Restoring People's Dignity Through Housing
Johannesburg - Elated new proud homeowners have thanked the mayor for answering their prayers after he handed over 100 RDP houses to shack dwellers of Elias Motsoaledi informal settlement, in Soweto.
City of Johannesburg executive Mayor Parks Tau handed the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) houses, measuring 40 square metres, to shack dwellers, who have been vulnerable to the wet and cold weather, on Tuesday.
One of the beneficiaries, Siyabonga Mahonono, 22, said: "I've been living in a shack from an early age and I'm still not used to the cold winter. I'm really excited, I used to believe that we were forgotten by government in this informal settlement and now I see that I was wrong."
Mahonono, who works at a butcher near his new home, said he will move to his RDP house with his three young sisters today.
"It was difficult for us when it rained because the shack will get flooded and my siblings will stand the whole night against the wall of the cold shack shivering. With this house, my dignity has been restored," he said.
The houses boast insulated ceilings to keep them warm when the temperature drops and cool in summer.
There is a concrete apron around the house to channel rainwater instead of the commonly used gutters, downpipes and rainwater channels.
Mayor Tau said: "Our commitment as the City of Joburg is towards progressive realisation of our developmental objectives. We are demonstrating that we are a City at work, we are delivering, we are performing and we are above other municipalities when it comes to developing communities.
"After we realised that informal settlements were always washed away by the summer and winter rains, we said the solution is not to give out blankets and food parcels to the shack dwellers, who are also potential victims of fire and floods, because that does not solve the problem at all."
Accompanied by senior officials of the City's Roads Agency, Mayor Tau also launched the City wide Gravel Roads Upgrade to surface standards project in Doornkop, the R50 million Naledi Bridge and the Stormwater drains project in Dobsonville extension 3 in Ward 48.
The Gravel Roads Upgrade programme has been implemented since the completion of Soweto roads tarring, with the townships which were previously prioritised including Diepsloot, Braamfischerville, Doornkop and Orange Farm.
According to Mayor Tau, the construction of the new Naledi Bridge is aimed at bridging the historical apartheid separation of two very close and inter-linked communities, thus creating a safe crossing over the railway line for both pedestrians and vehicles in Ward 20, Naledi and ward 14 in Protea North, region D.
He said the project, which will start this month, is expected to be completed in September next year, adding that 100 job opportunities will be created.
Dobsonville stormwater drains
The stormwater drainage system is being upgraded at a cost of R6.2 million as part of the City's Roads Agency 2013/14 Capex programme.
The project objective is to improve drainage and minimise flooding in the area. This includes the conversion of open drains system to a closed system to prevent residents from being swept away during flooding.
This is being done by installing new pipes and increasing the capacity of existing systems. The project which had created 40 opportunities to local residents started in February this year and completion is estimated to be July 31 this year.