A place to call home for Ethembalethu residents

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pretoria – Over 120 houses have been handed over to the rural community of Ethembalethu eco-village in Muldersdrift, Mogale City.

Speaking at the handover ceremony of the houses, which is part of government’s rural housing programme, Gauteng MEC of Human Settlements Ntombi Mekgwe said: “By working together as the community and government, we are able to achieve more.

“Land is important to human settlements. We need land to build houses and when you have a house, your dignity is restored.”

The community formed the Muldersdrift Home Trust Foundation (MHTF) in 1996, so that it could buy itself land to build their homes. However, they encountered problems purchasing the land, and turned to government for help.

“We … approached government to assist us in purchasing the land, which was priced at R645 000. Finally, the provincial Department of Land Reform transferred money to Mogale City to purchase the land on our behalf,” said Thabo Rabapane, the MHTF secretary.

One of the housing beneficiaries, 79-year-old Elsie Pule, said she was finally enjoying the fruits of democracy. Pule said that she and her family have been staying on farms for the past 38 years, and had been evicted whenever the farm was sold.

“I now have a place of my own. No one will evict me here and my family now has a home,” she said.

MEC Mekgwe also announced that Mogale City municipality would start constructing roads and install electricity in the next few months.

The city has also put aside a budget to build a park for the community. Saturday’s handover of houses also coincided with the sod turning ceremony for the new park and the construction of roads.

Mogale City acting mayor and MMC of Human Settlements, David Letsie, said he was happy government could fulfil its promise to the community.

“In April 2012, we were here for a sod turning ceremony and some did not have faith in us. Exactly two years later, we are back to deliver on the promise we made,” Letsie said.

He said as more development continues in the area, the community must remain united. – SAnews.gov.za