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Building houses for a brighter future

Written by Thandeka Ngobese
When Communications Minister Faith Muthambi visited Willow Fountain in Pietermartizburg, KwaZulu-Natal, during the Presidential Imbizo in September last year, she was touched by the plight faced by the community in the area.

She promised some family members that she would do something to help improve their lives.Minister Faith Muthambi helps build one of the houses she promised to five families.

Fast forward to 2015 and Minister Muthambi has kept her promise.

During the Presidential Imbizo Minister Muthambi  was deployed to conduct a door-to-door service delivery campaign in the area.

Realising the devastating living standards of residents, the Minister adopted ward 14 and further identified seven families in need of houses. Most of the families were living in small, overcrowded mud houses.

“I’m happy that the municipality has committed to building houses for five families. I was able to get sponsors to finish the other two. Contractors have promised that all the houses, which will have six rooms, will be completed in two weeks. The municipality will also provide services such as electricity, water and furniture for the houses,” said the Minister.

The housing project has created 10 job opportunities.

One of the beneficiaries Mlandeli Madondo, 53, said he lived with nine people in a three-room mud house. “There is no privacy and we survived through piece jobs. We are glad that government brought back our dignity by building this house for us. I do not have enough words to thank Minister Muthambi,” said Madondo.

Another beneficiary Sanele Mathe, 19, said she could not wait for the new house to be completed.     

“We are 15 people living in this two-room house and there is no privacy. I can’t wait for the new house to be completed. We are really grateful for this decent house,” she said.

Changing lives

The community no longer has to travel long distances to access the internet because this service is available right on their doorstep, thanks to the Department of Communications (DoC).

Speaking at the opening of the centre, Minister Muthambi said after visiting the area, she discovered that most young people did not go to school and they were in the streets during school hours.

The new computer centre aims to change how young people, in particular, spend their time and turn them into productive members of society.

The DoC, in partnership with  Vodacom, officially opened the computer centre which boasts 21 computers with high-speed broadband internet connectivity that will help young people in the rural community to connect with the world.

Minister Muthambi said the state-of-the-art computer centre will teach people computer skills which will help them when they are looking for jobs.

“The centre will also create 20 job opportunities for young people who will work as trainers at the centre. Two of these youngsters are already getting training from Vodacom to train others. In his State of the Nation Address President Jacob Zuma said public and private partnerships are the key to service delivery, we stand here today as true witnesses of President’s words,” said Minister Muthambi.

Viwe Soga, Vodacom’s advisor of Provincial and Local Government, said the company has installed Wi-Fi at the centre and will provide it with 2GB of data every month for the next 12 months.

“This is especially exciting for us because it mirrors our commitment to ensuring that Vodacom puts the power of the internet into everyone’s hands,” said Soga.

Minister Muthambi also donated school uniforms to seven learners from destitute families. She also advised the community to safeguard the facilities given to them.