Former liberation soldiers to get houses

Mhlaba Memela

Forgotten heroes of the disbanded liberation military wings, including Umkhonto weSizwe and the Azanian People's Liberation Army are to be rewarded with new homes.

While the veterans are celebrating, the IFP has questioned the timing of the offering so close to the elections.

KwaZulu-Natal local government, housing and traditional affairs MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu unveiled the multi-million rand housing project to benefit the military veterans.

The first three-bedroom house was handed over to Vusimuzi Nkabinde at Mt Morria in KwaMashu, Durban, yesterday.

The project is the first of its kind in the country and is expected to benefit more than 5000 former military veterans.

The government has set aside R194million to build 2500 houses for military veterans during the 2009/10 financial year.

The project is to be completed in two years, giving military veterans their own homes.

Additional funds will be allocated in the next financial year to benefit more veterans.

Nkabinde, 64, said his prayers have been answered after spending many years without a shelter.

He has been staying with relatives since he came back to South Africa in 1992.

"When I first came back I stayed at my sister's house in Pietermaritzburg and then at my uncle's home in KwaMashu," he said.

Nkabinde spoke fondly about his contribution to the liberation of the country from the yoke of apartheid repression.

He went into exile in 1962 and spent time in different African countries, including Tanzania, before going for military training in Russia.

"I trained with the late Moses Mabhida. I was injured in a car accident in Tanzania. I'm a soldier of Chief Albert Luthuli," he said.