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The Brickfields Housing project had transformed a wasteland into a place of hope, President Thabo Mbeki said at its opening in Newtown.
"We have been able to resurrect what was clearly becoming a wasteland into a place of hope, a place that inspires confidence into the future," he said.
The project was a "tangible expression" on how decaying inner cities could be transformed into peaceful neighbourhoods.
"There is a perpetuation of settlement patterns along racial, gender and class divisions... This we must bring to a speedy end," Mbeki said.
The Brickfields and the neighbouring buildings Legae were already 90 percent full with 1500 people already having moved in, said Murphy Morobe, chairman of the Johannesburg Housing Company.
Resident Daphne Motjelele said she had moved into Brickfields with her two sisters after problems with water leaks in their last flat in central Johannesburg.
"It's safe, it's clean and it's more relaxing. You can study at night," she said.