Amsterdam - There were cheers of excitement in Amsterdam, in Mpumalanga on Wednesday as Deputy President David Mabuza met senior citizens as part of annual Mandela Day commemorations, handing over food, blankets, clothing and houses.
"I never imagined that I would ever stay in these houses of white people in my life. It is God who has rescued me today. I do not know what to say," said Mbuso Khumalo after his new, fully-furnished house was officially handed over by Mabuza.
"Life has been difficult but now I have all. I just have words of gratitude."
Mabuza handed over Khumalo's house shortly after spending time with hundreds of aged Amsterdam residents. Khumalo was one of the seven new homeowners visited by Mabuza.
Around 300 houses have been constructed in partnership with a commercial bank. Mabuza said he had secured partnerships with companies to provide furniture for the houses.
The deputy president, who is former Premier of the Mpumalanga province, implored the elderly to respect young people's right to education.
"I do not want to hear that our young people are spending their days herding cattle, instead of being in school. Do not compromise their future. You, the elderly, should be herding your cattle," said Mabuza.
He handed out large slices of cake to the elderly. Clothing items were also handed out.
Earlier, Mabuza appealed to the community of Amsterdam, near Piet Retief, to avoid destroying public infrastructure in a bid to express dissatisfaction with service delivery.
"My message to you is that, if things are not moving as we wish, at any time, it does not mean we should destroy what we already have. When parents are angry that there is no water [supply] in the township, let us not come and burn the schools," Mabuza said during his address to schoolchildren and community members at the Nganana Secondary School.
"There is a clinic around here, and I've seen it. If you are angry about anything, just communicate so that we solve it. Do not burn that clinic."
Mabuza, who hails from Mpumalanga, told the students that despite coming from impoverished communities, they too can succeed in life.
"You must behave well. Learners should not do stuff for adults. Your chance to marry and be married will come - and you will even evade those marriages. It's not easy in marriage. Do not rush it, I know of other young people trying to leave their marriages," said Mabuza.
"I am grateful that this school that we fought so hard to build back then, with your parents has been doing very well."
The deputy president, accompanied by senior Mpumalanga government officials including Premier Refilwe Mtshweni, recounted how he was Education MEC in the province when the Nganana Secondary School was built.
He said some of the students from the school "passed with distinction".
Mabuza donated sanitary pads, laptops, school uniforms and sports kits to students at the Nganana Secondary School.
African News Agency (ANA)