A couple living in the Cape Winelands have signed over the deed to a beautifully designed village worth R30-million to their farm workers, complete with a crèche, aftercare and entertainment centre.
David and Elaine Potter, have given four hectares of ground including 22 cottages and a stunning mountain view to approximately 150 farm staff who tend to their land.
The workers were stunned at the news and could barely believe it.
“They look like guesthouses – we were in tears,” Diane Fraser, one of the soon-to-be homeowners told TimesLIVE. “I would never be able to buy my own house.”
Fraser (50) lives with a daughter and two granddaughters and says that the development had transformed her life beyond domestic comforts. She now works full-time at the village crèche and benefits from regular training courses.
The village includes homes of three different sizes, complete with solar geysers, insulation, and a communal field. LED-lit landscaped gardens add to the beauty of the village and a homeowners association is being formalized for the residents.
The Potters have spent many years planning the staff village in hopes of providing meaningful social upliftment to their people. They persevered through lengthy government bureaucracy and took the needs and wishes of the workers to heart while building and planning the village.
“When we asked what they wanted, the first thing that everybody agreed was that they wanted to remain together,” Potter said. “That really crystallised what we did.”
Potter grew up in Cape Town and says ever since the family bought the farm in the early 1990s, it had always been their plan to assist the workers.
Elaine Potter, says the Nieuwe Sion farm village, called Lumière (“new dawn”), was not intended to be a model for others. “We are not in a position to dictate to others what they should do,” she said.
“David and I believe that education is the real engine of upliftment and we intend to make a serious effort to improve the facilities and opportunities for the children of Lumière village.”
The project has the support of the local Drakenstein municipality. Municipal Head of Planning and Development Lauren Waring said, “Drakenstein municipality is excited about the development was undertaken at Nieuwe Sion and we congratulate the owners on this proactive and innovative approach to housing and land reform.”
officially opened the Lumier Village in Simondium. The village and its 30 houses belong to farm workers of Nieuwe Sion. Congratulations and thanks to Dr and Mrs Potter. pic.twitter.com/iG7gAaoYm3
— Alan Winde (@alanwinde) August 2, 2018
Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, was also pleased at the opening of the village.