“This was once an area full of shacks, there was not a single house,” said Zuma. “People here lived in conditions of squalor, making them susceptible to hazards such as floods and fires.”
“The situation has changed and we are 6,000 units short of our 20 000 target, an outstanding achievement considering all the challenges.”
The most recently built unit of the 14,000 units erected in Langa’s Joe Slovo settlement, a project which began in 2004, was visited by the president on Thursday morning. Zuma said the newest housing units, which almost bordered the N2 highway, changed the image of Cape Town for those entering the city from the airport.
“When you drive from the airport now you see these beautiful new houses blended in with KwaLanga,” he said.
Further “blending” – a complete integration of Cape Town – was on Zuma’s wishlist.
“We want to eliminate the artificial, racial boundaries created by apartheid and I hope that this will be a completely integrated city which instills pride in all its residents.”
Discussing integration, the Western Cape’s Minister for Human Settlements Bonginkosi Madikizela said the N2 Gateway Project integrated neighbourhoods along the highway.
“There are four areas integrated along the highway which are Joe Slovo, Delft, Boystown, and New Rest,” said Madikizela.
This meant that integration did not entail, for example, bringing members of one race group into a community of another race.
But community activist Vusi Mandindi, of the Sivukile Sonele community organisation, higlighted the lack of integration in Langa.
“The housing project is the source of the conflict you see here today,” referring to a split between residents celebrating the project and those disgruntled with the process.
“There is no integration here. This housing project is dividing us,” he said, “it is causing apartheid in Langa.”
Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane, who acted as master of ceremonies, responded to Mandindi, Sivukile Sonele, and their supporters.
“Let us celebrate with those who have benefitted, for today is better than yesterday,” she said.
“And for you, tomorrow will be better than today.”