Houses built by women, for women

Friday, August 1, 2014

By More Matshediso

Pretoria - About 17 600 houses are expected to be built for women beneficiaries across the country, starting from Women's Day, 9 August.

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said 1 956 houses will be built in each province as of August.

“We are done with building two houses there and three houses here… these houses will be built by women, for women, empowering women,” said Minister Sisulu.

She was delivering a keynote address at South African Women in Construction (SAWIC) policy convention, in Johannesburg, on Thursday.

She pronounced that her department has been allocated R45 billion for a period of five years and 30% of it will be used to empower women, including SAWIC.

She invited suggestions and proposals from provincial representatives, who attended the convention, to determine how they would like to run with the project in their respective provinces.

The Minister said, together with her Deputy Minister, she will leave the project of 1 956 houses in the hands of SAWIC members to commit themselves to turn the sod on 9 August, launching the project.

Minister Sisulu said she had a programme with specific dates marked for the entire month of August.

“I will be going to every province… You [SAWIC] should give me a date to say you are ready for me on a certain date and I will be there.

“I will be there to make sure that all the things we [Human Settlements] have promised are taking place. The Deputy Minister, Zou Kota-Fredericks, and I will be available for the month of August, so please invite us,” she said.

Women empowerment

The Minister encouraged women contractors to start thinking of ways to empower each other while building houses.

“We [Human Settlements] would like you to think of the concept of beneficiation… so that other women can expand their businesses from the houses you are building. There should be women who have a cleaning company that will come and clean the cement after you have built houses,” said Minister Sisulu.

She called for women, who are not in construction, to consider gardening as Deputy Minister Kota-Fredericks will be heading a greening project when houses will be handed over to beneficiaries.

The Minister said these projects should also benefit women who will be living in the houses that are yet to be built.

Minister Sisulu and her deputy will make sure that the Housing Development Agency (HAD) will assist provinces that have already began identifying land where houses will be built.

“Their [HDA] responsibility is not only to identify land but to ensure that infrastructure is done on time,” said Minister Sisulu.

Prioritising the elderly, children

The Minister said she will help SAWIC establish a relationship with Community Development Workers (CDWs) to make it easy for them to identify the most needy in their communities when building houses.

She urged women contractors to prioritise elderly women and child-headed households when allocating houses.

“Make sure that the title deeds [for child-headed households] are written in the names of the children, not their uncles or parents,” said Minister Sisulu.

SAWIC blockages

The Minister said she was still awaiting a report from SAWIC, regarding blockages that challenged women contractors in the industry.

“… but I have been informed that the report is ready, it will be given to me soon so that we can deal with these blockages,” she said.

She said SAWIC brought to her attention that it faced problems with a concept worked out by the Department of Public Works -- Construction Industry Development Board (CIBD) -- and she is in liaison with the department’s Minister to solve it.

School of Excellence

“Beyond that, SAWIC executive told me that they have an Idea of School of Excellence to make sure that our women are provided with professional skills to compete in a sphere that men have been for so long,” she said.

She said she took the proposal to the School of Government and it will be discussed further with relevant executives. - SAnews.gov.za

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