Government working tirelessly to address housing backlog

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Human Settlements Minister Nomaindiya Mfeketo says the department will in the year ahead commit itself to address the significant housing backlog of just over two million before the end of the current term of office.

The Minister said this when she briefed journalists ahead of tabling the department’s budget vote speech in Parliament on Thursday afternoon.

Since 1994, government has built over four million houses - making South Africa the only such country in the world to have achieved this. 

“We remain committed to addressing the significant housing backlog that presently stands at an estimated 2.1 million, but we must also focus our interventions on the future of human settlements. 

“This budget vote statement presents an excellent opportunity to refocus our thinking about human settlements in line with the objective of creating sustainable human settlements as opposed to just housing,” Minister Mfeketo said.

For South Africa, Human settlements remain an integral part of building a booming economy in order to achieve equitable economic growth.

“We are committed to efforts of undoing the apartheid spatial planning as we desegregate our cities,” she said.

The department’s vision is anchored on three essential elements, namely: spatial integration, housing and infrastructure and economic development.

Human Settlements has identified four critical areas that require urgent attention in order to deliver on this mandate.

This includes:

  • Acquiring Strategic Land and Making Use of Available Land;
  • Building and Sustaining Formidable Institutions;
  • Funding and Financing of Projects; and
  • Cutting Edge Expertise in Human Resources.

Land key to programme success

She said government’s intention is to accelerate human settlements delivery before the current administration wraps up its work.

“However, I must say the issue of land continues to be one of the major problems hindering the delivery of sustainable human settlements in our country.

“Through the Housing Development Agency (HDA), an entity of the Department of Human Settlements, we intend to engage the private sector, State Owed Enterprises, provinces and municipalities to unlock strategic parcels of land suitable for human settlements development.

“We need an efficient and formidable department that is able to perform the mammoth task of spatial integration if we are to adequately address the housing challenge in South Africa.”

The department will work towards finalising key legislation and policies by the end of the current financial year.

This will include:

  • The Human Settlements Bill, which will deal with the various aspects of the changing human settlements sector since the inception of the Housing Act of 1997;
  • The Property Practitioners Bill, which seeks to promote an optimally functioning and well-regulated property sector capable of contributing to economic growth and development.
  • The Home Loans and Mortgage Disclosure Amendment Bill, aimed at strengthening the reporting arrangements by financial institutions to disclose certain information regarding their business of advancing finance in respect of home loans;  
  • The Housing Consumers Protection Measures Amendment Bill, which will repeal the current Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act 95 of 1998, improve protection of housing consumers and introduce effective regulation of the home building industry; and
  • The Human Settlements Development Bank Bill, which seeks to establish the Human Settlements Development Bank. –