10 November 2017

South Africa: Government Set to Build Six Million Homes By 2019

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says the department will not fail on its promise to reach a target of delivering six million houses and subsidies by the end of the current government's term of office in 2019.

"As of 30 September 2017, the department has delivered just over 4.6 million houses and subsidies, leaving us with a deficit of 1.4 million. With the mega projects beginning to roll out, I believe it is possible that, combined with the energy of the Portfolio and Select Committees, and a little bit more hard work from the provinces and the metros, we cannot fail," Minister Sisulu said.

The Minister was speaking at the 11th Annual Govan Mbeki Awards ceremony held on Thursday evening at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg, where she was honouring men and women in the construction sector, municipalities and provinces, who have excelled in the delivery of houses.

The main purpose of the awards is to encourage and re-enforce a culture of excellence within the housing sector in the delivery of integrated human settlements.

According to the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) report, housing delivery has gone up by 131% percent since 1996.

"We have built 1 029 houses per day [and] if we multiply that with an average family consisting of five people, we have provided shelter to 5 145 people per day. For every shack built since 1994, we have built 10 houses. These are facts that every South African should know," the Minister said.

National Housing Needs Register

This year, the department established a National Housing Needs Register, a database of all those who need houses and all forms of housing assistance.

Minister Sisulu said that the department, together with municipalities, is working to ensure that they have a credible national centralised database, so they can ensure that there is credibility in the process of allocating houses.

"The centralised database will include military veterans. We have been considering the possibility of taking over the provision of houses to military veterans from the Department of Military Veterans in total. Once negotiations are completed, our database will register all military veterans.

"We would like the Department of Military Veterans to transfer the money for the top-up to the Department of Human Settlements," Minister Sisulu said.

In line with this, Minister Sisulu said, the Government Employees Housing Scheme (GEHS) will be transferred to the Department of Human Settlements so that "we are able to cater for that segment where FLISP (Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme) was not able to succeed".

She also appealed, especially to the private sector, to strengthen partnerships with the department, so that they can help with the transformation of society.

Deputy Minister Zoe Kota-Fredericks said the Annual Govan Mbeki Awards are used as a mechanism to ensure actions by all stakeholders in human settlements.

"We insists on quality products. Our work as a sector has improved and we hope that government will not deal with shoddy work any longer. We want our people to give us something that could be turned into a home," Deputy Minister Kota-Fredericks said.

She encouraged youth and women owned companies to participate in housing projects, saying more programmes must be developed to increase the participation of youth in the housing sector.

Life Time Achievement Awards

Two Lifetime Achievement Awards were bestowed upon anti-apartheid activist and the last living leader of the 1956 Women's March, Sophia De Bruyn and the late Treason Trialist Ahmed Kathrada.

In her acceptance speech, De Bruyn urged citizens not to take freedom for granted and stand up for human rights.

"It's time to put people at the centre, especially the vulnerable. I accept this award on behalf of women who worked very hard for freedom," De Bryn said.

Winners in various categories included the Belhar Gardens Rental Estate from the Western Cape, which walked away with Best Social Housing Project. LLG Project from Govan Mbeki Municipality in Mpumalanga scooped the Best Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Project, while Savannah City in Gauteng was named the Best Integrated Residential Development Project.

Human Settlements Manager from Govan Mbeki Municipality, Stan Mzobe, said their success was due to team work between the municipality, Human Settlements Department and service providers.

"This award is for the community of Govan Mbeki Municipality. We are living up to the name of the awards," said an elated Mzobe.

The project is responsible for converting 384 hostels to family units in Embalenhle Ext 8.

Other categories included Best Informal Settlements Projects, Best Rural Project, Best Community Residential Unit, and Best Accredited Municipality: Level 1.

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