Twenty-eight female guards were unfairly dismissed by a security company because the client‚ Metrora.
Sixteen impoverished women from Mhlathuze Village in Empangeni, northern KwaZulu-Natal, were given their own partially furnished houses yesterday.
The provincial housing department paid more than R500000 to build the new homes in partnership with volunteers and the private sector.
South African Breweries donated lounge suites for all the houses, and Ukhamba Coating painted the houses.
The project was a contribution towards the 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Child Abuse campaign that ended yesterday, when the villagers accepted the keys for their houses.
Bongumusa Zungu had almost given up hope of giving her children a better life when she could not find employment.
Zungu, 59, has spent her life working part-time while renting a mud shack in Esikhawini township.
"I thought God was punishing me, but today He blessed me and I can walk with pride," Zungu said.
"It was my dream that when I died my children would have a home. If I die now my soul will rest in peace."
Lydia Johnson, MEC for Public Works, representing Housing MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu, said the new homes would restore dignity to all 16 women.
Johnson said Mabuyakhulu had shown great respect for women's rights by building homes for the poor.