New homes for Kwanokuthula residents

Plettenberg Bay - The mood was jubilant when several residents from the impoverished township of Kwanokuthula in Plettenberg Bay were given keys to their new homes over the weekend.

The two bedroom homes, fitted with solar energy, are part of the new national human settlements approach under the Breaking New Ground housing policy. Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille officiated over the symbolic hand over to five families in the township on Saturday.

Thirty-three-year-old Ntomboxolo Ngqawani was the first proud owner of the new house to be handed over by Motlanthe. More than 500 new homes, some complete and others still under contraction will be handed over to residents during the course of this year. A visibly happy Ngqawani could not hide her tears as she entered her new home. She had never owned a proper house before and had been on the waiting list to secure one for the past nine years.

"It's been a long wait and I am happy it's finally here. Now my children and I can feel at home too," she said.

Motlanthe was in Plettenberg Bay on a two-day visit to assess poverty levels in the area and to devise strategies to rescue the poor from the scourge. He later addressed a community meeting in which he urged locals to work with government to fight poverty in the township.

"We know unemployment remains one of the challenges facing the people here but we need to work together to address the challenge and government is here to help in this regard," he said.

He said education remained one of the tools to root out poverty and called on parents to ensure their children attended school through to matric and possibly university. Without education, said Motlanthe, youngsters were exposed to diseases such as HIV and drugs and alcohol abuse.

The people, who packed a community hall, raised issues ranging from alleged corruption in the issuing of RDP houses, nepotism at municipal departments and challenges with getting IDs from the Department of Home Affairs.

One resident suggested that more youngsters be recruited to the national defence force and the police to reduce unemployment. Another called on the Deputy President to investigate favouritism in the issuing of RDP houses. - BuaNews