Nonceba Lubenga, 87, could not contain her excitement or find words to express her gratitude when she was named one of the first beneficiaries of the government campaign to build over 5 000 houses for military veterans.
Lubenga, who was one of the first three military veterans identified on the Gauteng database, said she was happy that government has decided to honour their contribution to the country’s liberation.
She was also confident that the gesture would give hope to others like her, who have been waiting in the wings.
"I am glad that government is making an effort to correct the injustices of the past because at least now I will have a decent place to call home," said the former member of the underground movement, Umkhonto we Sizwe. Lubenga left for Lusaka, Zambia, in October 1971 and came back to the country in 1991. She currently lives with her grandchildren in Yeoville and has never owned a house in her life. But this month, she will officially move into her two-bedroom home in Fleurhof Estate, which boasts modern amenities.
Fleurhof Estate is a mixed-income housing development nestled along Main Reef Road, 13km west of the Johannesburg Central Business District.
The estate forms part of government’s drive to promote urban regeneration. Upon completion, the development project will feature just over 9 000 housing units.
According to the City of Joburg, one-third of the development will be RDP units, while the final third will comprise bonded houses. It will also house mixed-use business centre sites, industrial sites, crèches, places of worship, community facilities, schools and public open spaces.
Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu kick started the campaign, which coincided with the annual Media Build observed under the theme ‘Restoring the dignity of military veterans through human settlements’.
Media Build saw Minister Sisulu, media personalities, stakeholders and sponsors from the private sector rolling up their sleeves to build and paint the three houses for the military veterans.
Minister Sisulu said her department has set a target of building 5 000 in all nine provinces in three years.
“We want to build them decent houses to restore their dignity and to honour their contribution to our freedom. This is a national priority,” said the Minister.
She urged the people of Fleurhof and other communities, where the military veterans will be based, to take care of them.
“These people gave up their lives to fight for freedom so it is important that we treasure them and treat them with dignity.”
Among the sponsors joining Minister Sisulu were Calgro M3, First National Bank and Kansai Plascon, the Department of Military Veterans and the City of Joburg.
For more information,
call the Human Settlement call centre: 0800 146 873
Department of Military Veterans call centre: 080 232 3244