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New houses restore dignity of Danville residents

Written by Noluthando Mkhize
After spending 11 years without a fixed accommodation, Magda Croukamp and her fiance Jacob Kroen are proud new homeowners.Some of the houses situated in Danville where President Jacob Zuma handed over homes to destitute families who can not afford proper housing.

The couple had settled at the Bethlehem Informal Settlement in Pretoria, the area also known as Hermanstad, after moving from one place to another for years.

Their plight came to the attention of President Jacob Zuma when he visited the area in July 2008, and he promised to help.

The President listened attentively as com- munity members like Croukamp related how homelessness had affected their lives. Croukamp told of how they were forced to sleep on the streets and had been robbed 49 times. Following the President’s visit, 29 families were prioritised for housing in the area. Of these, 15 families, including Croukamp, have been allocated houses in what is known as the new low cost settlement project in Danville. Croukamp, Kroen and Croukamp’s brother Johan Cloete have finally moved into their new house situated at Danville in Pretoria. On International Nelson Mandela Day, Croukamp could not contain her joy when President Zuma visited the area to launch the new low cost settlement.

“We have suffered for a long time. At times people tried to kill us for our luggage and clothing. I want to thank God and the President for sticking to his word,” said Croukamp in tears.

In Danville there is a spirit of togetherness as children race down the newly built streets in their bikes.

Addressing the community, President Zuma said he was touched by the warm reception he received. “This is what we want to see happening in the country. There is a genuine expression of satisfaction; we are giving houses to all national groups. South Africa belongs to all who live in it. I am happy to see what is happening today.

Even those still waiting for their houses will get their houses.”

President Zuma was accompanied by the newly-appointed Human Settlement Minister, Connie September; Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane; Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa and Local Government and Housing MEC, Ntombi Mekgwe

Of the 407 houses in the project, 110 have been completed and allocated to beneficiaries.

The Department of Human Settlement spent R103 million to build the houses. Painted in green, grey and light pink colours, the houses are fitted with cement tiles, ceiling, kitchen sink units and solar geysers.

”The President hailed Danville as a model of an integrated community.

“The settlement is a demonstration that non-racial communities can be developed in the country, in the true spirit of the rainbow nation that former President Mandela promoted.”