Housing funds: dept steps in

2010-11-11 00:00

PROVINCIAL municipalities who have been sitting on R587 million in unused housing funds are going to receive assistance so that the stalled housing developments can get back on track.

This is the undertaking made by the Human Settlements Department following the recent disclosure by MPP George Mari of the Democratic Alliance that housing funds have been accumulating in municipal bank accounts for eight years instead of being used for housing development.

Sureshnie Govender, the department’s acting media liaison officer, said municipalities cannot use the funds for anything other than housing projects “due to the stringent conditions” attached to their use, and the funds have to be kept in separate bank accounts.

While the department is looking at unblocking funds awarded before 2009 so that housing development can continue, Govender said municipalities have been sitting on the funds as a result of various challenges that have forced them to delay housing projects.

“The department is currently working closely with municipalities to resolve these challenges…”

Additional staff will be brought in over the coming months so that the process can be accelerated, and the department hopes to unlock the accumulated funds by the end of the financial year, said Govender.

“We have already successfully unblocked projects in Newcastle, Ladysmith, Umdoni, Umhlabuyalingana, Mandeni and Richmond, to name but a few.

This process will continue until we have unblocked all projects that have been unable to take off,” she said.

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