File photo: Timothy Bernard
File photo: Timothy Bernard

ANC needs more land for RDP houses

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Aug 21, 2015

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Johannesburg - The ANC is considering sweeping legislative changes that would allow the government to acquire more land to cut down on the 1.9 million housing backlog.

The ruling party has been mulling proposals on how to deal with the question of bringing more people into the housing scheme.

As things stand, there is a huge backlog of housing, with the last count at 1.9 million. But the ANC wants this situation to be corrected.

In its discussion documents for the national general council – a mid-term policy review conference to be held in October – the ANC wants the state to take a lead in getting land from some of the parastatals for free.

It also wants to buy land from private landowners at market-related prices if there was not enough land from parastatals.

The lack of availability of land to build more houses has been a sore point in the Department of Human Settlements over the past few years.

The ANC has called for municipalities to be at the centre of the delivery of houses.

“A strategy to facilitate the release of well-located public land to municipalities will be developed in co-operation with the Departments of Rural Development and Land Reform and of Public Works,” the document points out.

“Public land and land held by parastatal organisations, where deemed suitable for housing purposes, is to be transferred to municipalities at no cost,” the discussion document says.

The provincial administrations working with municipalities will request land to be transferred for housing development.

But it was not clear how much land belongs to state-owned entities.

Transnet is one major parastatal that owns tracts of land in the country. But some of its land parcels have been targeted by land invasions by certain groups in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

The discussion document also proposes that private land be targeted for the purpose of building more houses.

 

The document proposes that while the private land may be acquired at market value, this must be done as a last resort.

The first preference would be to obtain land from public entities, and if there was no land available, land could be bought from private landowners.

The ANC has acknowledged that buying private land would not be cheap and has proposed that a funding mechanism be found.

“The department (of human settlements) will engage with the South African Revenue Service and the Treasury to investigate the introduction of fiscal incentives (and disincentives) to support the development of well-located land,” the document adds.

Discussions will have to take place between the affected government departments to remedy this situation.

The Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department as well as the municipalities across the country would be required to enter into a discussion on this issue, the document concludes.

The Star

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