Pretoria — For many years, destitute families in White City endured harsh winter seasons in dilapidated and leaking houses but this winter, families will feel warm and safe in their own decent homes.
"No longer will we have water leaks and drainage problems. We walked a long road with Premier Fishing's Peter Phango, who went out of his way to ensure that all our documentation was in order.
"Our hearts are filled with gratitude and joy and we say thanks once again for making our dream a reality," said an elated house recipient and former Premier Fishing employee, Olga Platjies.
Premier Fishing and Lafarge Mining South Africa have ensured that 10 destitute families, including elderly, disabled, women and child-headed households in White City under Saldanha Bay Municipality, have a roof over their heads.
Premier Fishing -- a subsidiary of African Equity and Empowerment Investment Group (AEEI), and a Sekunjalo Group Company -- is the largest black-owned and managed fishing company in South Africa. It supports numerous community upliftment initiatives in the areas in which its employees reside.
Earlier this week, Human Settlements Deputy Minister Zou Kota-Fredericks handed over the houses to the families.
The houses were built on land donated by Premier Fishing and serviced by the municipality. The project created 88 job opportunities for members of the community.
During the handover ceremony, Deputy Minister Kota-Fredericks commended Premier Fishing and Lafarge Mining South Africa for their commitment and hard work, as well as people who contributed to the construction of houses.
"This gesture of goodwill from Premier Fishing, Lafarge and their partners indicates that the call by government for partnerships between the public and private sector in the provision of houses is now bearing fruit," said Deputy Minister Kota-Fredericks.
Chantal Williams, who is an orphan and the youngest beneficiary of the project, said it was very hard for the families to make a living but getting a house showed that dreams do come true.
"Today I am standing in front of my miracle. We are grateful for the houses we received and thanked all the stakeholders, especially Premier Fishing, Lafarge and the municipality for working hard and not giving up on making our dream come true when times were hard," said an emotional Williams.
Premier Fishing CEO Samir Saban said the company has come a long way with the project and proud to experience the joy that it brings to the deserving new home owners.
"I am delighted that we are in the position to hand over the keys to these new houses to the Saldanha Bay community members," said Saban.
Group CEO of AEEI, Khalid Abdulla, thanked all the partners, including the municipality and Lafarge for forging ahead through many challenges and jointly completing the housing project on time.
"Without the collaboration and good working relationships we have with Saldanha Bay and other municipalities, the community and Lafarge, the project would not have been a success with providing much needed homes within the community," said Abdulla.
Lafarge General Manager for Aggregates, Noriko Solomon, wished the new homeowners good health and happiness for many years in their surroundings.
Solomon noted that while the challenge to house South Africa's people is a daunting one, the stakeholders can be proud of the positive milestone reached.
"More than anything, this occasion celebrates the importance of working together - partnerships where each one contributes what it is best able to provide," Solomon said.