Media Statement - 22 May 2013

PARLIAMENT-Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale today tabled a R28.1 billion budget before Parliament saying the 2013/14 financial year allocation signified the Government’s determination to eradicate the problem of homelessness in the country.

The 2013/14 budget allocation showed an increase of almost R3 billion when compared to what was given to the human settlements sector in the previous financial allocation.

Minister Sexwale told Parliament that the Government was committed to providing quality housing and building sustainable human settlements in the country as part of efforts to build a better and more inclusive society than that created under apartheid.

Quoting from the National Development Plan, he said inefficiencies and inequalities in South Africa’s settlement patterns were deeply entrenched and "bold measures are needed to reshape them.”

He added that the 2013-2014 budget was important as it contributed to the total economic development of the country.

"Our budget should be seen as a catalyst in this process including job creation through our twin empowerment and construction programmes of Women and Youth Builds.

"Incrementally throughout our term, the budget has been earmarked primarily to address the poorest of the poor. In continuing to do so, let there be no doubt that our quest is not to be patted on the back for chasing numbers at the cost of quality,” he said.

"We are mindful that in addressing the unique challenges of reengineering integrated human settlements in our country, there can be no socio-economic equality without providing our people with quality. On this, there is no compromise,” he added.

Minister Sexwale said a firm foundation had been laid towards a sustainable and integrated human settlements objective in line with the Government’s objective and mandate for the Department.

A comprehensive strategy premised on providing housing for the poor, for the GAP Market and for the middle to the high income earners was in place.

"The main focus of our housing delivery strategy remains the poorest of the poor, many of whom are in and around informal settlements,” he said.

"These squalid areas have their roots in the Wars of Dispossession, the 1913 Land Act and subsequent apartheid policies. These policies gave rise to landlessness and joblessness which saw, and continues to see, the destitute escaping rural poverty towards urban areas.”

The Department has over the last four years, delivered, through grants, over 750 000 houses and housing opportunities.

"This has made it possible, during this term of government, for the total housing provided since 1994 to break for the first time, into the 3 million units threshold for those earning from R3 500 to zero; to be precise 3,3 million houses and opportunities now at the cost of R85 000 each towards breaking the backlog of 2,1 million houses for 8 to 10 million people,” he said.

In his speech, Sexwale also moved to allay the fears of people who were earning higher than the R3 500 threshold which disqualified them from getting state provided housing while at the same time their salaries was not enough for them to get bank loans to buy new homes.

He said the second element of government’s strategy concerned financial guarantees for affordable housing. This policy for citizens who earn above R3 500 to R15 000 was announced by the President in his 2012 State of the Nation Address.

"The Department’s task is to implement this Finance Linked policy which covers housing for, amongst others, school teachers, police, and blue collar workers. The good news is that this is now a reality and is being rolled out in all provinces,” he said.

Beneficiaries of this programme have an option to buy an existing house, to build a new one or to purchase land.

"All those people lost in the GAP Market, earning too much to qualify for an RDP house and too little to access Bank finance we say: Rest assured. This government cares – we back you to get your bond,” he said.

Issued by the Department of Human Settlements

For more information contact: Xolani Xundu on 083 788 5747

Press Release Date: 
Wednesday, May 22, 2013