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South Africa President Thabo Mbeki joins World Leaders Build

From staff reports

BRITS, South Africa (Oukasie Township) -- Oukasie in Brits became the focus of Habitat for Humanity South Africa's World Leaders Build on Friday, Aug. 10, when the Honourable President Thabo Mbeki joined National Housing Minister Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele, North West Province Premier Dr. Popo Molefe and other dignitaries to build a Habitat house in the community.
Photo by Trevor Kobrin
  South Africa President Thabo Mbeki visited a Habitat construction site in the Oukasie township on Friday, Aug. 10, where he laid blocks and spoke to the assembled volunteers, special guests and media. President Mbeki (left) is pictured with Patrick Molefe, a HFH South Africa staff member.

"We are happy and always ready to work in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and many of its volunteers, including Mr. Jimmy Carter, former president of the United States of America," said President Mbeki to the volunteers and special guests who gathered at the build site.

"I would like to congratulate Habitat for Humanity on their 25th anniversary year," the president continued. "We appreciate your efforts to engage leaders across the world to participate in the building and construction of houses, because it is through joint efforts of all the people that we will ensure that access to shelter is not just for the privileged few, but for all the people."

Housing Minister Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele also spoke, pointing out that South Africa's housing problems are unique in the world. "Whereas most countries are mainly focusing on meeting the emerging demand for housing resulting from new families and change in family size," she said, "South Africa has to first grapple with the 2-3 million housing backlog which is a legacy of past neglect of the plight of the majority of our people by the apartheid government which is also growing as a result of the same factors affecting other countries."

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