North West farmworkers empowered on security of tenure
13 Jul 2011
Hundreds of former farmworkers from the impoverished Mazista/Skierlik informal settlement near Swartruggens in the North West province were on Tuesday afternoon empowered to understand implications of being owners of assets that guarantees their security of tenure, houses.
The housing consumer education was conducted by officials from the North West Department of Human Settlements, Public Safety and Liaison. It precedes the official handover of the first phase of the R51,6 million Mazista/Skierlik Human Settlement Development Project by the Minister of Housing, Tokyo Sexwale and North West Premier, Mme Thandi Modise on Thursday, 14 July 2011 at 06h00 am.
The awareness entirely responds to the extensive evidence that housing consumers are not adequately informed of the rights and responsibilities, and how to access opportunities that had been created in the housing sector particularly by Breaking New Grounds housing delivery plan.
There was burning excitement among the former farmworkers whose lives had been characterised by human rights violation through deprivation of decent housing and basic services such asexploitation, evictions and racism. Some of them lost their loved ones during the 14 January 2008 racial motivated shooting incident in which Johann Nel, then 19 years shot dead four of their community members and wounded eight others. Nel is serving four life sentences and 169 years in jail.
Others including grade one learner Onkarabile Lottering (then four years old) whose collarbone and shoulder were blown off by Nel with a 303 rifle bear permanent physical and psychological scars that will forever remind them of the violent racially prejudiced attack.
The delivery of low-cost housing to the poorest of the poor in Mazista/Skierlik became a priority in 2006 after a thorough assessment on the living conditions which determined on what interventions the provincial government could make. Lack of access to water, health facilities and housing were on top of the list of priorities in the area.
Provincial MEC for Human Settlements, Public Safety and Liaison, Ms Desbo Mohono says the project is aimed at restoring the dignity of the previously marginalised, poor and homeless through the informal settlements eradication programme.
Lesiba Moses Kgwele
Tel: 018 391 0420
Fax: 018 381 0328
Cell: 083 629 1987
Issued by: North West Public Safety
13 Jul 2011
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