If Human Settlements MEC, Bonginkosi Madikizela, had his way, elderly people would be prioritised for houses and young people would be trained in artisan skills to make them employable.
This emerged during a ceremony to hand over houses and honour more than 20 emerging contractors in Mfuleni, Bardale.
As part of the department’s housing initiative, 2 000 housing opportunities to the value of R246 million are planned. A total of 1 500 have already been built.
Mr Madikizela praised the contractors for assisting government in delivering the houses.
“I am very passionate about the PHP project. I am happy because the majority of the contractors are from the previously disadvantaged communities.
“I am also happy because these are not just houses, but homes.
“Today we are celebrating three things. We are moving people out of shacks.
We create job opportunities for young people and we are developing and empowering emerging business people,” he said.
He encouraged contractors to hire local people and upskill them. He also urged the youth to train as artisans and stop fighting for houses while elderly people waited in line.
“Young people must get training so that they can get work. There is huge demand for artisans in the country.
“We cannot give houses to young people while we have seniors without house.
“The first come, first served policy should apply even here.
“We are not saying we will not give them houses, but they should not be at the front of the queue,” said Mr Madikizela.
Beneficiary Thenjiwe Njoli said women benefited immensely from the People’s Housing Projects and that many women had to sacrifice their families and time to gain experience in the programme.
“It has not been easy but worth it. When we were approached by the government to say our project has been approved, we welcomed it with open arms. We had to work with experts with great expertise on building.
“We are truly grateful and as women we are today showing a lot of skills,” she said.
Councillor Thembisile Bathembu commended the beneficiaries, adding that it was good to see people benefiting from job creation and skills development.