A Gugulethu family was all smiles on Friday January 20, as efforts to re-build their gutted home got under way.
The Mfobela family, from NY112, had been living with relatives since their house mysteriously burnt down on Friday December 16, destroying everything. The plan was spearheaded by Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Mcebisi Skwatsha, originally from Gugulethu.
During a visit to the house on Friday, he made it clear that the work would not be carried out with his departmental budget, but would be done by a number of independent suppliers and contractors. An emotional Lindelwa Mfobela, struggled to fight back tears as Mr Skwatsha outlined the plan of action. He was accompanied by representatives of the various companies as well as member of Parliament, Mandisa Matshoba, and South African Ambassodor to Kenya, Kholeka Mqulwana.
Ms Mfobela said the house belonged to the family and usually every Christmas relatives gathered there. On the day of the incident, she said, she had just arrived, and had left the car idling in the garage. Suddenly there were flames which quickly spread through the house, destroying everything the family owned. They are currently staying with relatives in Hazeldene.
“It was around 7pm when everything happened. I was busy inside when I saw smoke coming out of the garage. I tried to check where exactly it was coming from. I even opened the car to see if there was any problem with it but nothing. When I called one neighbour who know cars, he saw nothing wrong. Suddenly there was fire,” she explained. Ms Mfobela said a friend suggested that she speak to Mr Skwatsha after the City of Cape Town said they could not assist her. “I was scared but I made a call and he responded positively. Today I am overwhelmed. I am so happy that I just cannot express my gratitude to all those who came to help. They came to rescue our home. If this is a dream, I beg not to wake up. God is great. My life is back,” she said holding back the tears.
Mr Skwatsha said he would be failing Gugulethu’s fallen struggle heroes had he not intervened. He also reminded councillors and MPs to remember that they were elected to serve the community and not their own interests.
Mr Skwatsha said he was in Pretoria when he was informed of the damage, but was so touched when he arrived in Cape Town to see the damage. “ After that I called my best friend Sgantsontso (Neil De Beer) for assistance. He did not hesitate to promise (his assistance),” he said. Mr Skwatsha said he was happy that something would be done, but he would be happier when the structure was complete. He said the coming together of companies to build the house was an example of companies ploughing back to the community. He said politicians and all those who represent people should bring hope to people. “I want to say to councillors, church leaders, parliamentarians that are here today, the only reason we are elected to lead is to serve the poor. Anything else is a bonus. When people see us they see hope. We dare not disappoint them. I am happy to have brought these people here,” he warned. He called on people to play a role in making progress where they live.
Mr De Beer of the Nedebe Foundation said he was happy to be part of the rebuilding process of the house. “Today we are showing what Ubuntu is. We are showing what masakhane is. The government cannot do everything, so people must rise. Brick by brick we will build this house. This is not the last house we will build. If the local government does not care for people, we will do it ourselves,” he said.