De Lille mum on North West project meant to protect orphans

Issued by Samantha Graham-Maré MP – DA Shadow Minister for Public Works
07 Dec 2021 in News

Please find an attached soundbite by Samantha Graham-Maré MP 

In 2014, the Premier of the North West Province requested that the National Department of Public Works transfer a portion of land at Hartebeespoort Dam to the Mobile Education and Training Trust.  The erstwhile Minister Thulas Nxesi concurred.  In fact, his support was underscored by the comment, “Approved! Excellent project”.

The project in question, is the Village of Hope – a self-sustaining, private initiative which will ultimately provide a home to 1200 orphans.  The project incorporates a safe haven, small houses for the orphans, a nursery school and a primary school.  It will eventually also have an agricultural college and construction training facility to train people in the use of alternative building methods and materials.

To date, the 2 schools have been built, as well as 5 of the houses.  However, given that the project is funded through donations, sponsors have insisted that there will be no additional investment in the property until it is transferred to the Trust.

The Trustees have written to Minister Patricia De Lille on an ongoing basis since she was appointed as the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure in 2019 but have yet to be afforded the opportunity to present the project to her.  In addition, they have not been provided with any reasons for the delay in the transfer of the property.  I have submitted a written question to Minister De Lille requesting feedback on the delays in the transfer of the property, as well as a commitment with respect to the possible date of the transfer (see attached).

In the midst of these unnecessary delays, illegal squatters have occupied parts of the property. The Department of Public Works has done nothing to remove the squatters and the Trustees have their hands tied until such time as the property is transferred, as they are receiving no support from the Department.

While Minister De Lille has been extremely vocal in the role of her Department in fighting the scourge of gender-based violence, it is deeply concerning that the failure of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to keep the promises made by its Executive Authority is having a direct impact on women and orphans in the North West Province. Minister De Lille must expedite the transfer of this property in order to ensure that further development can take place so that the Village of Hope can be launched.