ABSA Bank Diversifies Into Construction

Pretoria - Cash strapped families in the Eastern Cape are expected to benefit from a partnership between government and the private sector that aims to provide affordable housing units.

On Monday, Human Settlements MEC Nombulelo Mabandla signed a partnership agreement with Absa Development Company (DevCo) to facilitate cooperation between her department and Absa in developing housing units.

These units, which can either be leased or bought, are aimed at families in the Eastern Cape who have a combined monthly income of not more than R15 498 as well as those who have no income.

As part of the agreement, Absa will identify projects and develop proposals for the department's approval.

The projects would be built throughout the province, particularly in rural areas, in a mixed mode of rental and home ownership with the aim of integrating communities into one sustainable human settlement, the department said.

The agreement is expected to be of particular benefit to middle income earners who did not qualify for low cost housing but could not afford expensive bonds either.

"We want to maximise the impact of private and public sector resources to accelerate the delivery of tenure, with good quality services and housing on well located land with convenient access to transport options, near jobs and other economic development opportunities, which promotes integrated and sustainable living areas and communities," Mabandla said.

Absa's involvement will go beyond facilitating the development of the housing units, and will include the rectification of existing homes in terms of the Department's Provincial House Rectification Programme.

"We already have a strong and successful existing partnership with Absa DevCo in Port Alfred, Thorn Hill where the bank has been appointed as the implementing agent to build five thousand homes," the MEC said.

She added that the department needed the participation of the banking sector to provide affordable housing. Mabandla said the department was looking forward to working with other financial institutions as the partnerships helped the department with speedy service delivery.

"Our approach must be cordial to an extent that the provision of decent homes must not only be responsibility of government alone," Mabandla said.

- BuaNews