The right to adequate housing is one of the most important basic human rights. It speaks to the restoration of dignity to the millions of South Africans who have been marginalised for centuries and who still suffer from the legacy of the previous government’s selective development.
A housing subsidy is a grant by government to qualifying beneficiaries for housing purposes. One of the Department of Human Settlement areas of responsibility in the delivery of human settlements relates to the bottom-most end of the market, where it provides housing subsidies to the poor. This is where the bulk of the housing backlog exists, affecting mainly those who earn below R3 500 a month.
On 17 February 2017 the premier of Northern Cape Miss Sylvia Lucas was accompanied by top provincial government officials to hand over a house to Mrs. Trooi Koopman (103) in Olifantshoek. The premier said that taking care of the elderly is one of their missions as government to ensure that they are well taken care of. After engaging with councillors in Olifantshoek and Gamagara municipality executives, the premier concluded that there is a need for Mrs. Koopman to be awarded a shelter urgently as her living conditions were not relevant to someone of her age. “It was not an easy task to pull off. I had to personally attract different stake holders to come on board and make them understand the need of erecting this beautiful house for Gogo Koopman. I am grateful it paid off, but this is not the end, we are still going to make sure that we build more houses for our people”, said Miss Lucas. The house is fully furnished and the premier promised to personally engage with the minister of Communication Miss Faith Mthembu to make sure that Gogo is the first person to enjoy the benefits of a set-top box TV system.
Mrs. Koopman has been a resident of Olifantshoek for more than half a century and she had lived with her seven children in uncomfortable living circumstances for so many years. Five of her children have already passed on. Gogo Koopman is currently facing unbearable health conditions, she can not walk, see and her speech can not be clearly heard. Despite her health conditions, Gogo could not hold back her excitement after the news was shared that she will own a new house. “I am very happy about the house. I do not have words to describe my happiness, I can not believe I will now own a new house after so many years of destitute and suffering. I would like to thank government for giving me this wonderful gift I will forever cherish’, said Gogo Koopman.
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