Two mayors play Santa and give away homes

Mzi Khumalo, Rand West City Local Municipality Executive Mayor handing 83-year-old Masefako Mabe's house keys to her after she has been hoping for a new home for over 50 years. Photo: Submitted

The Executive Mayors of the Rand West and West Rand District Municipalities, Mzi Khumalo and Boyce Maneli made 30 Christmas wishes come true – after over 50 years of waiting.

The pair made 82-year-old Masefako Mabe’s dream of owning a house a reality when they handed her the keys to her new home in Mohlakeng on Friday, 9 December. Mabe was one of 30 beneficiaries who received a new home shortly before Christmas.

“Honestly, I have given up hope of owning a house. I was stuck in that house I shared with another family,” Mabe said.

Another recipient of a home was Francinah Marebate, 78, who said she has always believed in the late Nelson Mandela’s promise that a home for everyone will someday be a reality.

“Now that the government has fulfilled its promise of a free house, I promise that I will look after it,” Marebate said.

She also had a message for those still waiting for houses and said they should be patient as she is certain one day they will have their chance.

Both elderly women were living in what the two municipalities call inhumane conditions without dignity as a result of the apartheid government’s spatial planning housing where “families were made to share a four-room house in a single yard in Mohlakeng in 1966,” Lucky Chiya, RWCLM spokesperson said.

“Although at the time it was said to be a temporary measure, 50 years down the line the situation has not changed,” he added.

Maneli, a member of the ANC, said they are committed to bringing back the dignity of South Africans through providing houses to the impoverished.

He emphasised that this is a commitment in honour of Mandela and urged beneficiaries to accept their houses even if they are not built in their current residential areas.

Maneli further warned recipients not to sell their homes as it is has been a problem within the West Rand.

The homes allocated on Friday are among the promised 120 houses. The other are still under construction and will be allocated once completed.

“More people are going to benefit from the project,” he said.

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Roxy de Villiers

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