Lenasia project brings dignity: Zuma
A project to bring basic necessities to Kenana Park, near Lenasia, will give dignity to its residents, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.
"There is going to be electricity [in the informal settlement] it is all there, planned [for the project]. So there is going to be no difficulties," he said.
"I was counting the parks, [and seeing] the electrification of streets, so everything is coming. I like this thing... you know, it brings dignity."
Zuma was speaking to more than a thousand residents after nearly 200 RDP houses were handed over as part of the project.
After his address, Zuma fielded queries about the project from several elderly residents.
One began crying as she recounted how lonely she felt, staying alone in her shack, while another praised him for the project before shouting, "I love you".
Zuma was accompanied on stage by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane, Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters, Human Settlements Deputy Minister Zoe Kota-Fredericks, and Gauteng Housing MEC Ntombi Mekgwe.
Mokonyane told residents the project cost R58 million, excluding the costs of constructing new roads.
"With the entire road development, you [residents] would have benefited not less than R120 million from this government."
She said the project would also train local youth, so that when it concluded, they would have sufficient skills to provide for their families.
"I'm pleading with the youth... start with the real thing [jobs] and you will not need an RDP house -- you can get a better property," Mokonyane said.
"I am saying that there are low-lying hanging fruits in what government is doing here, and we already doing these things in the province and in this city. We [just] want to give your parents a home for you."
She said the residents' properties extended beyond their RDP houses.
"We also made a commitment to fence the yards. You own the houses, but you also own the space you are in -- you must look after it."
Zuma handed over the newly-built RDP houses to residents on Friday morning.
He cut the ribbons on several houses before giving the elderly occupants a personal tour of their new homes.
Zuma then helped plant a small tree in one of the yards when he threw sand around the tree's roots with a gold spray-painted spade.
The handover was the first stage of a larger rollout of basic services to Kanana Park residents.
Before Zuma's address, more than a thousand residents filed into a white marquee in the middle of the newly developed houses and sang in favour of "Msholozi" -- Zuma's clan name.
The president visited the region in 2010. Following the visit, the province and the City of Johannesburg began developing the Kanana Park housing project.
It would also incorporate the settlements of Thulamntwana, Sweetwaters, and two smaller informal settlements of Doornkuil and Bhekaphambili.
A total of 3101 houses are being built, 1793 of which are government subsidised housing units, 756 social-rental units, and 552 bonded units.
In addition to the houses, several education initiatives, parks, a clinic, and commercial and light industrial sites were being planned for the area.