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Tsitsirasitsi residents get Kerridge houses

Twelve houses were handed over to residents of George Kerridge this week with little fan fair yet the excitement of some beneficiaries was evident.

The first 12 of 31 houses, which is a continuation of a 2012 housing project in George Kerridge, were handed over by officials of the Saldanha Bay Municipality on Tuesday.

“It is bad were I am now,” explained Malibongwe Mhlekwa (51). “There is no electricity, no toilet or running water. Now we use candles and cook by flame but I am happy for this house.”

Like many of the beneficiaries Mhlekwa is currently residing in Tsitsirasitsi in a shack.

The handover come just days after residents of Tsitsirasitsi clashed with law enforcement officials last Thursday, when they tried to stake their claim for land in the neighbourhood. The attempted land grab saw residents burn tyres and damage municipal vehicles in the process.

According to council Goodman Sipholi, residents in Tsitsirasitsi are tired of paying rent to live on plots when no water and electricity is being provided.

“They marked out pieces of land, which has already been earmarked by the municipality for housing, to build shacks on.

“No-one is happy to stay in Tsitsirasitsi, the people are there because they have nowhere else to go. The beneficiaries today really appreciate having a home which fills their basic needs,” Sipholi said.

However, some beneficiaries were unhappy to learn that their new homes were not exactly where they may have squatted before on the same land.

One new resident claimed her new home was too far for the plot she occupied before and that she wanted a different house. Many residents were also concerned that they would be liable for outstanding bills for municipal services, but were assured by municipal officials this would not be the case.

Portia Blom (49) said she would be moving into her new home with four other family members. Blom told Weslander she is happy finally to move in after waiting five years for a formal home.

Another resident was gleefully delighted to find her new home had electricity and yelped when officials took her on a tour of her new house.

The next lot of houses is expected to be handed over on Wednesday 16 May. Provincial MEC of housing Bonginkosi Madikizela is expected to be in attendance with other municipal officials including executive mayor Marius Koen.

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