“This is an exceptional case because it will be the first time that we assist in the Northern Cape Province”
SIX HOUSES will be built for the 42 Colville residents currently crammed into one house. The existing overcrowded house will be renovated.
This pledge was made by a Venda-based company, AfriBiz Investments, which partnered with its corporate social investment foundation, the Collen Mashawana Foundation.
A delegation from the company landed in Kimberley on Thursday last week to meet with what they thought was a single family, but it was discovered that there are in fact seven families living in the cramped four-room house in Epsilon Street.
Each family will now get a house while the existing house will be renovated for the seventh family to remain in.
The company, which has been in existence for 15 years, saw an article in the DFA and contacted the newspaper for more details on how it could intervene.
The house was visited by President Cyril Ramaphosa during a door-to-door campaign as part of the ANC 108th anniversary celebrations earlier this month.
“This is an exceptional case because it will be the first time that we assist in the Northern Cape Province,” said Afribiz investments director Bertam Michell.
According to Michell they have been assisting vulnerable families in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape over the past three years.
He said that the company manages to change lives by sourcing donations from other private companies.
Michell elaborated that they started off building 10 houses for the vulnerable, then increased to 50 houses. They now hope to stretch further and build 100 houses as they have extended operations to the remaining three provinces – the Northern Cape, Free State and the North West.
“The more funding we get the more houses we manage to build. Our focus is on the elderly, disabled and child-headed households.”
Michell added that they usually make contact with the local government and municipality in order to ensure that they adhere to the correct building criteria.
“We usually stick to the 40 square metres as compared to the previous 60 square metres that we used to build for the elderly as special cases.”
The company builds the houses, while other parties and individuals step in to donate furniture.
It cannot be confirmed at this stage whether the Sol Plaatje Municipality has availed land or plots for the houses to be built on as attempts to get comment failed.
Municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie, the spokesperson for the Office of the Premier, Bronwyn Thomas-Abrahams, and ANC provincial spokesperson Naledi Gaosekwe all referred media enquiries to the Office of the Mayor. The spokesperson of the Mayor’s Office, Persome Oliphant, said they did not currently have any details.
The only comment came from ANC councillor Shaine Griqua, who said yesterday that Northern Cape Premier Zamani Saul had promised that there was serviced land available in the Sol Plaatje municipal area that could be allocated for the project.
“We really appreciate this gesture by the company … for it to travel so far just to change our lives. This gesture will help to curb the housing challenges in the Colville area as we have not experienced any development in the last 20 years,” said Griqua.
According to Griqua, this is not the only case where 20 to 50 people live in a four-room house.
“In such incidents, some of the family members sleep under a tree in the yard, on verandas and in abandoned cars. I have always been raising it on different platforms, even before I became an ANC councillor.
Griqua stated further that “we can proudly say that we benefited from the ANC 108th anniversary celebrations and we thank the party for accommodating us in the programme. The door-to-door visit by the president allowed him to get first-hand experience of the negligence with regard to our social issues.
“We hope to ensure that there are changes taking place in that area when he returns before the end of this year … as promised.”