Gauteng's R5bn housing budget 'tackles apartheid past'

2014-07-29 19:30

The 2014/2015 budget for the Gauteng department of human settlements is R5 billion, says human settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo.

“Of this amount, R4.4bn will go towards all housing programmes within the department and we shall ensure that this allocation translates into new hopes for the many citizens who look up to us to provide this basic need,” he said today.

Mamabolo was presenting his budget vote for adoption in the Gauteng legislature.

Rapid urbanisation meant Gauteng’s government was under immense pressure to provide new homes.

“We wish to make it clear that the radical transformation of the spatial landscape is our number one priority. It will result in the establishment of new post-apartheid settlements where diverse housing products are encouraged and supported within one settlement in order to bring citizens of all races and income groups together.”

Mamabolo said the housing department was well placed to build a racially integrated society through the use of land and housing.

“Cities are engines of social and economic development and as a department we pride ourselves in integrated human settlement planning.”

This included buying land that was well located for housing construction and providing affordable rental accommodation. More than R50 million was set aside for the procurement of well-located land parcels.

The department would continue with mixed-income housing development projects throughout Gauteng.

“Through such developments, we have been able to ensure that people with different incomes are able to live side by side without any discrimination.”

He urged all qualifying South Africans, regardless of race, to apply for government subsidies.

“Part of deracialising housing in South Africa is to nullify the perception that government-subsidised houses are for black people only.”

In the two months he had been in office, Mamabolo said the department took measures to address housing concerns raised before the general elections in May.

“We understand that human settlements are at the centre of service delivery as a house carries a basket of services including water, electricity and so on.”

The department had been in talks with people in areas where there had been service delivery protests, including Bekkersdal, Bronkhorstspruit and Tembisa.

In Johannesburg the department had provided 53 evicted Alexandra families with shelter, and was building 91 emergency units in Marlboro for displaced families.

“[In the] Johannesburg inner city, we prevented 350 families from being evicted through a bogus eviction order. The culprit who brought this order has since been arrested,” said Mamabolo.

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