Mpumalanga allocates R545m for housing

Pretoria – The Mpumalanga Provincial Government is to invest R545 million in the roll out of integrated human settlements in various municipalities.

The investment will ensure that the province improves the living conditions and quality of life of beneficiary households, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza said on Friday.

Speaking during his State of the Province Address, the Premier said the housing product mix across the settlements provides, among others, low cost housing, gap market units and social housing projects to ensure that the province caters for a broad spectrum of community needs.

“We are in the process of upgrading informal settlements such as those in Phola, Hlalanikahle and Kwaguqa and we have built 15 units for military veterans. We will also focus on upgrading informal settlements in Embalenhle and other areas like Leandra,” he said.

The province has made progress towards its target of delivering 44 000 units over the Medium Term Strategic Framework period. To date, more than 17 000 housing units have been delivered.

Premier Mabuza said R28.8 million will also be allocated for the appointment of youth-owned contracting enterprises for the completion of human settlements projects.

“We want our youth to participate meaningfully in order to acquire valuable skills in the construction sector,” he said.

Infrastructure investment

More than R4 billion has been set aside by the provincial government to deliver on socio-economic infrastructure such as roads, schools and health facilities.

“This infrastructure is critical in catalysing local economic activities that empower local businesses and create much needed employment,” Premier Mabuza said.

Last year, the province invested R2.3 billion in road construction and maintenance projects spanning the rural and urban areas of Mpumalanga.

Access to basic services

The province will also continue to invest over R2 billion to improve access to clean water and sanitation in the 2016/17 financial year.

The Department of Human Settlements has been assigned to prioritise a number of areas that experience water and sanitation infrastructure challenges.

“In 2016/17, a further 582 boreholes will be drilled and equipped to augment water supply,” Premier Mabuza said.

Small business

The province has secured a loan that will disburse R500 million to SMMEs, cooperatives and agricultural enterprises.

“In 2016/17, the total loan disbursements will amount to R80 million – a significant injection that we are sure will yield positive returns for our economy and employment rates,” Premier Mabuza said.

The province will continue to provide mentorship and infrastructure support to ensure small enterprises and cooperatives are sustainable.

Part of the infrastructure support package includes the renovation of underutilised industrial sites for use by SMMEs and cooperatives.

Iconic tourism sites such as the Blyde River Canyon, Three Rondavels and the Bourke’s Luck Potholes will be upgraded to improve the tourism experience.

“Decent infrastructure for small businesses will also be constructed to ensure that these businesses are able to sell their products to tourists in a safe and secure environment,” Premier Mabuza.