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RESIDENTS of Blouberg in Limpopo will soon get a taste of a better life after the launch of an Integrated and Sustainable Human Settlement Project in their area on Friday.
The project, the first of its kind in the country, was launched in Senwabarwana in the Blouberg municipality.
Dubbed the Inclusionary Project, the launch coincided with the official handing over of RDP houses to indigent people.
It is called inclusionary because the project accommodates the poor, middle class and rich in a single settlement irrespective of their monthly income or family background.
The project is aimed at doing away with previous models in which the "haves" lived separately from the "have-nots".
Blouberg municipality spokesperson Nhlanhla Mashele said the project had already seen 452 poor people who had no proper shelter being awarded keys to their own houses.
She said the houses were built in Extension 5 of Senwabarwana, an area that was previously considered affluent.
Mashele said the municipality was the first in the province to implement the project after it was launched by former Minister of Housing Lindiwe Sisulu in Bendor outside Polokwane last year.
Mashele said the houses were built in such a way that there would be no line of demarcation between the rich and poor.
"We have also built the houses close to town so that people who have no cars are able to access their places of work safely and quicker," she said.
She said the municipality had, in conjunction with the local government department, built the first houses for indigent people earning less than R1200 a month, those who depend on social grants and the unemployed.
She said the houses were allocated in cooperation with the ward councilors, ward committee members and community development workers.
"During construction, which started in July last year, we employed 470 people. Most of those who were employed on the project worked on the construction of the houses and were awarded the same houses if they qualified," she said.
Mashele said the municipality had also allocated 100 sites for middle-income earners and further allocations would be made later.
She said the new settlement had running water, sewerage, electricity and upgraded streets.
Annah Kgonyane, one of the beneficiaries, said the house was the biggest Christmas present she had ever received in her 71 years.
The project was applauded by MEC for local government and housing Soviet Lekganyane, who said the settlement would break the divide between the rich and poor.