This week more than 30 unemployed military veterans in the Chris Hani District Municipality received accredited certificates in home building offered by the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) in Queenstown, Eastern Cape.

The military veterans undertook intensive theoretical and practical training in roofing, plumbing, plastering and carpentry for a period of three months.
The training is part of the NHBRC’s social transformation programme aimed at capacitating youth, women, military veterans and people with disabilities with technical skills so that they can actively participate in the home building industry.

The certificate handing over ceremony was attended by Lukhanji Municipality Mayoral Committee member responsible for Human Settlements, Councilor Andiswa Hulushe and the South African Military Veterans Association Executive Members in the Chris Hani District Municipality.
The NHBRC Eastern Cape Provincial Manager, Nombasa Ngoqo, said the training programme was aimed at ensuring that military veterans have adequate skills before they venture into the business of building homes.

“As a regulator of the home building industry our primary mandate is to protect housing consumers against poor workmanship. In order to achieve this we need to ensure that we capacitate people who are participating in the building of homes including the military veterans,” said Ngoqo.

Addressing the ceremony, Councilor Andiswa Hulushe welcomed the training programme saying it was part of government’s efforts to honour the contribution made by former combatants in the fight against apartheid.

She called on the veterans to use the skills that they have gained to actively participate in the housing development projects done in the region.
“In the Christ Hani District we have a military veteran’s housing project that is underway and I am hoping that with the skills you have acquired you will be playing an active role in building your own houses,” said Hulushe.

Eric Mlilo, a former Umkhonto Wesizwe soldier could not contain his excitement when he received his certificates.

“I want to thank the NHBRC, Department of Human Settlements and Department of Military Veterans for affording us an opportunity to be part of this programme because as freedom fighters we were unable to acquire further education. This training will go a long way in ensuring that we are actively involved in the construction of our houses,” said Mlilo.

Three military veterans’ projects will be implemented in the OR Tambo District Municipality, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality and Chris Hani District Municipality that aims to build a total of 104 houses for military veterans.