- A 66 year-old man in a wheelchair receives a new home from Cape Town’s housing development project, Breaking New Ground
- The family of three has been living in a backyard shack for five years
- The housing development seeks to build 555 houses to assist residents
Emotions ran high as 66 year-old, Victor Banjatwa, his wife and grandson moved into their new home in The Downs in Manenberg on Tuesday morning.
"I never thought that I would live to see the day when I will have my own house," Banjatwa said.
The grandfather is in a wheelchair, and the Breaking New Ground house is a blessing for the family. They have been living in a backyard shack for the last five years.
Briefly.co.za found out that the family's new home has been specially adapted for the grandfather who struggled in their previous house as the wheelchair could not fit through the door without help. The shack was also too small for any furniture.
"I was so excited last night that I could not sleep. I cannot thank the city enough for my new house. I am at peace now, knowing that we will be okay," Banjatwa said.
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Councillor Siyabulela Mamkeli, and officials from the Transport and Urban Development Authority assisted the Banjatwa family with the move. Mamkeli is a member of the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee for Area Central.
"I felt immense pride and happiness this morning when I took Mr Banjatwa to his new house that we have adapted to suit his special needs. This is one example of how the city is changing people's lives for the better," Mamkeli told News24.
The family is just one of 84 who have moved into new BNG houses over the last few days. Last year, around 62 households moved in, Mamkeli said.
The families that moved in this year were waiting for the electricity to be turned on before moving. The houses were given power on 16 December.
The Downs project is spread out over five sites in Manenberg. Once completed, it will consist of 555 houses. Currently, the city has completed 146 homes.
Councillor Brett Heron, the city’s mayoral committee member for Transport and Urban Development says the project amounted to R77m.
"The Downs housing project is a clear example of our intention to develop new housing opportunities on well-located land where lower-income families have easy access to public transport," Herron said.
In 2016, the city developed the transit-oriented development (TOD), a strategy used to ensure that developments such as housing take place in areas where residents have easy access to economic opportunities.
TOD aims to cut down on the time and cost of accessing transport, by building developments closer to work and public transport costs.
The excitement of the Banjatwa family is evidence that the project is making a big difference in people’s lives.
“We are celebrating this momentous occasion with these families, the majority of whom are from Manenberg. They are now entering a new chapter in their lives. Here they can be at peace and share joyful moments with their loved ones,” Mamkeli said.
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