Thousand hectares of land to be released for housing development

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Human Settlements Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, says the process of releasing land will continue in this financial year, with a further 1 500 hectares of publicly and privately owned land in the process of being acquired.

Presenting the department’s budget for 2023/2024, Kubayi said a total of 539 hectares of land have been released in various provinces by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to the Housing Development Agency (HDA) for human settlement development during 2022/2023 financial year.

Kubayi said breaking the apartheid spatial development requires acquisition of land in well located areas that will bring people closer to their places of work.

She said government’s efforts to break the apartheid spatial development will include a combination of programmes, namely social housing, urban renewal, first home finance, informal settlement upgrading and provision of serviced sites, amongst others.

“I am pleased to report that over the past year, the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA) has successfully completed the construction 14 social housing projects. The investment into the sector has led to more than 7 900 job opportunities being created,” Kubayi said.

R220m allocated to remove asbestos roofs

Kubayi has reaffirmed the department’s commitment to remove asbestos roofs and walls in old township properties across all nine provinces.

She reported that during the past financial year, a total of 1 500 asbestos roofs have been removed in Seshego, Limpopo, and 2 100 in KaNyamazane, Mpumalanga.

“In the current financial year, a total budget of R220 million has been allocated to the provincial Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) business plans in the Eastern Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal to implement 27 projects across the provinces to remove asbestos roofs.

Eradication of mud houses

Kubayi announced that seven provinces have planned to eradicate 11 791 mud houses this financial year, with a budget of R1.7 billion allocated for the process.

“We will introduce the use of remote sensing through satellite technology and other modern technology applications to help us locate and get a total count of all mud houses across the country. This means we will have to acquire the skills to capacitate our department to be able to utilise these technologies,” the Minister said.

Since last year’s pronouncement on the prioritisation of the eradication of mud houses, five provinces have implemented the programme to eradicate mud houses, with a total of 8 262 mud houses eradicated during the past financial year.

Skills shortage

Meanwhile, Kubayi reported that the department is currently embarking on a skills audit in a bid to close the skills gap and deliver on its mandate.

“Human settlements development, by its very nature, is a highly technical sector, which requires very specialised skills, such as civil engineering, town planning, geoscience and many more.

“We will relentlessly pursue excellence and performance improvement by applying a strict framework skills allocation system without exception,” she said. – SAnews