Makhulong A Matala's goal is to build bonds between neighbours so they love where they live. We help to create sustainable social housing communities where tenants take control of their lives, know their rights and responsibilities, and take part in the decisions that affect them. We are building a sense of community, good neighbourliness and responsible citizenship, where people see that they can make a difference in their own lives and in their communities. Makhulong is the link between our tenants and the JHC. We hold regular sessions for tenants and the JHC to find solutions to tenants' problems in our buildings, and for the landlord to tell tenants about upcoming events or changes. We keep communications open. In our buildings, we educate and assist, from dealing with mischievous children to domestic violence and public drinking. We are proactive rather than reactive, finding positive ways to live in a community.
At our men's forums, men gather and talk about issues that affect them and together spell out their roles in society. The men's and women's forums address pressing social issues such as domestic violence. We take a developmental approach: instead of being judgemental we give information and support in changing life choices. These concerns are universal to the building and the community – all tenants are affected by the actions of one. Because of this, we educate the whole community that domestic violence can be resolved. We do not simply give notice to vacate, because then the perpetrator learns nothing. "With our men's groups, we look at what issues are currently happening, from social issues such as abuse, to unemployment, and together we try to find ways to resolve them. "With domestic abuse, we speak to the abuser, tell them what they need to do, how they need to behave. We even call in the cops if necessary. We get outside people to come in and talk about things like alcohol and depression and set it up so people can have one-on-one talks. "Makhulong constantly holds activities that enhance social cohesion in the buildings, such as sporting activities in which most of the tenants participate. It is very good because we learn to understand each other and get along; there are people here from all over South Africa and Africa. "If one guy has work and needs some help, he contracts another guy in the building who has no work, even if it's just a piece job. "The men's group has changed the building for the better." — Joshua Motaung, men's group co-ordinator
Adult Vitality Programme
Health is also top of our agenda to help keep our tenants fit and healthy. Makhulong A Matala's adult vitality programme promotes healthy lifestyles, and we partner with gym service providers for pop-up gyms and exercise classes. It is another link in our chain of community cohesion: those who work out together, get to know each other. "We set up our gym and exercise classes because we realised that many people don't have time or money to join an outside gym. We're open from 7pm, so people can come after work. People have got to know each other and interact with each other. "We also encourage children and teens to join to try to get them off the streets. If they come at 7pm, by 8pm they are tired and ready to go home. "The exercise classes have been very well received and have helped us a lot and I would certainly not want to ever move out of Lake Success. This gym is a big achievement for us, not only for myself but for everyone." — Dikeledi Matseke, Adult Vitality Programme co-ordinator
Through Makhulong A Matala, the JHC provides bursaries to children of tenants to cover their study fees. The initiative was introduced in 2016 in the light of the very pressing need for skills in the country, and especially among the youth – alongside the difficulties many families face in being able to afford study fees for their children at colleges or universities. We encourage a focus on technical and artisanal skills, in the fields of engineering, electrical, plumbing, building or mechanical and welding courses. This focus is guided by identified "critical and scarce" skills where there is a high demand for qualified graduates in South Africa. It is also aimed at supporting skills development in fields where the JHC, through its own work, has recognised a need for trained artisans. Makhulong A Matala is building an entire community, not just houses.
Food Gardening Programme
Makhulong began our Food Gardening Programme in 2011; it brings small-scale urban agriculture to the Johannesburg inner city. Tenants and their children grow organic vegetables in the rooftop gardens for their own tables and to sell to other tenants on Market Days. This gives them a small income, a sense of empowerment and pride. Our Sprouts Club are gardening teams specifically for children at JHC's buildings, again to build a sense of achievement and pride, to grow food for the pot — and, of course, to keep children occupied and out of mischief. They also teach children about the origin of vegetables and fruit as well as about the environment and food gardening. Jozi Food Farmers is contracted by Makhulong to support the programme.
Waste Recycling Programme
To keep buildings clean and welcoming, tenants need to take ownership and have pride in their homes. Makhulong A Matala's anti-litter campaign encourages people to take responsibility for keeping their buildings clean and to take pride in their environment. This is a shared and collective task. In buildings where facilities such as cooking and bathrooms are shared we teach that cleaning of the facilities is also a shared responsibility, as well as the importance of showing respect for your neighbours by leaving the facility clean for use by the next person. There are anti-littering days and tenants are involved in keeping their buildings clean. Where needed, we get the help of the city's health inspectors. "We are helping to keep our environment clean and we are bringing different cultures together. There are a lot of different cultures in our buildings and by working together for a common goal, we engage with each other and learn about each other. "I mobilise for the anti-litter days and go door to door asking people to take part. It is very helpful because you engage people." — Donald Makape, anti-littering programme co-ordinator
We offer a hardship cover to our tenants to help them during difficult times, particularly death. It ensures beneficiaries can pay their rent and stay in their homes rather than face eviction. Our aim is to keep our buildings full and to help people remain in their JHC flats. The hardship cover is not funeral insurance; it is available at no additional cost to our registered tenants. It covers the leaseholder and their dependents who are living in the home at the time of death. There are two types of hardship cover.
If the leaseholder dies, JHC will consider helping to take care of outstanding rental up to a maximum of R10,000.
If a registered tenant or dependents living in a JHC home die, we will consider a cash payment of a maximum of R5,000 to cover funeral expenses.