ANC delivering 1.2m houses in Gauteng just a start
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By taking a cursory glance at the provincial landscape since 1994, one can easily see there’s been a profound growth and change in our built environment, with the province having experienced unprecedented development, indicating that progress has been made in terms of infrastructure, growing our economy, quality of life and also in restructuring our society towards greater inclusivity and equality, albeit still insufficient to meet the need in our ever-evolving city region.
The ANC-led Gauteng government has delivered more than 1.2 million government-subsidised houses over the past 25 years, an astounding feat, yet we still have a housing backlog of over 1 million owing largely to in-migration and rapid urbanisation.
Apart from that, Gauteng receives roughly 50% of all international migration to South Africa, placing pressure on infrastructure and basic services.
According to a Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) report, human settlements within Gauteng are transforming rapidly due to ongoing urbanisation as well as endogenous household growth which generates an as yet unmet demand for housing.
Despite all these facts, a 2018 Quality of Life Survey by the GCRO reveals that access to formal dwellings within Gauteng City Region currently stands at 81%, also revealing a high level of homeownership in our province.
We are reflecting a little bit on the recent past, not to make excuses for ourselves or pat ourselves on the back with so much still to be accomplished, but because, like Paulo Freire in his Pedagogy of the Oppressed, we believe that “looking at the past must only be a means of understanding more clearly what and who we are so that we can more wisely build the future”.
As a provincial government, our policies, our interventions to transform the spatial landscape, deal with spatial injustice and change the shape of our economy with its pyramidal structure (stacks up at the bottom) are informed by clear, evidence-based research and analysis, not reckless radicalism like some opposition parties, or confused posturing like the main opposition party who are experiencing an existential crisis in trying to define what they truly stand for.
In the words of Freire again: “The more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that knowing it better, he or she can transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into a dialogue with them.”
Having traversed our province to listen to our people so as to more accurately respond to their felt needs and lived experiences, we continue to pursue our programme of radical socio-economic transformation in order to grow Gauteng City Region together, through turning our city region into a single, multi-tier, mega special economic zone with human settlements at the forefront of this bold vision.
We have started putting together and will soon be completing and starting to execute a Provincial Human Settlements Master Plan that will guide and inform us as we develop human settlements.
* Maile is Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Urban Planning, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. This is an excerpt from a speech during the department’s annual budget vote last month.