South African Government to build proper human settlements

By Proffesor Ndawonde

Parliament - Government is determined to build proper human settlements that include houses as well as social amenities such as recreational facilities.

Delivering his State of the Nation Address in Parliament, President Jacob Zuma said "human settlement is not just about building houses."

"It is about transforming our cities and towns and building cohesive, sustainable and caring communities with closer access to work and social amenities, including sports and recreation facilities," Mr Zuma said.

He said as part of social infrastructure development, government will provide suitably located and affordable housing and decent human settlements.

Last week, the new Minister of Human Settlements, Tokyo Sexwale, pledged that with a 2.2 million housing backlog still remaining, the department is wasting no time in hitting the ground running.

The minister has recently met with all nine provincial Housing MECs to discuss the way forward and to identify key strategies to be used in fighting the housing backlog in the country.

The team was set to deliver on its plan and build human settlements in a way which was integrated, coordinated and holistic.

The meeting concluded that the department would no longer be providing houses, but focus on creating settlements.

Minister Sexwale indicated that his department focused on how best to settle needy people, saying that if they remain unsettled, government itself may not know peace.

"The settlements we should be creating must be centres where people can play, stay and pray. Places where people will live, learn and have pleasure," the minister said at the time.

The newly named Department of Human Settlements (former Department of Housing) has made significant progress towards housing delivery by building more than 2.6 million houses for more than 14 million needy households since 1994.

The department has introduced the innovative housing delivery plan, Breaking New Ground, to eradicate informal settlements and create vibrant and sustainable settlements with amenities on well located land.

This plan dictates that housing must be in a sustainable environment that enhances the quality of life so that communities enjoy secure tenure and can access basic services such as water, sanitation, healthcare, education and transportation. - BuaNews