JOHANNESBURG - Budget allocations to the human settlements department would increase by more than the inflation rate, one of the few departments to receive an above inflation rate allocation.
This was confirmed yesterday (thurs) by National Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane at the human settlement development summit in Boksburg. Mogajane said the human settlements urban grant would grow by 7 percent to R22bn in 2020 and the urban settlements development grant by 6 percent to R12.6bn in 2020.
Lindiwe Sisulu, the human settlements minister, welcomed the above inflation allocations, adding that National Treasury was seized with the matter and the urgency of the problems confronting human settlements.
Mbulelo Tshangana, the director-general of the human settlements department, said 48 catalytic or mega human settlement projects were planned on government owned land, with construction already taking place on 26 of these projects.
Tshangana said the majority of these projects were in Gauteng and over average would provide about 15 000 housing units but also have other amenities, such as schools and hospitals.
Paul Mashitile, the Gauteng MEC for human settlements and cooperative governance, said the catalytic or mega projects represented a very important shift in the way housing was delivered.
“In line with the Breaking New Ground policy framework, we have now moved away from small , sporadic projects to cluster integrated big cities, what we refer as catalytic or mega projects.
“These are purposefully planned and developed so they are completely self sufficient in providing housing, social amenities and also economic opportunities and the needs of those communities.
“The concept of big cities reinforces the key principles of spatial reconfiguration, township economic revitalisation and massive infrastructure investment as a means of transforming settlements and cities into productive spaces,” he said.
Mashitile said 10 new mega projects were currently being launched in Gauteng, with two mega projects launched every months between now and February next year.
Sisulu said the people’s housing programme (PHP) responded to the fact that her department now understood that there was a third way to deliver housing by giving out stands, making sure the infrastructure was installed and allowing people to build their own houses.
“There seems an appetite for this. Most people have been waiting long for houses and the programme is called PHP. We are going to roll it out on scale,” she said.
Sisulu said PHP pilot projects were taking place at Annandale and in Eldorado Park in Gauteng.
Responding to a question on why it was so difficult for the human settlement department to deal with the issue of housing for military veterans, Sisulu stressed it was not difficult for her department to deal with this issue except that it straddled two departments.
Sisulu said her department go data from the military veterans department and built the houses. However, Sisulu said her department had been unable in the past to verify the beneficiaries, resulting military veterans invading the houses.
Sisulu said a resolution was taken at the summit that the human settlements department would make a formal request to the department of military veterans to ring-fence the amount of money they put aside for housing for military veterans and turn it over to her department to allow it to roll out houses to military veterans.
She said they would also need to find a way to verify the data to ensure that it was “a true reflection of who is a military veteran”.
- BUSINESS REPORT