Media Statement - 14 February 2012

EAST LONDON – The provision of medium to high density housing projects is one of the main solutions in dealing with the management of spatial integration in urban areas, says Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale.

He was speaking at the launch of the Southernwood Square Social Housing project in East London earlier today. The nine storey’s building in the centre of the CBD consists of 249 units and is close to all socio-economic amenities.

“For us to make a difference in the lives of people who fall within the GAP market (those who earn too much to qualify for free government subsidy but also earn too little to apply for housing finance from banks) we need to have more of these projects," he told hundreds of community members at the launch.

The project is spearheaded by the Department of Human Settlements and is managed by one of its housing entities, the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA), and partly funded by the National Housing Finance Corporation (NHFC).

“Our mandate is to approve spaces with dignity where people can feel safe and thrive. We are afforded this function through an annual capital grant we receive from the Minister of Human Settlements,” said SHRA chairperson Zhora Ibrahim.

This was echoed by Samson Moraba, the chief executive officer of the NHFC.“Affordability is key in these establishments, ours is to ensure that we fund the best possible projects that will allow people to live in areas where they can be productive. We are under the watchful eye of the Minister to deliver more projects of this nature.”

Sexwale also touched on President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address in reference to Mzukisi Mali, a resident of Grahamstown and a public servant, who was looking for a home.

“There are many Mali’s in our midsts that feel left out because they earn too little for a bank mortgage loan and too much to get a government subsidized house. We are saying to them projects like these are for you. We want you to know you deserve homes just like the rest of South Africans,” said Sexwale.

During the launch some residents demonstrated their dissatisfaction on what they called structural defects of some units. Sexwale addressed this group explaining that they had a right to voice their dissatisfaction.

"Clients must be satisfied, that is why we are here, to listen and find out how they feel about this development. You must also highlight the positives, you must tell us about the good things that are happening here as well".

Sexwale also encouraged tenants to pay rent for their units. "Things don't come for free. People must keep paying rent. Government has a responsibility to provide human settlements as much as tenants have a responsibility to pay for rent,” he said.

Southernwood Square consists of 57 bachelor flats, 78 one bedroom flats and 114 two bedroom flats. The project caters for households earning between R2 500 to R7 500 per month. During construction 140 jobs were created and 90 of these were from the local community.


For more information call Xolani Xundu at 083 788 5747

Press Release Date: 
Tuesday, February 14, 2012