Houses for Olievenhoutbosch community

Olievenhoutbosch – Years ago the Olivenhoutbosch area was characterised by shacks with backyard rooms and people were unemployed, but change has come to the area through a partnership between government and the community.

On Thursday, the community witnessed the unveiling of an Integrated Human Settlements Development Project in Olievenhoutbosch Ext 36 by Deputy Minister for Human Settlements, Zou Kota-Fredericks.

The project is expected to see the building of almost 2000 houses and will start in September and be completed in the next 18 months.

Christina Kobe-Choba, 47, said she was now proud to be a resident because a number of developments have taken place since the new democratic government came into power.

Kobe-Choba spent almost all her adulthood renting a room but she eventually decided to go back to her parent’s house because she was struggling to make rent payments. For the past six years she has been living in a cramped backroom with her children and nephews.

“We’ve witnessed a number of developments in the area, including the building of decent houses, state of the art schools and a shopping centre. Our area keeps on growing economically and there are still more developments in the pipeline.

“Through these developments, our children are able to get employment and that keeps them away from the streets where there is nyaope. As parents, we are benefitting and chasing away poverty through the jobs which come from these projects,” said Kobe-Choba.

She said there was a good relationship between the community and Ward 77 councillor, Patrick Tsila. She said he keeps them up to date on every issues concerning service delivery in the area, which helped to avoid tension between stakeholders.

Project symbolises 1956 protest

The housing project launched has been identified for South African Women in Construction (SAWIC) and will be implemented as part of building 1 956 houses to symbolise the 1956 protest march to the Union Buildings by 20 000 women against the injustice of women and pass laws.

The Olievenhoutbosch project will empower women contractors and enable them to run sustainable business enterprises as well as ensure compliance of the project with the requirements of Breaking New Ground (BNG) strategy of the department.

It will also seek to fast track the delivery of the housing and to contribute towards the targeted 1.5 million houses by 2019, in line with the social contract announced by Human Settlement Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

Speaking at the launch, Deputy Minister Kota-Fredericks commended the Tshwane Municipality for its continued commitment to the economic empowerment of women in terms of construction.

“We are moving now and as we build houses, we also build the communities. If women are empowered economically, the abuse would be a thing of the past,” the Deputy Minister said.

She also encouraged women to form cooperatives, adding that they can do anything.

SAWIC Chairperson in Gauteng, Kile Kwinana, noted that while men can build houses, it is women who turn them into homes.

“As SAWIC, we take pride in the houses we build because we build with a soul,” said Kwinana.

MMC for Human Settlements Joshua Ngonyama said the city had offered R500 million to support 30 emerging contractors, including 10 youth and 10 people with disabilities for the next five years.