Human Settlements Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, has commended the long history of community-based organisations (CBOs) in advocating for people-centred and community-driven approaches to development.
“These organisations have played an important role in facilitating community participation in the delivery of sustainable integrated human settlements,” Kubayi said.
The Minister was speaking at the Non-Governmental and Civil Society Organisations Summit, currently underway in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni.
The two-day summit, which kicked off on Thursday, is convened in the spirit of forging closer partnerships between the government and various stakeholders in the sector to accelerate sustainable and integrated human settlements.
The summit is being held under the theme: Strengthening Partnership to Deliver Better, Safer and Secure Sustainable Human Settlements.
Government alone cannot resolve all the housing challenges, said the Minister, emphasising the importance of including civil society and community-based organisations in the development and review of human settlements policy.
“They should not be excluded from being service-delivery agents in the implementation of sustainable and integrated human settlements programmes. NGOs and CSOs have the immense potential to contribute to the acceleration and delivery sustainable and integrated human settlements to the vulnerable groups in society,” Kubayi said.
She said the summit provides an important opportunity for government and organisations to reflect on where they have come from and where they still need to go.
“We firmly believe that community driven programmes cannot be only about housing and top structures but must also ensure participative planning and engagement with housing support. The approach must be incremental with the full range of functions ultimately delivered, including community facilities.”
Kubayi acknowledged that at times non-governmental and civil society organisations have had to use the courts as an avenue through which to make their voices heard.
“It is unfortunate that government and NGOs and CSOs, while seeking to achieve the same goal, have to interact through the courts on matters of human rights and basic service delivery issues.
“Overall, NGOs and CSOs have done a sterling job in holding government accountable [and] I wish to assure you that as government, our actions are driven by the desire to change our society for the better.
“This desire, which I believe we all share, should act as a centripetal force that brings us closer together to collaborate and engage constructively in a manner that reduces litigation,” the Minister said.
She further noted the demand for adequate housing is still huge and includes households in informal settlements and backyard shacks that are dependent on the intervention of government for housing.
According to Census 2022, published by Statistics South Africa, the number of households who reside in informal dwellings has declined from 13.6% in 2011 to 8.1% in 2022, and households residing in formal dwelling units increased to 88.5%, an increase from the 65.1% recorded in 1996.
Kubayi said the decrease in the number of informal dwellings has been happening despite a marked increase in the number of informal settlements.
“This means that the provision of formal housing is increasing at a faster rate than that of informal settlements,” Kubayi said. – SAnews.gov.za