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Debate on affordable housing dominates Human Settlements appropriations vote

Freedom Front Plus’s Peter Marais said the reason there was such a big shortage of housing was because of promises made by the national government of free housing. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Freedom Front Plus’s Peter Marais said the reason there was such a big shortage of housing was because of promises made by the national government of free housing. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 13, 2021

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Cape Town - Debate over the provision of affordable housing dominated the provincial Department of Human Settlements appropriations vote.

The department’s budget for the 2021/22 financial year has been adjusted upwards by R57 million, which increases the overall budget from R2.3 billion to R2.4 billion.

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Human Settlements MEC Tertuis Simmers said the lion’s share of the additional allocation – R49.5 million – would go towards affordable housing and ensure that about 1 000 FinanceLinked

Individual Subsidy Programme (Flisp) applications can be processed.

Of this, R900 000 is allocated to the Garden Route District Municipality for an affordable housing project within the George CBD, with R48.6m allocated to the department’s affordable housing projects in the Cape Metro.

The Flisp programme is a housing subsidy to assist first-time home-buyers to purchase a home.

During the debate on the department’s vote, ANC provincial human settlements spokesperson Andile Lili said the department’s budget went against the spirit of the Freedom Charter, and the policy direction of the national government.

He said the Freedom Charter promised houses, security and comfort for all.

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“It is interesting to note that in the Garden Route, nearly R1 million will be spent on the George CBD Flisp project, which is in line with the ANC’s calls for inclusionary houses near places of opportunity.

“How much of the allocation to the City will be used for the purposes of redress and spatial integration? What happened to the projects that were planned in 2017, when well-located pockets of land in the inner-city were identified for low-cost housing?”

Freedom Front Plus’s Peter Marais said the reason there was such a big shortage of housing was because of promises made by the national government of free housing.

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He said the time had come to reconsider the issue of free housing and that there should be legislation that will exactly determine and define what the Constitution means by “adequate housing”.

“The Constitution doesn’t say somebody has a right to a house or a shack or plastic or cardboard, it says a right to adequate housing. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board and think about all these free things,” Marais said.

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