Massive housing drive

Human Settlements staff members congratulated their boss after his budget speech.

Responding to the recent protests over housing and land, Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela, has vowed to make more funds available to address the current crisis.

Delivering his budget speech on Wednesday March 28, Mr Madikizela said backyarders and informal settlements were set to benefit immensely, with his speech focusing on land reform and wealth creation, particularly for previously disadvantaged individuals.

He said plans were afoot to find land and build houses for the needy in response to the recent protests in Gugulethu and Philippi, where irate residents had been illegally occupying vacant pieces of land.

Mr Madikizela said his department would be implementing the Human Settlements Strategic Framework (HSSF), Informal Settlements Support Plan (ISSP) and the Partnership Strategy to “harness co-operative relationships”.

He said funds for the upgrade of 60 informal settlements through the Upgrading of Informal Settlements Programme, across 14 municipalities in the province, were already available.

He added that 16 pieces of land constituting 133 hectares in total, had been made available.

“We have made a significant allocation to the implementation of at least seven catalytic and seven provincial priority projects during the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTEF) period ending in 2019/2020. These 14 projects are expected to yield 100 704 houses when completed in 2022.

“Currently, they are at various stages of implementation. These catalytic projects include the Southern Corridor Integrated Human Settlement Programme, a joint initiative with the City of Cape Town to upgrade informal settlements near the airport along the N2,” he said.

Some of the areas that are set to benefit include Barcelona, Gxa Gxa, Vukuzenzela, Kanana, Kosovo, Thabo Mbeki, Tsunami, Lusaka, and Europe.

Mr Madikizela added that to speed up land reform, people must be given title deeds and that once people received these documents, they became part of the “wealthy property market”.

Mr Madikizela said there had been a lot of focus on informal settlements, but the focus would be shifting to the backyarders.

“I am confident that we will be working together with our partners from all sectors of society, creating a better life for all through fulfilling our constitutional mandate to provide access to housing for our people,” he said.

ANC member of the provincial legislature, Sharon Davids, however, was not impressed and accused Mr Madikizela and the Democratic Alliance of “playing with people’s emotions”.

“This is a budget for the rich. This is not as good as it looks in the budget book,” she told Vukani after the budget speech.