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Mayor hands families keys to new homes in Lufhereng

Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Parks Tau unveiled the second phase of the Lufhereng Integrated Housing Development, west of Soweto, on Wednesday July 27 when he handed over house keys to five of the 120 families earmarked for resettlement from informal settlements in Protea South and other parts of Soweto.

In total 38 keys were handed out.

The families, who were on the City’s 96/97 housing waiting list, were overjoyed and thanked Mayor Tau and the Mayoral Committee for restoring their dignity and changing their lives for the better. Another 30 families, resettled in Lufhereng in the first phase in 2012, received their title deeds.

It was a dream come true for the new homeowners, some of whom said they had almost lost hope after years of renting and living in back yard rooms.

The Mayor also officially opened the R260-million Lufhereng Substation, which will also service the nearby Slovoville. Tau was accompanied by Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Kebby Maphatsoe, MMCs Dan Bovu (Housing) and Matshidiso Mfikoe (Environment and Infrastructure Service), Council Speaker Connie Bapela, Section 79 Housing Committee Chairperson Jackie Lekgetho and City Manager Trevor Fowler.

The R690-million Lufhereng mixed-use integrated housing development represents a radical shift in the City’s housing delivery as articulated in the government’s “Breaking New Ground” policy.  It is aimed at physically, economically and socially integrating the development with the rest of Soweto. On completion in 2023, it will have 22 850 houses – 8 960 subsidised units, 7 722 bonded homes and 6150 high-density apartments.

Already 1 832 units have been allocated. Schools, clinics and other amenities form part of the development.

The Mayor described Lufhereng, the largest mixed-use integrated housing development in Gauteng, as a step towards the transformation of the City’s discriminatory apartheid spatial legacies”.

“Through policy and the City’s spatial redesign programme, the Corridors of Freedom, we seek to redress these spatial injustices and stimulate a more varied housing market that meets the needs of the people of Johannesburg,” he said.

Last year, the City’s Housing Department verified the details of 9 154 beneficiaries on the 96/97 housing waiting list in 45 wards. The mayor said this housing backlog would be cleared in three years.

MMC Bovu said from August, these beneficiaries would start receiving SMSes informing them when construction of their homes would start. He said they should not lose hope as they would be allocated homes as soon as they were completed.

Gogo Nonhlanhla Mayekiso, 88, broke into song when Cllr Tau handed her the keys to her new home, which she will share with four grandchildren. She applied for an RDP house on 17 February 1996.

“Hallelujah, ngiyabonga nkosi. Now I can die in my own home. I’ve been renting for too long and had almost given up hope,” she said with a big smile.

Her neighbour, Kate Malitaba Sithole, 79, danced with joy. The mother of eight had worked as a domestic all her life and had lived in Snake Park since 1996. She said she was honoured to finally have a home of her own. Smangele, her granddaughter, was equally thrilled.

Each home has two beds, a stove, solar geyser and coffee table.

Martha Lubisi moved to Lufhereng in 2012. She was overjoyed to receive her title deed. So were Noxolo Mpanza, 63, and Obakeng Gaaname, 63. Mpanza, who could not stop smiling, praised the City for finally delivering on its promise.

“This is the best gift ever for me and my grandchildren,” she said with tears of joy welling up.