Mayor Herman Mashaba outside a new development in Ormonde, Johannesburg. Mashaba has thanked Cogta and human settlements MEC Dikgang Uhuru Moiloa after the two came to an amicable agreement on funding for housing amid a backlog of more than 300,000 units for mainly poor people. Picture: Thembelihle Mkhonza/ANA

Port Elizabeth - Johannesburg metro mayor Herman Mashaba said on Wednesday that the Gauteng provincial human settlements department had committed about R300 million for housing developments in the city for the current financial year. 

This comes against the backdrop of an ongoing dispute about the Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) between the City and Gauteng Cogta and human settlements department.

"I held a meeting with the MEC for Gauteng Cogta and human settlements, Dikgang Uhuru Moiloa, regarding the reduction of the HSDG for the City of Johannesburg," Mashaba said in a statement.

Over the past few months the City and the Provincial Department of Housing have been locked in an ongoing dispute regarding the redemption claims that must be sent to the Provincial Department of Human Settlements in order for the Province to release our HSDG funding. 

Mashaba in December 2018 and earlier in January 2019 called on President Cyril Ramaphosa and national Treasury to intervene when Moiloa threatened to cut the City's housing budget by R180 million amid allegations that Mashaba's administration was not performing. 

"The City had previously been informed that our HSDG funding would be in the region of R248 Million on the basis of the City’s department of housing’s business plan, which was adopted by Council and ultimately the Province," Mashaba said.

"Following the publication of the Province’s Gazette, this was reduced to R68 million – which was insufficient to meet the desperate housing needs of our residents."

Mashaba says that the provincial human settlements department agreed to consult after national government intervened in the matter. He said R67 million has been re-allocated for the South Hills development, R63 million will go towards the Riverside development and R33 million has been allocated to build high-rise units in Fleurhof.

"R68 million is to be rolled over by the Province to the City in the current financial year, which has been approved. In addition, the City still will retain the almost R69 million which was announced in the in revised gazette published last year," Mashaba said.

"This will take Province’s financial commitments to R300 million for housing developments in the current financial year within the City. I would thank MEC Moiloa for today’s productive engagement and for seeing reason following our representations on the matter.

"In so doing, the MEC has worked with the City in ensuring that we maximise the delivery of housing for the poorest and most vulnerable of our residents," Mashaba said.

Reports put the backlog for housing in the City of Johannesburg at an estimated 300 000 units needed by some of its poorest residents.

African News Agency (ANA)