Collen Mashawana Foundation to build new homes for Colville family
REPRESENTATIVES from the Collen Mashawana Foundation and AfriBiz Investments on Wednesday visited the Colville family that is living in extremely overcrowded conditions, to reaffirm their commitment to building them six new houses in Herlear.
President Cyril Ramaphosa had urged Sol Plaatje Municipality to do something about the living conditions of the family - where over 40 family members were crammed into a three-roomed dwelling - when he visited the family during the ANC’s 108th anniversary celebrations in Kimberley last year.
The large extended family - made up of the Seekoei, Jacobs and Kok families and consisting of great grandparents, grandparents, siblings, grandchildren and great grandchildren - was promised new homes by Easter last year after the Collen Mashawana Foundation agreed to sponsor the construction of six new houses.
Progress was delayed when the DA applied for an interdict to halt construction in March 2020, after a site had been identified for the six houses behind the SAPS flats in Herlear.
The DA maintained that the land had already been allocated to another private housing developer and added that residents in the area feared that the value of their properties would decrease.
Northern Cape High Court Judge Mpho Mamosebo in January ordered that the suffering of the families could not be prolonged and that construction should proceed.
The family has since grown to 50 members following the birth of the youngest family member about a month ago, while another baby is expected to be born later this year.
“We are one big happy family and we never fight. We will remain close-knit even if we move apart,” the family members said on Wednesday.
The family has decided that one of the grandmothers will remain in the Colville home while the rest of the families will move into the new houses.
Family member Brenda Seekoei was confident that their dreams of becoming homeowners would become a reality, despite a number of setbacks.
“We have waited very long but are hopeful that this time it will materialise. Especially in these times of Covid-19 it is not conducive to live on top of each other and it is impossible to wear a mask 24 hours of the day,” said Seekoei.
The managing director of AfriBiz Investments, Gugulethu Mmoledi, said that they would also renovate the present family home in Colville.
“Now that the court process has been finalised, we want to get construction going as quickly as possible to assist the family. All the funding is in place,” said Mmoledi.
She added that a contractor had not been appointed yet to continue with the construction of the houses.
PR councillor Shaine Griqua said that they would look into the option of temporarily accommodating the family at the municipal flats while the renovations on the house in Colville were under way.
He added that the land issue had been resolved. “The most suitable piece of land identified is Herlear as it is readily available and serviced.”
Griqua pointed out that there was a dire need for houses and social relief programmes in Colville and Floors.
“This family is one of about 20 who are forced to live in overcrowded conditions. In one of the households in the area, family members are forced to sleep in the car. We have three generations being housed under one roof. Land must be availed for young people to house their families in their own homes.”