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The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the newly renovated Old Crossroads home of Mrs. Nomahlubi Mbulu took place on Friday 8th December. Mbulu is a single mother of 2 children, one of whom is disabled. Her third child, a disabled son, died earlier this year. The family’s plight was the catalyst for the rebuild project undertaken by Broll Property Group and the Department of Human Settlements.
“Mrs. Mbulu came to our attention through a door-to-door initiative by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa,” said the Honourable Zou-Kota Fredericks, Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, who cut the ribbon at a key-handover ceremony attended by Malcolm Horne, Broll Group CEO, members of the Department of Human Settlements, local councillors and community members of Crossroads, amongst others.
At the time Mbulu was living in a rundown two-bedroom home with a 13-year-old daughter with autism and epilepsy, her 21-year old wheelchair-bound son and an able-bodied 17-year-old daughter. Mbulu lives on government grants and has battled to give her children the care they need in a home which lacked any comfort or security.
“When Broll was approached by the Department of Human Settlements for assistance in renovating Mrs. Mbulu’s house, we decided very quickly that this community initiative was one which Broll wished to support, and we agreed to sponsor the project,” said Horne.
“We at Broll are very proud of this collaboration between the Department of Human Settlements and our company. I believe it serves as an excellent example of the way South Africans can collaborate for the greater good of our country and its people. It is a great privilege to be able to make a difference in people’s lives. Now, in time for Christmas, Mrs. Mbulu and her family have a new home to move in to.”
Broll, a company of 41 years standing which manages a 40-million square metre portfolio of property, places a strong emphasis on sustainability, renewable resources, youth development and employment, and the empowerment of women. Female building contractor, Nontsikelelo Babes Sokujika, was contracted to do the renovation.
“Doing this knowing it was a charity project and we were putting a smile on someone’s face is an amazing feeling,” said Sokujika, standing in the sunshine outside the house freshly painted in Tuscan yellow with white trim. “We had very tight deadlines to get the family in the home before Christmas and we were working under pressure, but the challenges were manageable.” Sokujika is a member of SA Women in Construction (SAWIC) whose representatives also attended the ceremony.
Broll outsources to 7, 000 businesses, 1, 700 of which are SMME’s. “In this way Broll helps to put bread on the table for in excess of 500, 000 South Africans,” said Mel Barends, Broll Director New Business, at the handover function.
“We are passionate about the upliftment of women in the property sector, which is why it was so important we partnered with SAWIC. We also have a strong drive among contractors to hire learners so that the youth can be upskilled. Broll has a unique infrastructure in that we have the opportunity to offer interns permanent jobs too,” added Barends.
Broll supports the National Human Settlements Youth Brigade, an empowerment initiative to educate and provide employment to SA’s youth.
Walking around her “new” three-bedroom, two-bathroom home, Mbulu said: “I can’t even explain what this feels like. It is like Christmas has come early. I am so happy. Now I can sleep peacefully in this house. God has answered my prayers.”
“This special housing project was a journey that included so much that is important to us,” said Richard Flame, Director, Broll Facilities Management Division and the project director on this community initiative. “It was a journey that included sustainability, transformation, and empowering our youth and women in construction, as well as Mrs. Mbulu and her disabled child.”
Fredericks said it was noteworthy that the ribbon-cutting ceremony should happen in the month that marks the death of former president Nelson ‘Tata’ Mandela and within the 16 Days of Activism, an international campaign to challenge violence against women and children.
“I cannot express fully my gratitude to Broll and SA Women in Construction. We cannot change the lives of the people of South Africa alone. It is not ‘paraffin krag.’ It takes the co-operation of all – in both public and private sectors, as on this project – to make a difference,” concluded Fredericks