New homes end plight of Cape community

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cape Town – Human Settlements Deputy Minister Zou Kota-Fredericks has commended a community-driven initiative for ensuring that inadequate homes in Morningstar, Durbanville in the Western Cape are refurbished.

The Deputy Minister handed over nine new homes to elderly citizens on Saturday after non-profit organisation Morningstar Development and Upliftment Initiative partnered with the national Department of Human Settlements, its entities and the province to demolish asbestos houses and replaced them with environmentally friendly homes.

As part of the project, which was launched in 2014, 20 asbestos units have been identified for demolition to make way for the new homes in the area.

“…We are handing over nine houses. We have identified about 20 units here that were in a bad condition. Today we are handing over nine units and the progress around the rest of the units is going well.”

“What has been critical about this aspect of the particular project is the driving engine, which has been the community organisation, which has been driving this project.

“This has made our lives easier as a department because we had the people who are responsible for the entire project coordination, being the city itself,” the Deputy Minister said.

The handover of the new homes was part of government’s Imbizo Focus Week national activities, where political principals – Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Premiers and MECs – have gone to ground to engage residents on service delivery issues.

The Imbizo programme is also aimed at galvanising communities to actively participate in the implementation of the NDP towards radical socio-economic transformation and social cohesion.

“What we are doing today… is part of the imbizo week, where were engage with communities … [in order] to assist them in their difficult conditions.

“One of the difficult things about this area is us being unable to have enough land to build houses for the people because here we have a lot of backyard dwellers.

“This is an old community in Cape Town. It is integrated, you can find all kinds of people here in Durbanville but they don’t have space to build houses,” said Deputy Minister Kota-Fredericks.

Project brings end to plight of residents

The Deputy Minister said the project has brought much needed relief to residents who have been living in asbestos structures for many years.

 “When I came to visit this project in 2014, I realised that people were living in this place which is older than 80 years in asbestos houses, which were always falling on them.

"And we realised that there were elderly people who were living in those circumstances. There was illness, there was everything you can think of, particularly the asthma part of it and cancer,” she said.

She said the Department of Human Settlements partnered with the province, the city and the Department of Correctional Services…”in terms of what we call in the Department of Human Settlements In-Situ upgrading, where we upgrade the [living] conditions of the people where they are”.

While houses were being refurbished, occupants were asked to stay with their families and other families for a few months.

One of the recipients, 75 year-old Siena Van Niekerk had been gravely ill having had a bypass operation done not long ago.

“She asked to be taken back to her house and as soon as she was taken back, she started recovering.

“So people long to be in their own homes because they can only see themselves alive if they are in their own environment.”

Van Niekerk’s daughter, Biernice, said her mom and late father moved to Durbanville 48 years ago and have lived in the asbestos house ever since.

Van Niekerk said she was happy to have finally moved into the house. 

“I didn’t have a house like this before with a bathroom and lived in a house with only two rooms and a kitchen. Now I can move up and down my house because it is so spacious.” –


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