New Homes for Alex Residents as Bulldozers Move In
The Alex housing village project finally comes to fruition today. Established in response to the continuous floods on the Jukskei River and the concomitant loss of property and life a pro-active project in disaster response was urgently required to prevent the repetitive loss of valuable resources. It's the same issue year in and year out; people live on the banks of the river, the floods come, people receive corrugated sheeting, food parcels and blankets - clearly an exercise in futility.
Gift of the Givers, in honor of Mandela Day, obtained land from the Johannesburg City Council and decided to relocate 71 of the most vulnerable families in what was called "Project Higher Ground". Generously supported by Vodacom, ABSA, SA Post Office, Spectron, Air Liquid and the Zulekha Mayat Charity Trust the 7 million rand development commenced on a land less than 500m from the existing houses but on much higher ground. Full co-operation and participation from the city council was forthcoming at every level including grading of the land, removal of rubble and joint selection with community leaders as to the choice of worthy recipients. The aim was not merely to establish a house but a whole housing village with the use of fire resistant building material, the establishment of ablution blocks including flush toilets and showers, gas equipped kitchens with full safety measures, vegetable garden, child play park, solar panels, paved driveways, fencing and security. Internally, beds, linen, furniture, food parcels and hygiene packs were provided. There was absolute jubilation and yet quite dignity as the first 35 families took occupation two weeks ago. Today the balance of 36 families move in a controlled manner. The families remove their belongings, the bulldozers destroy the existing house to prevent re-occupation in a high risk area, and are then transported to their new "state of the art" housing village.
This is Gift of the Givers third housing development; Duduza in 2011, Khayelitsha in 2013 and now Alex.