Hot on the trail of President Jacob Zuma’s door-to-door campaign in Gauteng, the province’s premier, Nomvula Mokonyane, has garnered even more support for the ruling ANC party.
This was after the announcement of the province’s plan to repair houses, windows and asbestos roofs damaged by severe thunderstorms experienced between November 28 and December 1 last year.
Hundreds of residents attended a meeting in Soshanguve, Tshwane, on Sunday. Some had to stand outside the marquee as it was filled to capacity.
MEC for Local Government and Housing Ntombi Mekgwe was first to address the crowd. She assured them that she had witnessed first-hand the havoc the hailstorm had caused.
“We know that in Soshanguve, wards 26, 34, 35, 36, 37 and 88 were the worst hit by the storm and that is why we wanted to start here first,” said Mekgwe.
Mokonyane said the national government and the Gauteng provincial government had decided to help residents whose homes had been affected.
“We felt it important that we deal with this issue, especially because of the health risk that broken asbestos poses. The law states that the use of asbestos is forbidden as it is hazardous. We understand that not everyone can afford a new roof, so with this intervention, we plan on removing all asbestos roofing.”
According to a report tabled by the premier, a total of 44 800 houses had been badly damaged and R100 million would be needed to fix them.
Residents were particularly thrilled when the premier announced that the intervention would also create jobs for the community.
Mokonyane stressed, however, that the jobs were only temporary and the biggest benefit was that members would receive skills training and accreditation that could be used afterwards for possible employment.
Some residents said the project was simply a ploy to get votes.
Peter Mabaso, who feared that their cries would fall on deaf ears after the elections, said: “It has been months and all they did was bring us plastic bags.”