Minister lays bricks for women's housing project

Wearing grey gloves, Minister of Housing Lindiwe Sisulu spent time on Monday morning laying bricks for 15 houses as part of Women’s Build 2005.

“I’m happy and proud of the beneficiaries and the women volunteers who have given up time to come and help build these houses,” Sisulu said at the official opening of the project in Protea South, Soweto.

“This is an asset for them, not only a shelter. The women and their children will have some dignity and pride because some have never owned their own homes ... Over the weekend, the families can do the finishing touches and start hanging their curtains.”

Sisulu also praised various companies for their sponsorship.

“I’m happy that companies are coming up to meet government halfway.
There is a huge backlog for houses and we could never do it alone ... This makes a huge difference in people’s lives. The children will have some sort of security and comfort.”

Three hundred women, corporate and community volunteers are working side by side with homeowner families to construct 15 simple and affordable houses for families in need.

The families were selected on need and the desire to improve their lives and conditions.

The project is hosted by Habitat for Humanity, the national and provincial housing departments and various other sponsors.

“I’ve just put three bricks on and concluded it’s hard work. So, tomorrow [Tuesday] we are coming here to do hard work and slog,” Sisulu said.

The minister said building the homes this month is very significant as women celebrate and commemorate the 49th anniversary of Women’s Day.

“There is a lot to learn from South African women. Their determination and ability to rise to the occasion shows their strength. Look at the quality of work they are putting into building these homes. Women’s Day was not only all about marching to the Union Buildings.”

After meeting Sisulu, an overwhelmed beneficiary and first-time homeowner Evelyn Khaswa said: “I’m very happy and feel so very proud to get my own house. The struggle and stress is down now.”

Sisulu also challenged the media to contribute to the sponsorship of one more house.

“I challenge the media to assist us in sponsoring one more house. Instead of 15, let’s make it a nice round number of 16. Don’t just criticise what is not done; let’s ensure what we can to do help,” said the minister.

Sisulu and Gauteng housing minister Nomvula Mokonyane will hand over the houses to the beneficiaries on Friday.

Schoolchildren sang traditional songs and danced as they welcomed the minister to Soweto on Monday.—Sapa

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