Free State premier Ace Magashule and members of his cabinet yesterday handed over houses to three elderly people in QwaQwa yesterday to celebrate former president Nelson Mandela’s birthday.
South Africa and the world yesterday celebrated Nelson Mandela Day, which also happens to be the birthday of the former statesman who is spending his fifth week at the Pretoria hospital. As the world celebrated his birthday, Zuma and Mandela’s daughter, Zindzi, brought relief to millions of anxious South Africans when they announced that Madiba, who is battling a recurring lung infection, was making a remarkable recovery.
The world revered septuagenarian received goodwill messages from international leaders such as US president Barrack Obama, European Union president, José Manuel Barroso, and eminent South Africans including emeritus archbishop Desmond Tutu, president Jacob Zuma as well as former South African presidents FW De Klerk and Thabo Mbeki. South Africans from all walks of life also went out to spend 67 minutes reaching out to the less fortunate to fulfil Madiba’s wish on how his birthday and legacy must be honoured.
Magashule said the Free State government chose to celebrate Mandela’s birthday by reaching out to the less fortunate people of QwaQwa, which is one of the poorest districts in the province. The premier said helping the poor is in line with Madiba’s life-long commitment to social justice.
He hailed Madiba as a unifier, peacemaker and advocate of reconciliation and social justice. According to Magashule, South Africa owes the former president a great deal of gratitude for the peace and stability the once volatile country is enjoying today.
He said Mandela continues to inspire government of today to work harder to eradicate poverty and create jobs.
Improving service delivery in QwaQwa, said Magashule, is a fitting tribute to Madiba.
“The people of QwaQwa are loyal and appreciate what the government does for them. Despite their known challenges they have continued to support the ruling party by voting for it.We are aware of the escalating poverty and challenge of housing here and we have decided to place more focus on this area.
“We are already working on the issue of incomplete houses that were left behind by dodgy contractors. Contractors have already been appointed to complete the incomplete house and we will get a full report on the progress made from the MEC for human settlements and housing by September,” said Magashule.
He said in September the provincial government will start building a new model bigger and better RDP houses for the people of QwaQwa.
“We have already started building houses in Bluegumbuorsh to ensure that our people have decent houses that meet their needs.”
Handing over a fully furnished house to Paulina Maditaba Mphuthi, Magashule said: “I have come back here to deliver on my promise.On my previous visit in May, you asked me to build you a house; so today I am giving you that house. It has been built through the contribution of Group Two contractors while local businesspeoplebought the furniture for your house.”
The mayor of Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality, Sarah Moleleki said the municipality continuously identifies very poor families and ask for the intervention of the provincial government when it does not have adequate resources to assist them.
Mphuthi, who received a five roomed house from the premier, was overjoyed.
“Words cannot describe my appreciation for what the government has done for me. I have spent most of my years living in a shack and I was on the verge of losing hope that I would ever get a decent home.
“I want to thank premier Ace Magashule and the provincial government for demonstrating that they still care for the poor. I wish Tata Madiba a happy birthday and thank him for fighting for a free and democratic South Africa where we are now enjoying the fruits of the freedom, that he collectively, with other ANC leaders fought so hard for.”
Nelson Mandela Day, June 18, has been designated by the United Nations and is celebrated worldwide every year to pay tribute to South Africa’s first democratically elected president.