RDP houses for poor whites

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Jul 6, 2011

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In a plea to bridge social divides, and help the needy, poor whites have been reminded that they too can apply for low-cost RDP housing.

Gauteng’s MEC for Local Government and Housing, Humphrey Mmemezi, raised the issue while tabling his maiden departmental budget in the Gauteng Legislature on Tuesday.

Premier Nomvula Mokonyane appointed Mmemezi in controversial circumstances last November after the provincial ANC had forced her to ring the changes in her cabinet.

Mmemezi said he wanted to bring to an end the perception that the government housing subsidy was only for black people.

“The integration of housing across all racial groups remains one of the crucial priorities in building sustainable human settlements and a cohesive society,” he said. “We have seen today that poverty knows no colour or race. All qualifying South Africans must apply for government subsidies, irrespective of their historical backgrounds.”

Mmemezi said his department was holding talks with people from Kagiso, Krugersdorp and Coronation “to integrate deserving white families into the Chief Mogale housing project”.

He did not give figures for the number of white people who had secured RDP houses, and those on the waiting list in the West Rand, but encouraged others living in other parts of Gauteng to apply.

“The quest for humanity to be free must ensure that we all enjoy access to all services provided by the government,” he said.

Mmemezi, like those who served in the portfolio before him, has set himself an annual housing target of almost 50 000 units in this financial year. His stated aims are:

* 25 575 houses for the eradication of informal settlements;

* 9 550 serviced stands for the eradication of informal settlements;

* 4 906 mixed housing developments;

* 1 822 hostel units;

* 1 691 rental units.

Mmemezi also promised Gautengers that his department would revive most of the government’s urban renewal programmes, including the neglected programmes of Evaton, Bekkersdal and Alexandra that were started in the 2000s.

He promised that in Alexandra, his government would complete the conversion of the M2 hostel into family units, the Moposho bridge, the upgrading of roads intersections, the rehabilitation of the Jukskei River and the houses in Extension 10.

The housing department also vowed to construct the River Park project, another urban renewal project, a mental health clinic in Alexandra and Botlhabela Extension.

A total of R91 million has been set aside.

Mmemezi reiterated a similar promise made by his predecessor to procure land from private landowners for the residents of Evaton. He also said he had invested R75m for the construction of houses in the area.

Mmemezi announced that he has also set aside R75m for “the implementation and finalisation of projects in Bekkersdal”.

“Completed projects will then be handed over to the municipality. Bekkersdal suffered infrastructural losses in the destruction and violence leading to the 2011 local government elections. The budget allocation will also cover the repairs and refurbishment of vandalised public facilities,” he said.

The department also vowed to proceed with developments in various parts of Gauteng, including Vereeniging, Tembisa, Krugersdorp and Germiston.

Mmemezi said he was unhappy with the poor workmanship and substandard delivery by some contractors.

“We are going to blacklist of all of you who are doing such a disservice and stealing taxpayers’ money through shoddy work,” he warned. - The Star

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