Durban - Prospective voters - bused in by their thousands to the official handover of the multibillion rand Cornubia housing scheme north of Durban on Sunday - were urged by senior government officials to vote for the ANC in next month’s general elections.
Some ANC politicians used the event, which was attended by about 10 000 people, including President Jacob Zuma, to fire shots at their political opponents and gloat about government projects.
Premier Senzo Mchunu, who received cheers from the crowd gathered in a 70m marquee, urged them to vote for “what you see”. He said they should vote for the party that had built roads, clinics, hospitals and schools, and that had provided electricity and housing such as at Cornubia.
Attendees were treated to a meal on arrival - a bag with two hot dog rolls, a piece of boiled chicken, an apple and fruit juice.
They were entertained with music, including the kwaito hit single Y-tjukutja by Uhuru - remixed to promote the ANC in the coming elections.
There was also time for a bikers motorcade outside the marquee. The bikers were wearing ANC leather jackets.
Co-operative Governance MEC Nomusa Dube-Mncube, who was the MC, told the story of inkatha - a head ring used by women to carry water on their heads.
In what could be construed as a jibe directed at the IFP, she said that the ANC government had got rid of inkatha and had provided running water for millions of people in South Africa.
Helping to hand over the first batch of 480 homes to residents, Zuma said that there was much more to come.
He said that 15 000 of the total of 28 000 homes would be for low-income earners, and that schools, clinics and public transport, including the planned Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system, would be introduced in the area.
The BRT would connect Cornubia to Phoenix, King Shaka International Airport and uMhlanga.
Zuma said that 100 hectares of land had been set aside for office space, shopping malls and industry.
Mike Deighton, managing director of project partner, Tongaat Hulett, said construction firms were already developing land after buying sites for factories, and that a R2 billion deal had been sealed last week for a new shopping centre.
Cornubia residents would undergo skills assessment to ensure they there were employable, Zuma added. He urged them not to be complacent and to find work, to avoid ending up stealing from each other.
Some of the recipients of Cornubia, in Ottawa, near Phoenix, have been on the housing waiting list more than 15 years and were either living in shacks, overcrowded homes or renting.
“When we handed over the houses today to the beneficiaries, we said all the people that live here, we have to know them, we need to know that this person is skilled in this, this person is skilled at that, so that we can assist them in finding work,” Zuma said.
“In other words, when you get your house, you must not just be complacent and unemployed here, everybody must work so that these homes can remain in a clean and healthy condition.”
Human Settlements and Public Works MEC, Ravi Pillay, who charmed the crowd with a few Zulu phrases, warned the recipients of the houses: “Do not sell, do not rent; it will come back to bite you. Take care of the houses.”