Cuba’s house building initiative inspires Minister

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Human Settlements Minister Nomaindiya Mfeketo says the lessons drawn from Cuba in mobilising communities to build their own houses must be emulated in South Africa as part the redesigned People‘s Houses Process.

Mfeketo made the remarks during her recent visit to one of the construction sites in Havana.

Mfeketo was accompanied by South Africa’s Ambassador to Cuba, Thaninga Shope-Linney, where she toured a Housing Construction Programme project in Ciudad Libertdad, which has 100 units.

The Minister informed the local leadership in Havana that one of the biggest challenges South Africa had to contend with was the building of decent houses for mineworkers.

“These are workers separated from their families for long periods as a result of the migrant labour system. Building viable human settlements for mine workers is one of our priorities,” Mfeketo said.

The Minister was also encouraged by what she observed during the site visits, where women and youth take their rightful place in the construction industry.

The delegation proceeded to visit the Centre for Development and Consulting in Management and Business, which is part of the Cuban Ministry for Construction.

At the centre, the Minister was taken through an exhibition of the General Directorate of Housing and its function.

The Minister also had a two-hour bilateral meeting with the Minister of Construction in Cuba, Rene Messa Villafafa. The discussions focused on strengthening the Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries and ensuring that all parties adhere to the implementation plan of the agreement.

Monitoring and evaluation will become one of the areas that will receive specialised attention, as both governments are committed to derive mutual benefit from the collaboration.

South Africa and Cuba will jointly explore the prospects of a sustainable and viable skill transfer and exchange programmes. 

The Ministers’ meeting also resolved to find creative and innovate ways of dealing with language barriers in the interest of all participants and technical coordinators.

Mfeketo was accompanied by a delegation of officials from the Department of Human Settlements.

Her visit to Cuba was aimed at acquiring first-hand knowledge on how governments could give citizens the skills required to build their own houses. –