Media Statement - 06 September 2011

Johannesburg - Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale has called on the Africa continent to prepare itself by creating economic conditions that will make her survive the looming second wave of the world recession. He was speaking at the annual African Union for the Housing Finance held in Johannesburg, today.

Referring to the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde’s statement on the world’s economy being on a “threatening downward spiral”, Sexwale said this gives African governments and private sector a push to work together in creating economies that would weather the financial storm that has hit America and Europe.

“We have to work with what we have and do the best in supporting the needy in our communities, as they are the pillar we need to strengthen our economies.

”He said that housing financiers should understand the extreme poverty faced by many people in Africa and tailor-make financing products that will be sensitive to the environment in which African economies operate.

The Department of Human Settlements has introduced the Mortgage Default Insurance wherein home owners will be secured of shelter should they default in repayments. It also assures financiers and bond lenders of returns should such a situation occur. This is an example of a product tailor-made to take care of a big market in South Africa that needs housing but may be overlooked by banks based on their income.

Sexwale called on delegates of the four-day summit to talk about partnerships within Nepad, inter-governmental engagements where issues of housing finance become key, so as to take people out of poverty. He argued that people are better productive when they wake up in comfort and therefore influence their economies much more positively.

“We want to learn from you. We want to refer to this summit in making decisions on housing finance matters. We want you to deal with housing and human settlements for what it is. This industry affects agriculture, retail, distribution and mining. All of these are cemented together by finance. We want to see this summit change the discourse of economic growth around the continent.”

He said the world’s dwindling economic situation makes it harder for other economies to come to Africa’s rescue, thus strengthening the recourse for standing together.

Issued by the Department of Human Settlements

Date:06 September
Enquiries: Mandulo Maphumulo
Cell: 079 699 5145

Press Release Date: 
Tuesday, September 6, 2011