Government Signs Housing Contract with Corporate SA

Cape Town – Government has entered into a second generation social contract with corporate South Africa and civil society in an effort to accelerate the provision of decent human settlements to the people, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said on Sunday.

The Minister said this when she led a briefing of the Social Protection, Community and Human Development Cluster. The briefing was part of a series of post-State of the Nation Address (SONA) briefings.

“This social contract will see the fast-tracking of 1.5 million housing opportunities by the end of term for this administration.

“Government remains on track to improve the living conditions of 750 000 households in informal settlements in this term. In addition, government entered into a National Youth Accord with various formations representing the country’s youth and the private sector,” said Minister Dlamini.

Government has provided planning support to 82 informal settlements through the National Upgrading Support Programme.

“Working together with local municipalities, we are planning to increase this number to 360 informal settlements in the next financial year,” said the Minister.

Strengthening social security net for vulnerable citizens

Minister Dlamini also announced that government was hard at work to improve the low uptake of the child support grant in the early age groups, particularly those between the ages of 0 and 2 years, to support poor, orphaned and vulnerable children.

“We are pleased to announce that during the past year, over 140 000 children between the ages of 0 and 1 were absorbed into the child support grant system,” she said.

Meanwhile, an initiative called Isibindi (which means ‘courage’) has been introduced to improve the living conditions of children who live in dire conditions.

The initiative deploys trained community-based child and youth care workers in communities.

“Last year, the Isibindi model supported 1 700 young people from child and youth headed households through the matric examinations. In the same year, 25% of these young people attained a matric pass,” Minister Dlamini said.

Promoting a healthy South Africa

The Minister said government has launched a phone-in service called MomConnect, which assists pregnant women to have healthy pregnancies, safe deliveries and healthy babies.

“Thus far, we have connected over 250 000 pregnant women to the programme,” she said.

During the SONA, President Jacob Zuma said while a lot of attention has been dedicated to the fight against HIV/Aids, tuberculosis (TB) remained one of the major killers in South Africa.

The Statistician-General reported last year that TB was the underlying cause of death of 40 542 people.

“In response, we have mobilised more resources both from within government and donors in order to turn the tide on new TB infections,” she said.

Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, who was also part of the briefing, said when South Africa commemorates World TB Day, a massive campaign will be launched where screening for new TB infections will be conducted in places like mining towns and Correctional Services facilities.