Media Statement - 30 September 2010

Sandton-Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has urged the construction industry to look at sustainable building technology that will assist in fast tracking the provision of housing to the poor. He was speaking at the opening session of the two-day Indaba organized by the department to discuss alternative building technologies.

“We live in the real world, where we need concrete answers and suggestions. In our case, this means finding new ways of building better homes for people in suburbs, villages and towns,” he said. New technology could be used to identify available land and develop building techniques for problematic land such as wetlands and swamps, Sexwale said.

"Given rapid urbanisation and the rate of population growth, with the diminishing availability of land in relation to the growing number of people, means we have to apply new technology to build better homes.”

The indaba is aimed at discussing how alternative building technologies can increase the development of sustainable human settlements and also provide a platform for service providers to showcase their innovative systems.

Sexwale said his department was also looking for new ideas around internal electrification, solar panels, improved sanitation and durable roofing amongst other things.

He, however, urged delegates to look at the cost-effectiveness of any building technology while not compromising on quality in the pursuit of cheaper materials.

“This indaba should also examine international experiences in using new technology particularly countries which have made significant strides in advancing the question of housing in the context of human settlements, such as Malaysia, Singapore, China and nearby examples in Angola and Equatorial Guinea,” said Sexwale.

He added that given the rapid rate of urbanization and the rate of population growth resulting in the decline of available land in relation to the growing number of people, there was more need to apply new technologies to build better homes.

Government continues to facilitate the application of alternative building technologies through projects financed by the National Housing Programme as part of its plan to accelerate the provision of human settlements.

Since 1994 about 17 000 houses have been built using alternative building technologies or innovative systems. Several of the technologies used to build these houses are on display at an exhibition running alongside the Indaba, where more than 90 suppliers are showcasing their products.

Issued by the Department of Human Settlements

Enquiries: Mandulo Maphumulo 079 699 5145

Press Release Date: 
Thursday, September 30, 2010