Government delivers on provision of shelter

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

By Gabi Khumalo

The Masango family lived in a dilapidated home with holes on the roof, all their lives. The home, made from corrugated metal-sheets, has long since ceased to keep out the rain, and is held together by cardboard and wood.  This is the place the family has called home for many years.

The one roomed shack in KwaDukuza acts as a kitchen in the morning, a lounge during the day and a bedroom at night for gogo Alzina Masango and her 14 grandchildren. This is the family’s story and for this 76-year-old grandmother, owning a proper house was a distant dream.

However, life for the Masangos was changed when the Department of Human Settlements handed over houses to the community of Kwadukuza.  Gogo Alzina was among the 2 000 beneficiaries identified and who received houses from the R182 million Groutville Priority 2 Project.

Today, Masango owns a fully furnished two bedroom house which boasts a lounge, kitchen, sink, flushing toilet and a bathtub.

“I thought I would die without having my own house. The shack I was staying in was leaking and got flooded every time when it rained,” she said, as she received the keys to her new house.

Masango, along with other 20 million South African citizens, has benefitted from more than four million houses and housing opportunities provided by government since the dawn of democracy in 1994.

In March this year, Human Settlementa Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and Deputy Minister, Pamela Tshwete, launched the national campaign to celebrate 4, 3 million houses and housing opportunities delivered since the new democratic government came into power.

The launch was held at Cosmo City, where the community was also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Cosmo City Integrated Mixed Development Programme, which has resulted in a completion of 12 500 mixed income houses and 70 000 families moving in the area.

The 4.3 million housing opportunities include 2.8 million RDP and Breaking New Ground (BNG) houses, 986 000 serviced sites, 360 000 Enhanced Extended Discount Benefit Scheme, 68.640 Community Residential Units, 121 000 social housing, as well as 6 000 finance linked homes.

At the launch, an elated Minister Sisulu highlighted that the delivering of 4.3 million houses and housing opportunities is a real milestone and government was not going to lose the opportunity to showcase what it is capable of.

“No other country in the world has achieved what this government has achieved in the provision of shelter for its people. We’ve achieved what we’ve promised to do when we signed the Freedom Charter - that we will provide houses for our people.

“Nothing is more gratifying than for all of us to see our dreams so wonderfully matured, especially at the time when the clouds of economic gloom hover above our heads with remarkable obstinacy. It is perhaps fitting that we remind ourselves of the many wonderful things taking place in our beautiful country,” Minister Sisulu said.

Restoring peoples’ dignity

Presenting the department’s 2016 Budget Vote early this month, the Minister highlighted that as part of government’s contribution, the department has moved with haste to restore the dignity of people, through the provision of shelter and engaged in the business of changing human geography.

“What apartheid segregated, we are integrating at all levels of human existence – socially, culturally and economically. Our successes speak for themselves and they are internationally acknowledged.”

She also noted that South Africa is among the fastest urbanising countries, with approximately 63.6% of its population in urban areas. 

“It is a phenomenon that is here to stay. That makes for a very worrying situation. We need to urgently attend to this reality in our country. It is in our power collectively.

“We are pleased to be counted among the countries that have made significant contributions to improving the lives of those living in informal settlements, and we will continue to do so.”

The recent Statistics SA survey, released last month confirmed that amid growing urbanisation, the percentage of people living in informal settlements has dropped from 17% in 2002 to 11% in 2014.

“That would technically mean that we are providing shelter faster than the rate of urbanisation, which is 2.4%. This is good news,” she pointed out.

“This government builds 1003 houses every day. That means that every day 1003 families move into new houses. You are in our sights. Change is within your grasp. To fast-track delivery, we have reviewed our policies and methods, so that you too can enjoy the comfort and security we fought for to give you.” –

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