Vulnerable people at the centre of service delivery

The Deputy Ministers of Human Settlements and Arts and Culture have joined forces to restore the dignity and pride of Witterwater, a small town in the Bergrivier Local Municipality in the Western Cape. The place is known for its thatched houses with a heritage dating back to the 1857 when the German Moravian Missionaries settled here.

The visit is as a result of an intervention ordered by the Deputy Minister of Human Settlements; Zou Kota-Fredericks after the plight of this community was brought to her attention. A number of destitute families living in dilapidated houses not fit for human habitation were recognized and 6 have been identified and are prioritized for restoration and rehabilitation.

To fast track and ensure that this project becomes a success, Deputy Minister Kota-Fredericks roped in her counterpart in the Ministry of Arts and Culture, Rejoice Thizwilondi Mabudafhasi who was accompanied by officials from the South African Heritage Resource Agency, a statutory organization established under the National Heritage Resources Act, No 25 of 1999, as the national administrative body responsible for the protection of South Africa’s cultural heritage.

The Moravian Mission Station in Wittewater is subject to the National Heritage Act; therefore all restoration to the historical houses has to be in line with the heritage prescripts and Heritage Architects from SAHRA will be deployed to be part of the project task team that will deliver on the project without compromising either the country’s heritage and the right to descent, quality housing for the beneficiaries.

Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi said her department will lead a craft imbizo in the area that will assist to unlock the much needed employment and income to the area and surrounding communities. The Imbizo will serve as a platform to showcase, exhibit the work the department is doing and also bring much needed information about the economic opportunities that exist within government, especially the departments of Human Settlements and Arts and Culture.

Human Settlements Deputy Minister reiterated her commitment to the project and said “This visit here is very important and close to my heart, we can’t have people living like this and do nothing…for the elderly, it is wrong”. She added that “it is important for our community leaders to ensure that people don’t lose hope, so we’re going ahead with this project and we will make sure that the houses are build in line with the needs and requirements of these families”.  

Issued by Isaac Skhosana 

Press Release Date: 
Wednesday, November 16, 2016