Free State Premier, Ace Magashule, this week demolished two inhabitable houses in the Bloegumbosch location of QwaQwa, and promised to replace them with decent ones that are fit for human habitation.
As part of Free State government’s Operation Hlasela programme aimed at doing away with sub-human structures and substituting them with more dignified houses, about 3 500 houses have been earmarked for demolition in Bloegumbosch this year.
Magashule said only two houses will be rebuilt to give community members a chance to decide whether they like them or want alternative designs.
“We don’t want to destroy bad houses, only to build others that are just as bad. We want to eliminate complaints that your houses are not up to standard. The two houses will serve as a test of the contractors’ competence and capability to build acceptable houses. However, not all houses will be built from scratch, as those with strong structures will only be renovated and extended,” said Magashule.
He said, after the completion of the two houses that were demolished on Wednesday during his Operation Hlasela visit, residents will be called again for feedback.
“This will eradicate complaints about shoddy work, and restore the people’s confidence in the government. The construction of replacement houses is expected to kick off immediately. We also want to assure you that we will speed up the process of building you new houses.”
Magashule, who was accompanied by MEC’s, revealed government’s plans to remove all two-roomed houses when he delivered his state of province address earlier this year. He blamed Cope leader and former Free State premier, Mosioua Lekota, for the continued presence of the dehumanizing houses.
“Some of the major programmes that will continue to unfold during the forthcoming year include the replacement of one-door as well as two-roomed houses. This remains one of the provincial government’s priority projects as part of the rectification programme,” promised Magashule then.
One of the beneficiaries, Hessy Mofokeng, who has been living with her three-year old daughter in a two-roomed house since 2011, could not conceal her excitement at the prospect of owning a bigger and more spacious house.
“I am very happy that two months from now I will be living in a new house. This is proof that our government cares for us and is committed to keeping its promises,” said Mofokeng.
The MEC for cooperate governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) and human settlements, Olly Mlamleli, urged the beneficiaries to take good care of their houses.
“We have had a problem in the past of people being built houses but failing to take care of them. You cannot expect us to build you a house and come back to clean it for you. Most importantly, you cannot rent, sell or even turn this house into some tuck shop or tavern,” said Mlamleli.