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Saint-Gobain to build houses worth R4.7 million with HFHSA

December 6th, 2010


Saint-Gobain’s Senamile Mazibuko and Jean-Phillippe Lacharme and Peter Francis of Habitat for Humanity South Africa signing the agreement.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – The France-based Saint-Gobain Initiatives Foundation is partnering with Saint-Gobain South Africa and Habitat for Humanity South Africa to build more than 90 ‘Breaking New Ground’ houses. These houses will be for South Africans currently living in informal settlements. The donated sum of R4.7 million is the largest single donation that the Foundation has ever made, and is the largest donation from a single corporate that Habitat for Humanity South Africa has ever received. The contract confirming the details of the project was signed by Saint-Gobain Construction Products’ Senamile Mazibuko, the Foundation’s Jean-Phillippe Lacharme, and Peter Francis from Habitat for Humanity on 17 November 2010.

“We were struck by the comprehensive need for a meaningful intervention to meet the backlog of housing in South Africa, and the outstanding proposal from South Africa met our requirements of sustainability, community orientation and energy efficiency,” says the Foundation’s Jean-Philippe Lacharme. “Senamile’s proposal showed us how we could make a good contribution to South Africa, with the help of our Saint-Gobain colleagues in the country.”

The Foundation seeks to make meaningful interventions in the lives of the people who live near to Saint-Gobain’s sites, and it is with this in mind that all the houses built will be within a 20km radius of the company’s 24 sites in South Africa.

“At present, we will be building 90 homes in close proximity to our East Rand, Durban and Cape Town facilities,” says Steve du Toit, Saint-Gobain delegate for Southern Africa. “However, we are leveraging our relationships with our customers across the board to stretch the effects of this wonderful donation even further. As we work through the project, we will work with our industry partners to build more houses than the original 90 that are planned, in more areas. This is a three-year project for us, and we want to make as much impact as possible.”

Habitat for Humanity South Africa is a recognised non-profit organisation that has many years’ experience in facilitating the construction of houses for South Africans who have never owned their own home. “We work with corporates who are determined to change the lives of ordinary South Africans, and providing clean, safe shelter is one of the best ways to do that,” says Peter Francis of Habitat for Humanity South Africa.

“Saint-Gobain’s employees have already shown their willingness to invest sweat equity in a home that we built with them in Langaville, Kwa-Thema in October this year. The company brings an innovative mix of new and energy efficient construction products and systems to market, and we’re working with them to improve the energy performance of the homes we build, saving money for our beneficiaries into the future,” says Senamile Mazibuko, Business Development Manager at Saint-Gobain.

The houses built as part of the Saint-Gobain project will feature 6.4mm Gyproc RhinoBoard ceilings and Isover Aerolite insulation appropriate for each climatic region. Weber’s Brush Coat, an innovative wall coating that combines plastering and waterproofing in one product, will be applied to the exterior walls. “These simple interventions, along with rational design elements, lift a traditionally built structure into being one that is energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing,” says Senamile. “Impending legislation governing the energy efficiency of the built environment recommends that all structures need to be designed and finished to achieve legislated energy efficiency standards, and the houses that are part of this project will be a benchmark for similar projects across the country.”

About Saint-Gobain Construction Products South Africa

Saint-Gobain Construction Products South Africa is comprised of Gyproc, Isover and Weber – companies that manufacture and distribute innovative construction materials for the South African built environment. The company is a leader in bringing energy efficient and lightweight systems and solutions to market, combining the benefits of gypsum-based walling products and finishes, glasswool and EPS insulation products, and innovative flooring and walling finishes.

About the Saint-Gobain Initiatives Foundation

The Saint-Gobain Initiatives Foundation supports charitable projects proposed by employees in the areas of youth integration through work in the housing sector; construction, refurbishment or renovation of social housing for general interest purposes; and energy efficiency and environmental protection in social housing. The projects must be supported by non-profit organisations, including associations, NGOs and foundations.

About Habitat for Humanity South Africa

Habitat for Humanity South Africa (HFHSA) was founded in 1987 and to date over 2200 families have been served across 17 communities. As a community development organisation HFHSA engages with local communities in the greater Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg areas. As a recognised Section 21 Non-Profit Organisation, HFHSA is ideally situated to address the severe housing needs of the country. It works on a project model in which each project is uniquely tailored to suit the needs of the home owner group, the environmental and social conditions of the communities, and the available funds.