Youth get clued up on future of housing

Friday, July 22, 2011
Kemantha Govender

Durban - South African youth have been given an opportunity to gain insight into the future of housing and to present their vision to Human Settlements Minister, Tokyo Sexwale, on what they would like to see happen on the South African housing landscape in 19 years' time.

South Africa currently has a housing backlog of over two million houses. According to Sexwale, the total eradication of the backlog would mean that 12.5 million people will be provided with homes.

He was speaking at the two-day Human Settlements: Vision 2030 Youth Summit at the Olive Conference Centre.

Youth delegations from the nine provinces were present to discuss their vision for affordable and good quality housing projects by 2030.

"This ... summit is essentially about the ever so critical dimension of shelter - appropriate, affordable and good quality shelter," said Sexwale.

"As part of social infrastructure development, we will provide suitably located and affordable housing and decent human settlements... Human settlements is not just about building houses. It is about transforming our cities and towns and building cohesive, sustainable and caring communities with closer access to work and social amenities, including sports and recreation facilities.

"Where we live must also be where we can learn; where we live must also be in the proximity of leisure, where we can play ... pray and so on," said the minister.

The opening session was also attended by Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, who said South Africans have to move away from being a nation of recipients, and towards becoming creators.

Mashatile said a programme is in the pipeline to train young people to become designers as they have a role to play in transforming the country. He also called for more youth to be trained as bricklayers and plumbers.

Sexwale posed 10 questions to provide a framework for the summit. Delegates are expected to tackle issues on residential de-racialisation, land redistribution, housing typologies and climate change challenges.

Sexwale wants the youth to starting grasping the role of financial services, banks and other financial institutions in terms of purchasing properties.

There are many uncertainties facing the youth and the increasing instability of the global economy is a major one to consider, said Sexwale.

"Although our country avoided a direct hit from the devastating effects of the last global economic recession, all indications are that the next one may not pass us over. The increasing likelihood of the default of sovereign debts looming over several developed nations can have devastating effects upon the developing economies such as ours," said Sexwale.

He wanted the youth to know about the process towards home ownership, how to access a government grant if needs be or housing loan finance and bonds mortgages.

The programme, which ends on Friday, is expected to give delegates ample opportunity to engage with ministers on these issues.

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