Johannesburg - South Africa is battling to stop the growth of informal settlements due to rapid urbanisation and migration to the country despite government efforts to provide RDP houses.
This was revealed by Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe when he addressed journalists on ANC plans to implement the National Development Plan (NDP).
While Radebe appeared upbeat on some of the issues, especially access to education and health, he raised concern about the housing crisis in the country.
He said 13.2 million of 16.7 million households (79%) were now living in formal housing. However, rapid urbanisation and migration still resulted in the growth of informal housing. A similar concern was raised by Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu in October.
At the time, Sisulu warned that countrywide housing delivery protests, similar to last year’s violent #FeesMustFall movement, could happen if a solution to the housing crisis was not found.
On Saturday, Radebe also made similar observations that the country needed to deal with shortages in houses, including lobbying for more funds to students at tertiary institutions. He said, like in housing, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) had increased rapidly in the past years, funding more students. He, however, said student protests showed the funding was inadequate.
“Social partners have a duty to come to the party. The private sector has a big responsibility in the implementation of the NDP. Seventy-five percent of the wealth of the country is in private hands. They have a responsibility to create jobs in the country,” Radebe said.
He also said the country urgently needed to overcome the apartheid spatial planning to create integrated human-settlements projects for affordable rental housing and student accommodation.
He also raised concern about the poor level of education, particularly among black people, saying that was affecting their chances of gaining meaningful employment. “Despite significant pro-poor investments in social infrastructure, poverty in now driven by poor educational attainment and unemployment. This progress with social and economic infrastructure may be placed at risk by lack of maintenance,” he said.
There was hope in Radebe, though, in that women were getting placements in the job market, saying “the number of those employed are increasing, but not fast enough to cater for the multitudes of youth that have entered the age of the workforce.
“Women are taking their rightful place in the workforce, increasing freeing them from the historical constraints of the triple yoke of oppression.”