marked the end of a 14-year long wait since he first applied for a government subsidised house.
Venter had previously lived in a shack on the outskirts of Polokwane. He first applied for a house in 2004, three years after the death of his wife.
“This is a really great day for me. I am very excited like you wouldn’t 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. Sometimes I slept on the street, but last night I didn’t sleep because I was so excited that today I will be sleeping here,” said an emotional Venter.
Mfeketo also handed over about 1 790 title deeds to other new home owners during a ceremony attended by Human Settlements Director-General Mbulelo Tshangana and five MECs of Human Settlements from different provinces.
The department had convened a MINMEC (Minister and Members of Executive Council) sitting in Polokwane, and Mfeketo used it as an opportunity to take stock on housing delivery in the country.
Government expenditure aimed at ensuring that South Africa eliminates its staggering housing backlog featured prominently in the MINMEC agenda.
Speaking to residents, Mfeketo said her department was committed to restoring the dignity of ordinary South Africans through the delivery of sustainable human settlements.
The Minister said at least 4.6 million houses have been provided to beneficiaries since 1994. However, government is aware that this is still not enough, and that housing delivery was also lagging behind in Limpopo.
“I want to give you the hope that very soon your houses are coming. We are committed to getting rid of squatter [camps] in Limpopo. We want to make sure that all the people of South Africa are housed properly in well located places… That is our policy.” – SAnews.gov.za