Oudtshoorn, 10 July 2019 – An 89-year-old pensioner, Elizabeth Coerecius who has never owned a house in her entire life was overjoyed when she received her new home in Bongolethu, Oudtshoorn on Friday, 5 July 2019.
Coerecius is one of the two beneficiaries of Standard Bank’s Corporate Social Investment’s initiative to build two houses in an attempt to make a difference in the community of the Greater Oudtshoorn. Another beneficiary was Koos Blom, a 51-year-old man who often uses a wheel chair to move around, due to his disability. Both beneficiaries were in the Western Cape Housing Database. Before moving into their new houses, both families were each backyard dwellers and living in dire conditions in shacks.
The handover of the two houses funded by Standard Bank takes place in the dawn of the Internationally Celebrated Mandela Month, which is marked by a string of humanitarian work by the whole world in commemoration of Mandela Day.
“I’m extremely happy for this gift and would like to thank the Oudtshoorn Municipality and Standard Bank for bringing light into my life,” said Coerecius. “All I need now is a man that I can share this house with to build memories,” she quipped.
The Oudtshoorn Municipality identified the two beneficiaries according to the prescription by Standard Bank of a pensioner and a person living with disability. The two families are now living at 19th Avenue in the New Extension of Bongolethu. The 45 square meter house each occupies consists of the following:
- Two bedrooms
- A bathroom
- A lounge and kitchen (open plan)
- The house boasts tile-flooring throughout
- Built-in kitchen cupboards
- Ceiling and roof tiles
- Aluminium windows and;
- One house is adapted for wheel chair friendliness with access ramp and bathroom door width
The Executive Mayor of the Greater Oudtshoorn, Councillor Colan Sylvester said Standard Bank’s gesture shows the bank’s character in terms of Ubuntu (Humanity). Mayor Sylvester also applauded the bank for being able to recognise the plight and the needs of the poor and the homeless.
“Your action demonstrates that good faith still works, it will defnitely restore the faith of the people at large to businesses such as yours in the Greater Oudtshoorn; that there is still hope for humankind and that other people still care about the plight of others.”
Mayor Sylvester also pleaded to the two families to look after their new homes well, and write testaments so that properties can also serve as wealth to the next generations. He also assured the bank of the solid partnership it has built with the Municipality.
Standard Bank in turn thanked the Municipality for the opportunity, they also thanked the contractor, Tusk Support Services, for a job well done. “We trust the the two families will have good times and memories in their new homes,” said Gerrit du Toit, Standard Bank Account Executive.
The two neighbours were warmly welcomed by their neighbour, Mrs. Sindiswa Matika. “I am firstly, happy that this space next to my house which was for a very long time open and at times filled with dirt, has now been occupied by this beautiful house. I am looking forward to spend good neighnbourly times with my new neighbours, we’ll surely look after each other as the Bible says, ‘love your neigbhour, as you love youself’.
CAPTION: (FLTR) Front row: Bettie Blom (wife of Koos Blom), Koos Blom, Elizabeth Coerecius and Shehaam Sims (Acting Director: Human Settlements, Oudtshoorn Municipality).
Back Row: Jessica Phiri (Support Manager at Tusk Construction Support Services), Cllr Colan Sylvester (Executive Mayor), Gerrit du Toit (Account Executive at Standard Bank), Cllr. Noluthando Mwati (Deputy Executive Mayor), Reginald Smit (Director: Corporate Services, who was acting as Municipal Manager at the time of the handover)