Youth house the needy and poor

IN THE spirit of the young people who sacrificed their lives in June 1976, about 75 youngsters from Eshowe, under the Umlalazi municipality, have built houses for poor and needy people.

IN THE spirit of the young people who sacrificed their lives in June 1976, about 75 youngsters from Eshowe, under the Umlalazi municipality, have built houses for poor and needy people.

The 403 houses are expected to be completed by the end of the month to coincide with Youth Month. But 50 of these have been finished and are ready to be occupied.

Performing his first official task as Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale said his department was proud that young people were taking part in nation building.

He said when he assumed his position as minister he took it on himself to make sure that the department does not just build houses, but built homes that were suitable for people.

"There is a difference between a house and a home," he said. "A house is empty and cold, whereas a home is warm and has people in it. It must be comfortable and secure."

Sexwale said his department would make sure that it does not build houses on any available land just to fill it.

"We will ensure that these homes are closer to clinics, nearer to schools, have playgrounds, sanitation, Home Affairs offices and other necessities. That is what human settlement is about. I want to reiterate that houses rock and poverty sucks."

Sexwale urged new homeowners to protect their properties.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for human settlement and public works Maggie Govender said they were proud that local people would take ownership of safe houses built by young people.

"This brings hope to the call by President Jacob Zuma that young people should be at the forefront of development," she said.

Beneficiary Khanyisiwe Mpungose, 60, was overjoyed when she was given the keys to her new home.

"For the past nine years I have been living in a shack with my two grandchildren. The clinic was far away. Today I am happy that my prayers have been answered."

One of the young people who took part in the project, Siwinile Ngcobo, 19, said the opportunity to build the new homes helped them acquire skills they would use in the future.

"'We received training for two weeks in various things such as plastering and paving. The skills I gained from the project will go a long way to helping me shape my future," Ngcobo said.

X