The community of Ikemeleng, Gauteng, has now been moved into decent homes by the Department of Human Settlements.
The community, which is situated in Roodepoort, has been living in tents for a number of years after being evicted from the surrounding farms.
Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, handed over 70 Temporary Residential Units (TRUs) to the community of Ikemeleng during a ceremony held in Wilgespruit, Roodepoort.
The TRUs are built on Rockhard board, which is an environmentally friendly green mineral composite board.
The delivery of the TRUs will help the community to observe physical and social distancing and practice good hygiene, as the country tries to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The houses are constructed using alternative building technology.
“It has taken us less than two months to provide the 70 houses. It would have taken us much longer if we were doing brick and mortar. These house are as beautiful as any other,” Minister Sisulu said.
The houses, which are disability friendly, come with kitchen facilities, including a kettle and two-plate stove assembled using SolaGas technology. In addition, the community will also have access to external lighting next to each unit and newly planted trees.
Sisulu also expressed her gratitude to all role players, including the Housing Development Agency (HDA), for their great work in delivering the project.
“Your partnership with us will surely rally other private sector companies to support government in its quest to change the lives of ordinary South Africans,” the Minister said.
Ikemeleng community chairperson, Patricia Mofokeng, expressed her sincere gratitude to the Minister and her team.
City of Johannesburg Mayor, George Makhubo, who accompanied the Minister, said they were heartbroken by the living conditions they saw. “In our engagement with Human Settlements, everything went so fast and two months later, we are here to give people back their dignity,” Makhubo said.
Gauteng MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Lebogang Maile, said it is important that at all times, government works in the rapid manner it has in the last few months.
“We can solve the many problems and challenges facing our communities,” Maile said.
The NHBRC is involved in assisting the Ministry and HDA by providing technical and advisory services on the use of alternative building technologies as well as quality assurance and compliance with relevant standards for the Temporary Residential Units (TRU’s) being delivered by the Minister.
The Gift of the Givers donated food parcels to the residents, which will last three to four weeks. The organisation also donated blankets, kiddies’ packs and other essential goods.