Human settlements to build 1.5m houses | Infrastructure news

The Department of Human Settlements plans to build 1.5 million houses in partnership with the private sector, all stakeholders and communities, over the next five years.

“South Africa is about to become the biggest construction site in Africa and most probably in the developing world. We will build close to 270 000 houses annually as a sector. It looks impossible, but we have been here before. At the height of implementing the Breaking New Ground policy we were building over 270 000 per year,” said Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu.

Sisulu has resolved to return to the 2004 Cabinet approved Comprehensive Plan for the Development of Integrated Sustainable Human Settlements, popularly known as Breaking New Ground (BNG).

The minister said that, after reviewing housing delivery from 2005 to 2009 and 2009 to 2014, she has come to the conclusion that the department needs to change its approach. “We need to move from small projects of 200 houses to mega projects of integrated housing mix to cater for different incomes and needs.”

These will include houses for the indigent, gap housing, rental units, social housing and serviced stands. This will ensure integration of different income groups and races.

In order to achieve this, the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) has decided to implement a 100 day programme short term, and a clear five-year programme which will be reviewed annually.


100 days programme

As part of the 100 days programme, the DHS will identify 50 National Priority Projects across South Africa that will deliver mega integrated and sustainable human settlements. These projects will deliver BNG houses (30%), gap houses (20%), rental accommodation (20%), social housing (10%) and serviced sites (20%). The projects will also have economic and social amenities and a youth brigade will be created in each province and assigned to catalytic projects.

Sisulu will convene a summit to review progress made since the signing of the Social Contract for Rapid Housing Delivery in 2005 and recommit all stakeholders to part two of this relationship towards building 1.5 million houses in five years.

The Housing Development Agency will become a fully fledged property development agency, whose job is not only to acquire and prepare land, but also to manage projects and assist municipalities and any other sphere of government that might need support. It will also drive rapid housing delivery.

The Rural Housing Loan Fund will be incorporated into the National Housing Finance Corporation to offer comprehensive housing finance and loans to low-income earners. Similarly, the Social Housing Regulatory Authority will become a component of the DHS as it has been unable to fulfil its mandate.

A Human Settlements Standards and Compliance Unit will be established to unblock red tape in the housing value chain and also ensure that all legislation is complied with by municipalities and property developers.

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