Willow Park community receives 60 new houses

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Willow Park - Over 60 low cost housing units have been given to the community members of Willow Park who were previously cramped into only 32 dilapidated one-bedroomed mud houses.

The department allocated R2.6 million to build houses for this community after the South African National Broadcaster aired a programme about the poor living conditions of farm workers living in Willow Park, near Zeerust last year.

It also profiled the high rate of poverty and unemployment the community was facing.

North West MEC for Local Government and Housing, Howard Yawa, who handed over the units to community members on Tuesday, said his department had been saddened by the living conditions of the Willow Park community.

"I must confess that when I first visited this community last year in August, I was overcome with sadness. I left the area depressed because it was a contradiction to what our government wanted for our people."

However, he said, when he approached the area on Tuesday morning, excitement and smiles abounded. "I could see the excitement on the faces of those whose lives we have managed to change."

MEC Yawa said the construction of the houses led to the creation of 203 local jobs, adding that government had placed rural development and infrastructure at the centre of the struggle against unemployment, poverty and inequality.

"Workers living in rural areas often face the brunt of poverty," he said.

One of the recipients of the units, Theninko Moagi, 71, said she was glad to move out of the cramped house she had been living in with her family of seven

"There was not enough space to accommodate my family, we did not sleep well in that house. But now we have the new house which will definitely make us feel at home," she told BuaNews.

The granny added that she would make sure the family took care of the house.

Julia Botlholo, 28, said: "We have being living in poverty for so long in this community, so we will not hesitate to embrace any help that we get from government and other people who have showed concern for us."

She received a three-roomed house, which she said will suite her and her two children. "I am very happy," she told BuaNews.

Executive Major of the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality, Themba Gwabeni has donated 11 cows and 133 goats to the community to boost farming and food production.