Process to remove asbestos roofs in Free State finally gets underway

Free State
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The Free State government project to remove the asbestos roofs and to replace them with corrugated iron sheets has finally gotten underway. This is focusing on more than 36 000 houses across the province.

The project which is estimated to cost around R3 billion started in October last year.

About 200 houses have their asbestos roofs already removed.

Project manager Sam Baloyi says, “We first have to test the air quality before removing the asbestos, to know what is the pre-condition and the next part is a team comes and removes their furniture because some of them are very attached and it’s sentimental to them. And we make sure that our decanting strategy is robust.”

One of the people set to benefit from the Free State multi-million rand asbestos roof removal project, Zithulele Tshabangu says he cannot wait to live in a decent home.

He is one of the 36,000 residents who will benefit from the project. His house is dilapidated and poses health risks.

Tshabangu’s house is expected to be rebuilt.

“I was told that this house is not in good shape and will be demolished. I was on the first group that was selected in December, and I’m hopeful that they will finally commence with the project,” he says.

The Free State government says it aims to complete 2,000 structures a year in the asbestos roof removal project.

Free State MEC for Human Settlement, Toto Makume says the project is a response to the call from President Cyril Ramaphosa to revitilise old houses.

“We are removing these asbestos, we are putting this kind of roofing. But it will need to be supported by the ceiling. Some of them have put future boards and have decided to paint the house to make it just new. So, these are some of the initiatives. Now, for this financial year, we are going to revatilise 2,000 (houses) in the whole of Free State,” says Makume.