The first occupants of the N2 Gateway housing project quietly moved into their homes, almost two months after the first keys were handed over by Minister of Housing Lindiwe Sisulu.

The minister handed over the keys to the homes of the first five beneficiaries in July but they couldn't move in because the process had been held up by a lengthy screening of the city's huge waiting list. The screening is being done by the city, the province and a national housing support institution, Thubelisha Homes.

A handful of families moved into their new homes last week.

Vusi Tshose, spokesperson for Housing MEC Richard Dyantyi, said the families had moved in with the permission of the authorities.

Some had been on the waiting list since the early 90s. Out of about 7 000 applicants, only 705 families will secure a place in the complex, which is part of phase 1.

Qualifying beneficiaries had to attend workshops that encouraged responsibility in looking after their new homes. The would-be occupants need to attend at least three workshops before Thubelisha Homes hands over the keys.

Each of the one, two, and three-bedroomed rental-stock units has prepaid electricity, a kitchen sink, a shower, toilet, washbasin and geyser. The flats' back doors open on to a communal courtyard.

Street lights have been provided and trees have been planted along the streets. A playing park for children is also inside the premises.

One of the people who has moved in is Nonise Mayile, 31, who lives with her husband Patrick and two children Lutho and Inga. The family moved into their new home on Saturday. They had stayed in Kwezi Hostel in Langa for 10 years.

Mayile said she was relieved to get her own flat, one she would not share with other families: "Here it's nice and quiet. I was starting to get frustrated with hostel life. At hostel there's no privacy at all.

"You stay in one hall with a whole lot of different families. People there just do what they like."

She said the hostel was filthy and overcrowded.

"Here we have our own bathroom... even though the flat is small, but at least we have our own clean private space," she said.

Sixty-year-old Andile Nkosi and his wife Sina were staying in his parents' home in Gugulethu before they moved into their N2 Gateway home early last week.

He is happy with his new life. He will be paying R500 rental a month and an extra R100 for service fees.

"There are still very few of us here... we don't know each other yet, but I think I like it. It's very quiet... police and security officers are patrolling the complex, making it very secure," he said.

Bukeka Giyana, who stays with a family of five, including her mother and daughter Nelisa, said the family had to attend at least three workshops before they got the key for their one-bedroomed flat.

"The workshops were basically to explain how things will work out, how we are going to pay rent, check credit records , and how to look after the property," she said.

The family had been on the waiting list since 1993.

"We are happy about the new home... it's a bit small, but at least we are not at somebody else's backyard. There's a bit of privacy because we stay on our own as a family," she said.

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