New homes for Morningstar residents

One of the houses that was handed over to new residents in Morningstar.

Morningstar families who have been living in “temporary” asbestos houses, some for as long as 80 years, are thrilled to be moving into new homes.

Human Settlements Deputy Minister Zou Kota-Fredericks handed over homes to nine beneficiaries in Morningstar on Saturday April 22.

The deputy minister visited the area in 2014, when she saw that people were living in dilapidated asbestos homes. The residents were elderly and many had serious illnesses, including asthma and cancer.

The department worked with the private sector and an NGO, the Morningstar Development and Upliftment Initiative, to build 20 permanent houses.

After living in an asbestos house for 48 years, Siena van Niekerk was happy to finally be “home”. The smile on the 75-year-old’s face as she unlocked her home, told a story of its own.

Herdaughter,Berenice Malenza, said Ms Van Niekerk had been sick recently.

“She longed for her own place and couldn’t wait to move in,” she said.

The family asked the department if Ms Van Niekerk could move into her new home early due to her poor health. Ms Malenza said her mother’s health had improved significantly since she had moved in.

Ms Kota-Fredericks said the department was struggling to find land to build homes in the area.

“The problem we have here is that there are people who have been on the housing waiting list since 1981.” she said.

Aldine du Plooy said her mother, Wendy Muller, was excited to be in her new home. The 79-year-old had been living in the asbestos house for about 25 years and was particularly happy with the inside bathroom.

Her son, Jeremy Adonis, said the old home had started to rot, with hot conditions in summer and extremely cold conditions in winter.

Tasol-Solar Energy Solutions CEO David Qata, who donated solar water geysers for the first phase of the project, said they were looking forward to working with the department and the community of Morningstar to ensure the successful completion of the project.

Morningstar residents were treated to a breakfast at the community hall after the official hand-over of the homes.