Gauteng Commits to Build 50 000 Houses

Pretoria — The Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements, Paul Mashatile, has committed to build 50 000 housing units during the current financial year.

"We commit to deliver the 50 000 housing units during the current financial year and victory in the establishment of Mega Cities in this great province is most certainly within sight," MEC Mashatile said.

Tabling the department's budget of R5.9 billion on Tuesday, MEC Mashatile said the department was at various stages of planning and implementation at least six big city developments across the province.

These include Boiketlong and Vaal River City in the Southern Corridor, Fort West in the Northern Corridor, Leeuwpoort in the Eastern Corridor, Lanseria City in the Central Corridor, Alex City in the Central Corridor, Syferfontein City in the Western Corridor and Savannah City in the Southern Corridor.

R100 million has been allocated in this current financial year for the detailed planning phase two of Syferfontein City and R100 million for bulk infrastructure in Savannah City.

"Collectively, these Big Cities Mega Projects will yield more than 11 273 houses and 5 689 serviced stands in the 2016/17 financial year. The housing yield from the big city developments will form part of the 50 000 target of completed houses set for the 2016/17 financial year alone," the MEC said.

Strategic partnerships

To address the financial challenges associated with the new approach to developing human settlements, MEC Mashatile said the department will establish strategic partnerships with the private sector to implement its human settlement projects, including the mega projects.

"The department has also taken a decision to reposition the Gauteng Partnership Fund (GPF) to play a greater role in attracting investment to address social housing and 'gap' housing challenges. The department will also work closely with government's Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) to ensure it responds to the ... long wait by our people.

"To address blockages to delivery at a municipal level, I will strengthen current intergovernmental initiatives and engage with political representatives of this sphere on the development of a municipal level... road map with tight timeframes to remove blockages," the MEC said.

He also acknowledged that land availability remained a challenge and the department was hoping to unlock it by implementing the protocol signed with the Housing Development Agency (HAD) to identify and hold land for development.

The focus in this financial year, he said, will be to bring the beneficiary administration system in line with the commitment to a people-centred development approach, which includes addressing the numerous complaints that have been received about the system.

"One of our interventions is the introduction of a biometrics system aimed at curbing fraud and corruption in the allocation of RDP houses and that will enable the allocation of stands and title deeds to approved beneficiaries on approved projects before construction even begins, and the re-engineering of the customer centre," he said.

Community Residential Units

The MEC reported that five hostels, including Diepkloof, Dube, Jabulani, Meadowlands and Orlando West, were selected for a pilot project under Community Residential Units (CRU) programme.

"This phase has yielded 1 427 units across the five hostels. We have already entered into an agreement for the administration and maintenance of hostels to be carried out by municipalities."

The department initiated the Hostel Redevelopment Programme in 2007, with the objective of eradicating single gender hostels, which were built in the 1950s to accommodate the migrant labour system of the day.