Flats, houses for Marikana’s mining community

Twelve blocks of flats and nearly 300 houses are just about ready to be occupied by residents the Marikana mining community of North West province.

This is a community still grieving the gunning down of 34 of their members in a wildcat wage strike in August 2012. The incident is considered the worst attack on South African citizens by the state since the Sharpeville massacre of 1960 when 69 people were killed for protesting pass laws.

Deputy minister of human settlements Zoe Kota-Fredericks visited the building site on Friday to inspect the final stages of the R159 million Marikana Housing Project.

"This is one of the most remarkable housing projects the department has embarked on to revitalize mining towns. We can't wait to come and hand over the project.," she said.

The flats and houses, which will accommodate 544 families, are being built on land donated by Lonmin mine.

The project is part of a government initiative to revitalise old mining towns as well as tackling housing backlogs.

The Marikana project will house over 550 families.

So far, six blocks of flats have been completed and are ready to be occupied.

The other six blocks will be completed by the end of December.

In total, the flats will house 252 families.

A further 292 houses are being built. These are expected to be finished by the end of January.