Twenty-eight female guards were unfairly dismissed by a security company because the client‚ Metrora.
Christmas will come early for 385 families in the poverty-stricken area of Emakhuzeni in Ixopo, southern KwaZulu-Natal.
The community, together with the former land-owner and officials from the province's department of housing, rolled up their sleeves this week to build 16 low-cost houses for village residents.
This initiative, under the auspices of the People's Housing Project takes place during the "16 Days Campaign against the abuse of Women and Children". The volunteers, including housing department officials, will sweat it out to build the houses to benefit 385 residents in time for Christmas.
Each home has adequate land for subsistence farming and grazing for livestock.
"This is more than just a low-cost housing project," said former land-owner Peter Cornelius, who is also a volunteer builder on the project.
"These houses are built by the people and volunteers from the department of housing. The project creates employment and promotes skills development. We want to get the people to bring their families out here and teach them to build for themselves," said an enthusiastic Cornelius.
Cornelius said they wanted to bring a sense of ownership to the community.
For the beneficiaries of the project it will be a Christmas to remember as they are expected to occupy their homes in December as a Christmas gift from local government, housing and traditional affairs MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu.
One such beneficiary is Esta Sithole, 66, who said she was relieved to finally have her own home. She said living in a mud hut was hell on rainy days. She looks after her grandchildren Andiswa, 5, and Mazwi, two years.