Mandela Day: Zuma to hand over houses

South Africans from all walks of life are this week gearing up to celebrate International Mandela Day on which President Jacob Zuma will mark the day by handing over houses to the community of Danville in Pretoria.

The Mandela Day campaign, which followed a UN declaration of Mandela’s birthday on 18 July as the International Nelson Mandela Day, asks that individuals dedicate 67 minutes of their time to uplifting their communities. Mandela spent 67 years of his life in active politics, fighting the injustices of the apartheid system in South Africa.

In a statement, the Presidency said the Danville/Elandspoort project was identified as a “Flagship Project” for the eradication of the Bethlehem (Hermanstad) Informal Settlement in Pretoria West, which was occupied by poor white families; families residing in Road Reserves in the Atteridgeville area and other identified areas in the Pretoria Central and Pretoria West areas.

Said the Presidency: “President Zuma first visited the informal settlement in the Hermanstad area …on the 24th of July 2008 and again on the 30th of March 2010 to witness at first hand the difficulties experienced by the poor white households and to assist in finding solutions to their plight within the framework of existing government assets to policies and programmes”.

Some of the concerns the group of white families raised with the president included the availability of social grants to children, the aged and the disabled, the need for land to build houses for the homeless, access to basic health care, public transport and the provision of electricity.

The City of Tshwane has dedicated a mobile clinic to the households of the Hermanstad/ Bethlehem Informal Settlement. The mobile clinic visits the households once a month. In terms of social grants the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is a regular visitor in the Hermanstad area for various social development related services. In addition, one high mast light and 50 street lights have been installed in the vicinity of the settlement.

Government undertook to promote non-racial settlements and the marking of Mandela Day in this manner will pay a befitting tribute to Madiba, the founding President who laid the foundation for nation building and reconciliation, said the Presidency.

Mandela’s condition continues to be critical but stable at a Pretoria hospital after he was rushed there last month for a recurring lung infection.

Government has called on South Africans to volunteer 67 minutes of their time on 18 July, to “help change their communities and South Africa for the better”.

Cabinet designated the theme of Mandela Day 2013 as “Take action; inspire change; make every day a Mandela Day” with a focus on food security, shelter and literacy.

Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor has announced that her department will use Mandela Day on 18 July to launch the country’s new smart ID cards, which will replace the green ID documents.

At Mandela’s home town of Mthatha, various activities have been planned to mark the day. President Jacob Zuma is to hand over the Inkosi Dalibhunga (Mandela’s clan name) bridge to the communities of Udondolo and Mvezo, where Mandela was born on 1918.

On Wednesday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga will launch the Mandela Park Primary school in Mthatha; an event officials say will mark Mandela’s contribution to education.

In Qunu, the Nelson Mandela Museum said it will mark the day by organising coaching clinics for youngsters. Museum staff will also be cleaning the graves of struggle veterans while a fundraising lecture will also be held with proceeds expected to be donated to a charity organisation.

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