New dawn for people’s housing

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

After paying a deposit for a flat and getting ready to move in, Thulani Mhlwana was told that the building was not designed to cater for disabled people, and he ended up renting a room in Soshanguve.

That was a few years ago. Fast forward to 2018, Mhlwana, 26, is now living in Thembelihle Village, which is situated in the Tshwane Central Business District. The village has mixed type units, which provide affordable rental accommodation to over 2 000 people.

The R300 million Thembelihle Social Housing complex has 733 mixed type units consisting of bachelor pads, one-, and two- and three-bedroom units.

Started in June 2014 and completed on 30 November 2017, the Thembelihle Social Housing project, consists of 11 three-to four-storey walk-up blocks and six tower blocks of 10 to 11 storeys.

It targets people in the low to medium income bracket, who earn between R3 500 and R15 000 a month.

Mhlwana said since he moved into the village on 1 December 2017, his life has been much easier because he doesn’t need any assistance to enter his house because it has enough space to accommodate disabled people.

“It is the best building and I’m able to move around on my crutches without any hassle because it has more space. I also enjoy the new place because it has tight security,” said Mhlwana.

On Tuesday, Human Settlements Minister Nomaindiya Mfeketo, accompanied by Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements Dikgang Moiloa and Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga, officially launched Thembelihle Village.

Undoing apartheid legacy of racialised spatial planning

 Minister Mfeketo said the project is an example of how to integrate mixed housing in the inner city as a way of undoing the apartheid legacy of racialised spatial planning.

“The project addresses the challenges of the gap market of people who earn between R3 500 and R15 000. It is the surest measure of changing people’s lives for the better, and provides a wonderful opportunity for beneficiaries, who now get to stay close to areas of work, reducing the often high transportation costs that come with being located in the periphery of our cities,” she said.

MEC Moiloa acknowledged the progress made in providing social housing to the people of Gauteng, but warned that “there is still a long way to go as the housing backlog in our country generally and our province particularly, keeps growing”.

“This situation therefore calls upon innovation and boldness if we are to succeed. But we also have to be scientific in our approach and this means not applying a one size fits-all approach to housing delivery,” Moiloa said.  

Moiloa has given the Human Settlement’s Head of Department three days to come back with concrete plans on how the department is going to ensure that young people in construction get a fair share of the human settlements budget.

“If we empower women and youth, we ensure that we are building a nation,” he said.

Mayor Msimanga said nothing gives a person more pride and joy than having an address and roof over their head.

“We are building human settlements that are able to accommodate the poor and rich, living side by side. This is one of the success project and we need to make sure that there are more like it.

Msimanga said Tshwane has a backlog of 220 000 houses and 183 informal settlements. He called on all leaders to fast track the formalisation of informal settlements. – SAnews.gov.za