Johannesburg - The government is shifting the responsibility of providing low-income housing to certain municipalities, according to the 2014/15 Budget tabled in Parliament yesterday.

The National Development Plan recommends that responsibility for housing should shift to municipal level, where human settlement planning takes place.

The government has therefore introduced a municipal human settlements capacity grant from 2014/15, according to the Budget Review.

This year human settlement programmes will be transferred from provinces to six metropolitan municipalities.

Another initiative will address suitable sanitation systems in households. The cabinet has approved a sanitation programme to quicken the eradication of bucket toilets.

As a result, the capital assets budget is set to increase by R1.9 billion in 2014/15 and 2015/16. This would remove about 273 300 bucket toilets in the next two years.

A programme will be developed this year to support poor rural municipalities in providing on-site sanitation services. These will be funded through the rural household infrastructure grant.

In his Budget speech, Gordhan said over R70bn had been spent on human settlement programmes over the past five years, contributing to 590 000 houses being built.

The capital restructuring grant will contribute to the delivery of about 18 000 medium density rental housing units for families with an income of between R1 500 and R7 500 a month.

Through the housing development finance programme, provinces and municipalities are expected to deliver an extra 215 621 low-income houses and upgrade 225 505 sites over the medium term.

Housing development has been budgeted at R34.8bn for the new financial year. - Sapa