Press Release - 19 October 2014
Government and human settlements stakeholders have committed to deliver 1.5 Million housing opportunities by 2019. The commitment by banks, developers, mining companies and big employers officially declares South Africa the biggest construction site in Africa and the developing world.
Housing experts at the National Settlement Indaba estimated the partnership to be worth over R250 Billion over five years in affordable bonded housing investments by banks, rental accommodation developments by private sector and agencies, Government subsidies, housing investments by big employers and mining companies, bulk services development for townships and human settlements, upgrading of current informal settlements infrastructure and community infrastructure like schools, churches, business sites and other amenities.
The commitment is detailed in the Social Contract for the Development of Sustainable Human Settlements signed at the end of the two days National Human Settlements Indaba and Exhibition held at the Sandton Convention from 16 to 17 October 2014. The Indaba was attended by Government led by Ministers of Human Settlements and Cooperative and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Minister Sisulu and Pravin Gordhan, SALGA, mining companies, government parastatals, property developers and owners, engineers, banks, mines, NGOs and big employers.
The Indaba held under the theme “building partnerships for the delivery of 1.5 million housing opportunities sought to mobilise and recommit different stakeholders in the private sector to support government in its quest to provide shelter for all South Africans.
The signatories to the Social Contract committed themselves to achieve the following over the next five years:-
- Delivery of 1.5 million housing opportunities, including 111 000 affordable housing opportunities for the gap market, 70 000 affordable rental opportunities in integrated sustainable communities close to places of work and play;
- Build 50 catalytic projects and install basic services in all developing towns including revitalizing mining towns;
- Install basic infrastructure in 2000 informal settlements, while laying a foundation that will allow communities to save and build for themselves;
- Eradicate the backlog of title deeds for pre and post 1994 housing stock;
- Government committed to cut the red tape of processing applications to establish townships, approval of building plans and pay contractors at the shortest time possible.
"As Government we have listened to you, I will work with Minister Gordhan and SALGA to resolve the issues you have raised that are blocking fast tracked delivery and also leading small companies to closure and loss of jobs, we have agreed that the Department of Human Settlement will establish The Ombudsman Office for the Housing Sector by November 14, 2014 to monitor the implementation of all policies and the resolution of this Indaba, we commit to address your challenges" Sisulu said.
The Indaba also called for the review of eviction laws as they hinder urban renewal and at times contribute to urban slums. "Government has to balance the right to own a property, the demand for decent shelter by poor urban dwellers but the law must make it difficult to hijack buildings, the owners of the properties must also do more to protect their buildings and land" the Indaba noted.
Big employers and housing experts called on Government to urgently make serviced sites to employees who do not qualify for Government subsidy Programme s to assist them to build their houses. "Many teachers, police, soldiers and those who earn between R3500 and R10.000 will not qualify for government subsidy but also find it difficult to afford a house in the market, by making serviced sites available Government will be extending a subsidy for them, employers can then guarantee deductions from salaries for them to build the top structure, this will allow them to own property" The Indaba said.
The Indaba also resolved that Government must prioritise the pensioners, orphans and military veterans in provision of housing but intensify the implementation of other creative programmes to support young people in urban areas. "Noting the rapid urbanization of all cities across the country, the Indaba called on Government to prioritise pensioners and military veterans, and build rental and community accommodation for young people who must be encouraged to find work and build their own homes with Government subsidy and some level of assistance, the Indaba noted.
Government recommitted itself to spending 30 percent of its five year budget supporting women owned construction companies and called on young South Africans to identify opportunities in the property and construction sector. "The Human Settlement sector is embarking in the biggest construction project in the continent and developing world, over five years the sector will invest over 250 Billion in affordable housing, rental accommodation, Government subsidy and community infrastructure development" The Indaba noted.
Ndivhuwo Mabaya, Ministry Spokesperson
Mobile: 083 645 7838
Date: 19 October 2014