KZN could lead the pack in delivering new houses

2014-08-18 00:00

IF KwaZulu-Natal can pull off building 32 043 new houses in the next financial year, it will lead the pack as the province that delivers the highest number of units.

In the last financial year, the province exceeded its target of 25 940 houses when it built 29 084 units.

Human Settlements MEC Ravi Pillay announced his plans on Friday when delivering his budget speech in the legislature. He tabled the department’s R3,6 billion budget for the 2014/15 financial year.

“These are spread across 167 projects in the construction phase using various policy instruments, including social houses, credit and non-credit linked individual subsidies, community residential units and emergency housing.”

Pillay also said his department would rectify 2 000 shoddily-built houses from the pre-1994 era and a further 1 270 units for the period from 1994 to 2002.

A total of 247 units would be upgraded in hostels in eThekwini municipality as part of converting hostels into community residential units.

But the opposition urged the department to consider other alternatives in housing provision.

The IFP’s Joshua Mazibuko said the government should sell serviced sites to people who wanted to build their own houses. He also said the government should revisit becoming a guarantor for civil servants applying for housing loans.

The DA’s Hlanganani Gumbi said people should become active citizens and not be passive recipients of government subsidies.

“Our country’s own National Development Plan recognises that it is unsust­ainable for government to continue giving out free houses as the primary means of addressing human settlements,” Gumbi said.

Pillay agreed the provision of free houses could not be sustainable in the long term.

“We have to look at far more creative tools, including greater use of serviced sites and other subsidy instruments, to meet our service delivery obligations,” he said.

Pillay said the quality of the houses remained priority with “triple certification” involving municipalities, the department and National Home Builders’ Registration Council being in place.

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