Premier Ace Magashule has expressed satisfaction at the quality of new houses built in QwaQwa by local builders as part of the provincial government’s efforts to improve the delivery of houses and create employment.
Magashule said this when he visited the eastern Free State town on Tuesday to check on the progress made in the building of about 300 houses that are meant to replace old ones that were demolished by the provincial government on April 28.
The provincial government contracted local builders to build 300 houses in the Phamong and Riverside areas of QwaQwa in Maluti-A-Phofung Local Municipality as it seeks to uplift living conditions in one of the poorer areas in the Free State.
Under the programme community members from QwaQwa with skills in building, plumbing and painting were given an opportunity to build the houses instead of established contractors.
“I am very impressed with the progress made and the quality of houses that the people from QwaQwa have built,” said Magashule after inspecting houses at Riverside which lies adjacent to Phamong in QwaQwa.
“I have come here to check on the finished houses so that I can arrange the furniture from different business people around this area so that when we officially hand them to the owners next week they are full furnished,” he added.
The Premier promised the builders more job opportunities saying they had passed their initial test and shown dedication and professionalism when they built the houses.
“There is no need to hire a contractor because we now have our own builders here. Instead of paying large sums of money to contactors to build RDP houses, we can use that money to buy furniture for those houses such as fridges, stoves and beds.
“This is just the beginning. More job opportunities are coming on the way for these people who have shown the commitment. We are going to build more houses in QwaQwa under Operation Hlasela as well as in other parts of the province. I am going to make an announcement on October 7,” the Premier explained.
Operation Hlasela is a special government initiative to deliver services in areas where they are needed much faster by eliminating the usual red tape and bureaucratic delays.
The families that are set to move into the new houses were living in old and dilapidated homes that they have occupied since the days of apartheid.
Besides delivering the houses faster, the new approach is also helping create jobs for people residing in the areas where the developmental projects are taking place.
“The houses that we will build here in future will be built by the people living in this area themselves. Under our massification programmes we want to have local bricklayers, plumbers and all relevant personnel responsible for building the houses from among beneficiaries themselves or locals residing in their area,” he said.
Magashule said the only skills that will be sourced from outside are those that cannot be obtained locally.
In appreciation Robert Mphuthi, 76, who was still full of disbelief that his old dilapidated house which almost collapsed on him had been replaced with a face-brick house with four rooms which include two bedrooms, a lounge and a kitchen as well as a bathroom and a toilet.
“I am over whelmed with joy,” said Mphuthi. “I am speechless. Words cannot explain how happy I am. I can only pray for the premier to live longer …my problems are over. I will no longer worry during the rainy and stormy days that my house might collapse.
I am happy that my family will have privacy as we now have enough bedrooms,” added the elderly man.”