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Housing authorities and local governments should begin to actively engage with the country’s suppliers of raw building materials in preparation of meeting the country’s massive 2.5 million housing backlog.

This is the view of the Aggregate and Sand Producers Association of Southern Africa (ASPASA). According to the association it is imperative to measure the natural occurring availability of raw building materials, such as sand and aggregates, and to compile records of rights-holders and their ability to meet future demands.

While the association represents 75% of the legal quarries, it estimates that hundreds of quarries and borrow pits are run illegally or “under-the-radar” to avoid taxes and compliance with Government legislation and licencing requirements.

Figures on file

ASPASA says it has useable records for all its member quarries with good background information on the type of operation, materials available and the owner’s capabilities.

The association’s director, Nico Pienaar, says that without these figures authorities will be hard-pressed to plan and deliver housing requirements in certain areas. “For example, in big cities like Johannesburg the trend is to build new residential estates close to the business districts in high-developed areas.

“Availability of large volumes of sand and aggregates therefore becomes an issue as city-bound quarries will not be able to keep up with demand and necessitate materials to be transported from outside the area. With a relatively low value and comparatively heavy mass the materials are expensive to transport and can drive the cost per m² through-the-roof.

Working together

However, Pienaar notes that none of these issues are insurmountable and with closer cooperation between building and government authorities with ASPASA, the right planning can be done to unlock the region’s sand and stone bounty.

“By working together, they may also prioritise sand and stone production and ensure that licencing and by-law requirements are prioritised and given due attention,” he concludes.

 

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