Yesterday, Western Cape Human Settlements Minister, Tertuis Simmers, visited and engaged with the first 48 residents who moved into the Vlakkeland development in Paarl. On Friday, 22 deserving and qualifying beneficiaries took occupancy of their brand-new homes, which was followed by 26, yesterday.
Minister Simmers said: “Seeing the joy on the faces of our beneficiaries will always be irreplaceable. These are the moments we work for, as handing over a house makes an immediate and tangible difference in the lives of our people. The commencement of these handovers is particularly pleasing, as there have been various delays in this project. The handovers also demonstrate the Western Cape Government commitment to restoring dignity and creating a better life for our people.
One of the beneficiaries, 64-year old George Kenneth, who was on the housing waiting list for 20 years and also celebrated his birthday yesterday, said: “I am truly thankful, to both God and the Minister. There was a time I thought this day would not arrive, but here I am, on my birthday, in my own house. This is a great day.”
Another beneficiary, 70-year old Nolivasi Nkampi, who’s been a backyard dweller for almost 30 years, said: “I’m very grateful that I have this roof over my head. I was very concern to hear that some people were threatening to invade these houses. At least it has not happened, and I hope it does not happen, so that others like me can also receive their homes.”
Vlakkeland is a mixed-use development with a budget of R453 million. It is envisaged to yield 2556 opportunities when it concludes in 2023.
Minister Simmers said: “I’m looking forward to returning to the area and meet the 40 beneficiaries that will be moving in later this week. I also commend the Drakenstein Executive Mayor, Mr Conrad Poole and his team, my Department’s officials and contractors who are working at a rapid pace to ensure that houses are delivered to the most vulnerable and qualifying beneficiaries.
These improved conditions now also strengthen the resolve of our beneficiaries against the coronavirus, as they are able to observe social distancing and ensure effective hygiene practices.
As the Western Cape Government, we remain committed to accelerating human settlement delivery, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, resilient, safe and sustainable human settlements in an open opportunity society.”