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Lufhereng is launched
18 August 2010

Lufhereng will house 24 000 families when complete (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)

Houses were handed to beneficiaries - some of whom had been on the waiting list for 14 years - at the official launch of Lufhereng. A whole new community is being built, with 24 000 mixed income houses, schools, clinics and recreational facilities.

THE largest mixed housing development in Gauteng, Lufhereng in Soweto, has been launched.

Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, minister of human settlements Tokyo Sexwale and executive mayor Amos Masondo at the launch of Lufhereng (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)
Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, minister of human settlements Tokyo Sexwale and executive mayor Amos Masondo at the launch of Lufhereng (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)

Located just west of Dobsonville, Lufhereng was launched on Tuesday, 17 August by Executive Mayor Amos Masondo. Also at the event were his member of the mayoral committee for housing, Ruby Mathang; the minister of human settlements, Tokyo Sexwale; the Gauteng premier, Nomvula Mokonyane; and the MEC for local government and housing, Kgaogelo Lekgoro.

The name Lufhereng is derived from a Venda word and a Sesotho word, "lufhera" and "reng", respectively. The combined word refers to a place where people come together with a united commitment.

Lufhereng was conceived and initiated by the City of Johannesburg and the Gauteng department of local government and housing as a large scale, mixed income, mixed type and mixed tenure housing development. Once complete, it is expected to yield 24 000 houses, with schools, clinics, sports fields and recreational amenities making up a sustainable community.

The project will include a significant component of urban agriculture, through small-scale intensive urban agriculture open-field plots, hydroponic farming units and fish breeding schemes.

In his speech at the launch, Masondo said the Lufhereng Integrated Housing Development fell under the Mixed Housing Development Programme, designed under the auspices of the National Housing Strategy's Breaking New Ground policy, which has been endorsed by the City.

Housing
"In 2008, in anticipation of this project, the Gauteng department of housing and local government erected 40 temporary units for farm workers. To date, 20 families have been moved into temporary units or shelters to make way for this housing development," said Masondo.

Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and executive mayor Amos Masondo hand over a house to a beneficiary
Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and executive mayor Amos Masondo hand over a house to a beneficiary (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg) 
Three categories of communities had been identified for allocation of houses in Lufhereng:

  • The 3 200 Protea South residents;
  • People on the Soweto 1996/97 waiting list; and
  • The Doornkop farming community.

As of 7 August this year, 907 houses had been handed over to beneficiaries, Masondo said.

Sexwale added: "Today is a celebration of the hard work the housing department is doing.

"Although we have a backlog of more than 2,1 million houses, we are addressing the matter. As we speak we have asked for an increase from the R18-billion set aside by the National Treasury."

In the first and second phases, 2 223 freehold stands will be delivered, from which 1 192 have been earmarked for subsidised housing while close to 1 000 units will be turned into RDP houses.

Protest
Although there had been a series of protests regarding housing backlogs, Sexwale urged people to work with the government to make sure there was no corruption in the housing department, by not paying unwarranted amounts of money to get an RDP house.

Masondo also spoke of this, saying: "The demand for housing remains high but we continue to strive for and remain committed to the creation of sustainable human settlements and communities.

75-year-old Nomasiza Mpeqeka in front of her new home
75-year-old Nomasiza Mpeqeka in front of her new home

"I would also like to take this opportunity to call on people of Lufhereng and all the surrounding areas to take ownership of this project."

The premier of Gauteng emphasised the responsibilities of the housing beneficiaries. "People should remember that they have no right to sell the houses given to them," she said. "We are here to build a new community, the community of Lufhereng."

Beneficiaries
Lufhereng's launch coincided with the handover of seven houses to beneficiaries, the oldest being 79 and the youngest being 38. Four of them had been on the housing waiting list for 14 years, while three had been waiting since 2008.

One of them, Itumeleng Malebo, was a former farm labourer on the plot on which Lufhereng is built. "We were given first preference of acquiring homes here so I'm delighted," Malebo said. "I've lived and worked on the farm since 1991 ... I run a small spaza shop from the house so I can earn a living as I'm unemployed."

Another person who was given the keys to her new home, Nomasiza Mpeqeka, a 75-year-old pensioner, has been on the housing waiting list since 1996. "I live with two of my grandchildren and I'm glad that they now have a place they call home. I used to live in a backroom in Meadowlands for years but now I have a place I can call my home," she said.

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Last Updated on 03 September 2010