It was a remarkable way to start a year for the people of Marikana when Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu handed over the R700-million Housing Project in this small mining town near Rustenburg in North West in January 2016.
The Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe , Premier of North West, Supra Mahumapelo and North West MEC for Local Government and Human Settlements Wendy Nelson also attended the event.
The project is part of many undertaken by Government in selected areas as part of the Special Presidential Package on the revitalisation of mining towns.
Minister Sisulu emphasised that all people including vulnerable groups such as the elderly, women and child headed households deserved decent homes. “We are happy to hand over these houses to the miners but also to the community of Marikana as a whole. We promised to help all 22 mining towns in distress and today we are here to start that journey,” said Minister Sisulu.
One of the beneficiaries Dora Diremela (75) has lived for a long time with her six children on the surrounding farms where she worked as a labour tenant. “There was no clean water and electricity at the farms, we used to struggle a lot. But now I feel blessed, I will have access to clean water since I will be living in this beautiful house. My life is complete now and my dignity has been restored,” said Diremela.
The Marikana Housing Project will yield 2 600 units upon completion. Presently 544 housing units have been completed and 252 are part of community residential units while 292 are BNG houses. The project will also cater for the Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) and bonded houses.
The government’s plan to revitalise distressed mining communities followed the signing of the Social Accord which included many role players in mining sector and President Jacob Zuma in October 2012. It committed Government and the parties involved to accelerate efforts to upgrade human settlements in mining towns across the country.