Unemployed residents in the greater Athlone area in the Western Cape are to benefit from the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), which aims to create about 5000 jobs this year.
This emerged during an imbizo hosted by the provincial government as part of government's Imbizo Week.
It was attended by Premier Ebrahim Rasool who was flanked by the MEC for Cultural Affairs and Sport, Whitey Jacobs, MEC for Local Government and Housing, Qubudile Dyantyi and various ward councillors.
Responding to pleas for employment opportunities, Mr Rasool, said the programme would create 40 000 jobs and 5 000 of them would alleviate abject poverty.
He said R35 million of the Department of Transport's R120 million construction project would be allocated to small building contractors from the greater Athlone area who would be trained to ensure they benefit from the development earmarked for the area.
The greater Athlone area includes Langa, Hanover Park, Gugulethu, Manenberg, Bonteheuwel, Heideveld, Bokmakerrie and Kewtown.
Premier Rasool said the provincial government was taking the question of crime and drug abuse seriously.
For this reason, his Cabinet has resolved to increase the number of rehabilitation centres in the area to five to help drug abuse victims heal and become part of the broader society again.
They are to be built in Beaufort West and the in the West Coast.
Backyard dwellers from Heideveld, Hanover Park, Langa, Gugulethu, Bokmakerrie who dominated the imbizo raised concerns about having been on the housing waiting lists for many years.
The poor structural conditions of council houses in Kewtown and Manenberg were condemned by residents, saying their houses are now in a state of dilapidation and in some cases, posing a health risk.
The residents told the imbizo that the filth and poor drainage systems in these areas were problems the City of Cape Town and its councillors were neglecting to address.
Hostel dwellers from Langa and Gugulethu urged the provincial government to speed up the process of converting hostels into family units and said they were unaware of why the project had stalled.
They said overcrowding in their hostels was becoming unbearable and that these issues need to be address urgently.
MEC Dyantyi informed the imbizo that 236 housing units have been approved for Kewtown for this financial year and he will impress upon his department to expedite the implementation of the construction.
"The process of converting hostels into decent family units is an ongoing process and people should exercise patience, said MEC Dyantyi.
The plight of the disabled was also raised in terms of suitable and user-friendly houses for the disabled and a transport system which accommodates wheel-chair bound people.
MEC Dyantyi informed the gathering that his department was sensitive to the needs of the disabled.
He told community leaders to forward names of disabled people in need of housing because they have demonstrated sufficiently in the past how the department provides for their special needs. - BuaNews
Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System