Government’s housing delivery programme is not only about building houses, but is also about transforming residential areas and building communities with better access to work and social and key services, such as water, electricity, recreational facilities, schools, clinics and amenities.This was the message Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas conveyed to the guests at the provincial Govan Mbeki awards of the Department of Human Settlements at Kimberley’s Flamingo Casino on Tuesday, 5 September.On the night, developers, contractors, the banking sector, community-based organisations, the mining sector, building material suppliers and professional associations in the housing value chain, who showed commitment to partnering with government in building sustainable human settlements, were honoured.The awards presented on the day were for the best informal settlement upgra-ding project, best integrated residential development programme project, best community residential units project, best contractor in the non-subsidy market, best accredited municipal level 1 and level 2, best merit award, best conveyancer, best military veteran project and best achiever-artisan development programme.“These are important accolades for the department,” she said.According to Lucas, it is through such partnerships and hard work that the province anticipates more national awards this year. This after the provincial department achieved the municipal accreditation programme level 2, and the contractor in the best non-subsidy category during the national Govan Mbeki awards in 2016.She elaborated that the department’s anticipation is informed by the evident good performance this year. “The department has achieved the planning of 2 099 sites, and the provisioning of 2 993 services which include water, sanitation and internal roads.“It constructed 1 449 houses and delivered 3 222 title deeds through the Title Deeds Restoration programme,” Lucas said.“Altogether 4 945 housing beneficiaries were further trained on home ownership.”Relying on the National Development Plan (NDP), which was adopted in 2012 as the blueprint of government planning, the premier said the recipients adhered to its call aimed at elimina-ting poverty and reducing inequality by 2030. Critical to the transformation of human settlements, the objectives enshrined are to build a strong and efficient spatial planning system that is well integrated across the spheres of government.All informal settlements should be upgraded to suitable well-located land by 2030, allowing more people to live closer to their places of work.According to Lucas, these noble objectives of the NDP are in line with the Freedom Charter, where a particular clause states that “all people should have the right to live where they choose, to be decently housed, and to bring up their families in comfort and security.“The creation of sustainable and cohesive human settlements is a must. “We believe that housing issues should be tackled through the provisioning of housing within sustainable, integrated settlements which is a critical pillar of the country’s growth and deve-lopment strategy,” she said.