Whites get RDP houses

WHITE families have received a warm welcome from their new black neighbours at Chief Mogale Gardens in Kagiso on Gauteng's West Rand.

For many years Koekie Beukes and her late husband Carl dreamt of owning a house. Last Thursday the 57-year-old Beukes' dream came true when she moved into her new home amid opposition from the People's Civic Organisation (PCO).

So far 15 white families have moved into the area.

Nomali Mofokeng, 71, believes that the government made a good move to have blacks and whites living together in the township.

"Mandela said we should unite and that is what is happening. Whites are people too. We should forget about the past and move on. We have to become one nation," Mofokeng said.

Lydia Ramosiga, 58, echoed Mofokeng's sentiments.

"We are happy about the move and have welcomed them. They are friendly people and even visit us.

"They don't have electricity yet and get hot water from us," Ramosiga said.

Beukes, a mother of six, has never owned a house before.

"My husband passed away two months ago. If only he had lived for two months longer to see our new home," Beukes said, battling to hold back tears.

She shares the four-and-half-roomed RDP house with two of her six children. She had been on the waiting list for about 10 years.

"When I was given the keys to my new home I couldn't hold back my tears. Housing officials told us we would get our title deeds later.

"Though there is no electricity, I'm happy that I have a proper roof over my head," Beukes said.

Johanna Putler, 55, and her husband Christo, 34, also received a house.

"We are happier here. We have been told we will get electricity soon. It is better than living at the informal settlement. Our neighbours are friendly and very nice to us," Putler said.

Six-year-old Michael Pitzar also seems to have settled in.

"I'm happy here. I've made friends. They come to my house and we play," Michael said.

Michael, his mother Engie, father Mark and two siblings aged one and 10 share the house.

PCO general secretary Luyanda Njomane said there were about 735 houses and about 600 families were living in the area.

"It's not that we don't want white people here. We just want proof that they have been on the waiting list for years like other people," he said.

"We don't think the proper procedure was followed. Our organisation is nonracial. We want administrative justice and are taking the matter to the public protector."