Mpumalanga Housing Undertaking

Mbombela - An amount of R305 million has been set aside to build more than 5 000 houses across Mpumalanga in the next 12 months.

Provincial Human Settlement Department spokesman, Freddy Ngobe, said the project was part of the provincial Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP), which includes the People's Housing Process (PHP). "The PHP is one of the key priorities of the provincial government this financial year to develop the rural areas in an attempt to reduce the housing backlog. The department has budgeted R305 million for the construction of 5 300 PHP houses in rural municipalities," said Ngobe on Thursday.

Ngobe said the PHP housing scheme is out-rolled in the form of subsidies, where government pays for the construction of a 50 square-metre house for each person on the list.

He said those who have their own savings could then contribute towards the expansion of the houses during the construction process.

Tabling the department's R1.2 million budget for this year recently, MEC Siphosezwe Masango indicated that the CRDP programme provided part-time employment to locals and also benefitted cooperatives by providing training in brick making, carpentry, bricklaying and welding, amongst others.

Masango said the department also planned to deliver 470 housing units under the Farm Worker Assistance programme, which seeks to address the eviction of farmworkers.

He said the provincial government was still negotiating with farm owners to allow their farmworkers to build houses on parts of their land.

"The CRDP, to a greater extent, is expected to stem and reduce the rural-urban migration of people and reduce the mushrooming of informal settlements in urban areas," Masango added.

Ngobe said the department has budgeted a total of R1 billion to deliver sustainable integrated human settlements during the 2011/12 financial year.

Sydney Masinga

- BuaNews