The Seshego Community Rental Units (CRU) housing project was officially handed over to the residents and municipality of Polokwane during a ceremony at Seshego Zone 6 by the Provincial government.

This is a first of its kind social housing project in the province that is turning former hostels into residential units.

The Executive Mayor, Councillor Thembi Nkadimeng said during the ceremony that Polokwane is experiencing population growth as a result of the influx of people from the rural and other areas into the urban parts of the municipality.

“Polokwane is experiencing a growing number of backyard structures and informal settlements, which, in turn, result in squalor, unhygienic conditions and environmental degradation that could be compared to the hostel that was located on this very site that we are at today,” Nkadimeng said.

In order to deal with this challenge, the municipality established Polokwane Housing Association to manage rental human settlements catering for what is called the “gap market”.

This is housing for people earning a combined monthly income that is too high to qualify for free housing from government, but too low to qualify for a bank bond.

She said the municipality has reserved pieces of land for social housing options including student accommodation which is currently a challenge in the city and Seshego.

“The initiation of community rental and integrated settlements will address some of the challenges and observations like disintegration of families as proven by historical only male hostels and the marginalisation of lower income earners from social and economic opportunities,” she explained, adding that the municipality reckon that this CRU project is set to address the challenge of housing affordability by ensuring that low-income earners are housed nearer to town.

The municipality has assigned the management responsibility of the portfolio to Polokwane Housing Association (PHA).