/ 14 June 2013

North West wins big

North West was recognized for excellence in creating human settlements.
North West was recognized for excellence in creating human settlements.

North West was recognised in the categories of best women contractor, enhanced people's housing project and in provincial human settlements department in terms of performance and delivery at the Govan Mbeki Awards held in Johannesburg last week.

Together, the three awards won it the province of the year award as well. The purpose of the Govan Mbeki Awards is to promote and inculcate a culture of excellence in the human settlement sector around the delivery of quality human settlements and dignity to South Africans.

It encourages all stakeholders in the sector to respond systematically and foster the entrenchment of spatial patterns across all geographic scales that exacerbate social inequality and economic inefficiency.

In addressing these patterns, the awards take into account the unique needs and potentials of different rural and urban areas in the context of emerging development corridors in the Southern African sub-region.

The awards were named after Govan Mbeki in 2006 based on the role he played and vision he had on the preservation of human dignity and provision of human settlements for all.

The Best Provincial Human Settlements Department in Performance Delivery Award recognises the department that has fulfilled its plans of ensuring needy households have access to quality accommodation, basic services, and enjoys the security of tenure.

Meeting the target
Judges in this category also look how a programme has improved access to social services and economic opportunities and that qualifying beneficiaries received available financial help.

The province met its set target of 11 000 housing units and built 14 000 units through mixed programmes. It spent the entire conditional grant given to it for building quality houses and also prevented wasteful expenditures.

According to the provincial department's head, Obakeng Mongale, the department now wants to improve its communications around the finance linked individual subsidy programme to ensure more people know about it.

"These three awards should give hope to the homeless and dispel doubt about the commitment of the provincial government to improve the quality of the lives of the people in the province," said Thandi Modise, premier of the North West.

She said the awards represented the legacy of Govan Mbeki and what he stood for and the achievement should spur all departments to overcome service delivery challenges and strive for excellence.

The award for the best woman contractor in the country went to to L&R Welding and Tools Suppliers for housing development projects in Manthe and Tlapeng in Taung, while the best enhanced people's housing project honour went to Tlhabangani Trade Enterprise in recognition of the work completed on the housing development in Welverdien and Ga-Motlatla.

"We commend MEC Nono Maloyi, human settlement stakeholders and all contractors and employees of his department who, through their tireless effort, contributed towards the province delivering more than 14 000 housing units and being declared the best performing province in housing delivery across the country during the previous financial year," says Modise.

The premier said she is confident that the department will use its R1.4-billion allocation for the current financial year to meet its target of building 15 000 new housing units with access to clean water and decent sanitation.

The provincial government has, in line with President Jacob Zuma's commitment in his state of the nation address, allocated R27-million to implement the financial linked individual subsidy programme in Seraleng in the Rustenburg local municipality.

The money allocated for the programme is intended to assist the homeless who earn too much to qualify for low-cost housing and earn too little to qualify for bond stock.

Govan Archibald Mvuyelwa Mbeki (July 9 1910 to August 30 2001)
Govan Mbeki was a scholar, a builder, a teacher, a politician and a leader of the ANC and SA Communist Party, as well as the father of former South African president Thabo Mbeki and economic analyst Moeletsi Mbeki.

His students remember his distinctive, interactive and encouraging style of teaching, using methods that were well ahead of their time. He also built and sustained a tradition of excellent political journalism and theoretical writing.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment in Rivonia Trial by the apartheid government in 1964, along with Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Elias Motsoaledi, Raymond Mhlaba, Andrew Mlangeni, Wilton Mkwayi and Dennis Goldberg.

Mandela paid a moving tribute at the funeral of Mbeki in September 2001 in Port Elizabeth: "I want you to know that (Govan) was one of the truly great sons of Africa and that we can take courage from his life. He was a deep thinker, an aspiring leader, an educator, a fearless revolutionary, and a man who championed the cause of common people of South Africa. Govan Mbeki was one of the great heroes of our liberation struggle. We salute him."