THE KwaZulu-Natal government has realised that it cannot provide houses for all and is considering providing serviced sites to beneficiaries who can afford to build their own. This was revealed by Human Settlement MEC Ravi Pillay while he was addressing the South African Local Government provincial members’ assembly in Durban. “We will have increased focus on providing serviced sites for self-help building. We want to acquire 1 500 hectares of land in this financial year,” Pillay said. “However, it must be noted that there are still considerable planning processes that go into turning that into available sites,” he said. His statements came after his department submitted a report to the KZN Legislature detailing its housing programmes. The report said 5 000 serviced sites would be rolled out in the next three years. “The first 1 500 will be made available to the public within the 2013/14 financial year.” The department has identified eThekwini, Msunduzi, Hibiscus, Mhlathuze, Newcastle, Ladysmith, kwaDukuza, Mdoni and Kokstad as priority areas for serviced sites. Outlining his department plans for the next five years, Pillay said his department planned to upgrade 76 200 units of accommodation within informal settlements, improve basic services and facilitate 15 240 units for beneficiaries earning between R3 500 and R7 000, and 16 000 units of rental and social housing. He said there were still challenges in the delivery of houses including municipalities facing extreme costs of installing and maintaining bulk infrastructure, land invasions, the slow pace of clearing slums and building capacity of officials and councillors so they could perform their duties. On the land invasion aspect, Pillay said his department and eThekwini Metro have taken a firm position to resist any attempts. The city has had five attempted land invasions within a 10 km radius of the Durban CBD this year. He added that it was a challenge to manage conflicts within communities, especially regarding the allocation of houses, saying good social facilitation was critical. Pillay also warned about failing to communicate and consult with communities as those left out would have space to mobilise once they suspect something untoward. A study commissioned by Salga found that out of the eight issues raised by communities, housing ranks as the major driver behind protests. Salga chief executive officer Xolile George said the local government body has successfully lobbied that six of the eight metro municipalities be responsible for housing in their areas from June 2014.