MINISTER KUBAYI CALLS FOR INCREASE IN AFFORDABLE RENTAL HOUSING STOCK
The Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi has called on the City of Johannesburg (COJ) to increase the delivery of social housing units to respond to the ever-increasing public demand, further exacerbated by in-migration to the economic hub of Gauteng.
The Minister was speaking during a community engagement on Friday where she handed over completed phase 1 and 2 social housing units to the beneficiaries at the Riverside Social Housing Project in Diepsloot, Johannesburg. Minister Kubayi led the sod turning ceremony to mark the commencement of construction of Phase 3 of the Riverside Social Housing Project, a Ward 96 mixed-income development meant to address social, economic, and spatial integration and substantially contribute to providing affordable rental accommodation in Johannesburg.
During an on-site briefing between the three spheres of government, Minister Kubayi was encouraged to learn that since July, over 9000 applications were received by Johannesburg Social Housing Company (JOSHCO), an entity of the COJ. While substantial, this figure was however not unique to the City, as the Housing Company Tshwane had in 2022, also revealed that it had received over 7000 applications from potential tenants who had shown interest in the Townlands Social Housing Project.
“The demand for social housing is huge. As the government, mainly the City of Johannesburg and the Provincial Department of Human Settlements, working alongside the private sector, must strengthen working relations to increase social housing units in the City and other areas to benefit communities,” said Minister Kubayi.
Friday’s launch included the handover of 180 units to new female beneficiaries, the unveiling of the plaque by Minister Kubayi, together with Gauteng Human Settlements MEC, Lebohang Maile, and Johannesburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda. The event also provided a platform for a one stop-shop desk to respond to queries from the community.
The delegation also conducted a sod-turning ceremony to mark the September construction of Phase 3 of the Riverside Social Housing Project, which the Minister insisted must be launched as soon as next January. Overall, the project is expected to deliver 1108 units on completion, catering for low-income families and individuals from various backgrounds, while also providing adequate and affordable, safe, and comfortable homes to qualifying applicants. Responding to community concerns about the lack of facilities in and around Diepsloot and surrounding areas, MEC Maile indicated that there are pieces of land that have been identified to provide social amenities such as schools and clinics.
He further outlined plans to further expand the scope to cater for more people, amidst an increasingly high number of people flocking into the province to seek better opportunities. Those people inevitably need a convenient and comfortable place to live, thus making it more urgent for private sector partners to come on board.
Meanwhile, the Minister underscored that most people living in informal settlements do not qualify for fully subsidised government houses, as they fall outside the qualifying income bracket of R0-R3500. Thus, a need to provide them with decent and affordable accommodation, through a social housing programme that offers rental stock for those earning between R3501 and R22 000.
“We have a Constitutional obligation to provide housing for all. It is therefore important for the tenants to honour their rental obligations. Pay your rent. This is a rental stock, not a rent-to-buy. By doing so, you will be assisting the government in working with the private sector to deliver more affordable rental units,” she added.
Three of the approved beneficiaries, Ms Flora Makhudu, Ms Sibusiso Maso and Ms Patronnela Nkosi, expressed gratitude after being handed their keys on Friday, citing their dream was finally realized.
Government remains committed to delivering 18 000 units between 2019 and 2024. To date, over 11 000 units have been handed over to rightful beneficiaries. In that regard, Minister Kubayi pronounced the Department of Human Settlement was working with the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) to de-risk potential beneficiaries who find themselves not qualifying for various housing opportunities because of their credit ratings.
The Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA), an entity of the Department and delivery agent for the Riverside View Social Housing Project, indicated that 14 projects in total have been completed and are ready to be handed over by the end of this year. These account for 4700 units across the country.
For Media Enquiries: Contact Hlengiwe Nhlabathi-Mokota, Spokesperson to Minister Kubayi on 064 754 8426/Hlengiwe.Nhlabathi@dhs.gov.za OR Castro Ngobese 060 997 7790 OR Nthabiseng Mphela, Communications & Marketing Manager at Joshco on 072 584 4562, firstname.lastname@example.org
Issued by the Ministry of Human Settlements Govan Mbeki House 240 Justice Mahomed Street, Sunnyside, Pretoria, 0001