Johannesburg - More than R295.3 billion is to be spent by the government and private sector over the next five to 10 years on 77 catalytic projects that will provide 1.27 million housing units to address the country’s escalating housing backlog.
Of this amount, the government will contribute R91bn and the private sector R204.3bn.
These projects will create an estimated 1 million jobs, with the Human Settlements Department hoping to ensure the participation of smaller developers and contractors, including women contractors, by getting the bigger developers to partner with them.
Lindiwe Sisulu, the Human Settlements Minister, stressed yesterday that through this intervention they had the potential to impact positively on the economy, absorb a huge percentage of the unemployed and create potential for the growth of other related industries.
“Together we can etch our legacy in stone and build new post-apartheid cities and a new post-apartheid common identity. Construction has great potential for being an economic growth factor,” she said at a national contractors and developers workshop. The event was aimed at building partnerships with the private sector for the accelerated human settlements delivery.
“Seize this moment, save our economy from the ravishes experienced by the mining sector and declining manufacturing sector. Give our people hope, because right now the wind blows below your wings,” she added.
Sisulu said they hoped to significantly reduce unemployment through the “Youth Brigades”, which would be attached to each mega project.
“These Youth Brigades are currently being trained in discipline and all those good qualities that make fine young people, willing to contribute to their own empowerment,” the minister said.
Sisulu said her department had worked out the amount of public land that would be put at the disposal of developers and had worked out how much private land was needed for the projects.
She said her department had also worked out how much money they would be putting aside from the human settlements development grant and the urban settlements development grant.
“These amounts will be ring-fenced and channelled through the Housing Development Agency, our in-house developer of choice, to manage the 77 catalytic projects countrywide,” she said.
Mbulelo Tshangana, the acting director-general of Human Settlements, said 23 of the 31 government projects had been budgeted for and 20 were already being implemented.
Tshangana said 31 of the 46 private sector projects were being implemented and 15 being planned. But Tshangana said there were a further 29 projects that required funding and leveraging.
In most cases, land was already currently held and/or acquired by either the government or private sector, he said.
Sisulu added that the government was proposing to use the 2010 World Cup stadiums approach with regard to environmental impact assessments and other approval processes necessary during the implementation of the mega projects. “These will be treated as an emergency,” she said.