Now whites move into RDP houses

26 August 2011 - 02:23 By SIBONGILE MASHABA

Poor white families have been warmly received by their black neighbours at a new RDP housing complex in Gauteng's West Rand.

For many years, Koekie Beukes and her late husband Carl dreamed of owning a house. Yesterday, 57-year-old Beukes' dream came true as she moved into her new home at Chief Mogale Gardens amid opposition from the local people's civic organisation.

So far, 15 white families have moved into the area.

Nomali Mofokeng, 71, believes the government did well to integrate blacks and whites.

"[Former president Nelson] Mandela said we should unite and that is what is happening. They are people as well. We should forget about the past and move on. We have to become one nation," she said.

Another resident, Lydia Ramosiga, 58, agreed.

"We are happy about the move and have welcomed them. They even come for a visit. They are friendly people," she said.

Beukes, a mother of six, has never had a house of her own.

"My husband passed away two months ago. If only he had lived longer to see our new home," Beukes said.

She shares the four-and-a-half-roomed RDP house with two of her six children. She had been on the waiting list for 10 years.

"When I was given the keys to my new home, I couldn't hold back my tears," she said.

"Though there is no electricity here, I'm happy I have a proper roof over my head."

Johanna Putler, 55, lives with her husband Christo, 34.

"We are happier here. We have been promised we will have electricity soon. They are very nice to us," she said.

Six-year-old Michael Pitzar also seems happy. He always smiles and cannot sit still.

"I am happy here. I have made friends and they come to my house and we play," he said.

He shares the RDP house with his mother, Engie, father Mark and two siblings.

The People's Civic Organisation's general secretary, Luyanda Njomane, said: "It's not that we don't want white people; we just want proof that they have been on the waiting list for years like the rest of us. We don't believe proper procedure was followed here."