Some beneficiaries of the Marikana Housing Project have thanked government for making them proud home owners after years living in shacks.
There have been mixed reactions to government handing over houses in the mining township of Marikana, North West, while recipients were elated others have cried foul.
President Jacob Zuma announced the Presidential housing project after the 2012 shooting that left 34 mineworkers dead. Tension further heightened in the township when residents heard President Jacob Zuma will no longer be handing over the houses.
Zuma was expected to hand over the RDP and rental stock houses. It would have been his second visit to the township since the Marikana tragedy. But his visit was cancelled at the last hour with no reasons given.
The cancellation comes amidst claims of corruption in the handing out of these government-built houses and simmering tension. Some residents who are mostly Lonmin mineworkers raised their concerns and demanded to meet with government officials.
Marikana resident Samuel Xaba complained of favouritism, Xaba says: ''My problem is that I am not satisfied that they want to allocate houses. It's like they are doing favours to some people. There are more people that are suffering here. You can see that one parent is staying with seven children in a shack but he or she can't qualify to get a house. But there is someone with one child, but do not get a house.''
Themba Ndabeni is also a resident in Marikana, and accuses government of not consulting them.'' I am really concerned about what is happening here. We really don't know what is happening we only see people moving around, we hear that Zuma is coming whereas we don't know as Marikana residents. So I am really concern about that. I have also staying at a shack for four years in fact is five years”, says Ndabeni.
North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo says they will engage all residents who are unhappy with the housing allocations.
''People in SA have the rights to express themselves in whatever manner as long as they stick to the dictates of the Constitution; and they don't trample on other people's rights. People are free to do anything, we are their leaders if they want to listen to us we can listen to them. We are servants of the people that is why we did not delegate we have come here ourselves.''
But beneficiaries of the new houses could not hide their excitement when they received the keys to their new houses. A 75 year old farmworker who was left with nothing by her employers, Dorah Diremelo thanked government.
''I am very happy to have this house and very pleased at the government to help me. I was born here and my employers are gone and have left me in the farm with no electricity and no water. I am very happy today I don't know what to do.''
Mahumapelo says Phase 1 of the Marikana Project consists of 544 units which are near completion. These include 252 RDP houses and 292 rental stock.
On Wednesday only four houses were given to pensioners and disabled people, with the rest left to the municipality to hand over. Many miners opted for rental stock as some of them have houses back home.
Click below for full interview.