State’s plan to reduce serious housing backlog is ‘not enough’, say MPs

2015-08-11 12:04
Government needs almost 10 000 hectares of land if it is going to meet the demands of the national backlog of more than 2.5 million homes.

Government needs almost 10 000 hectares of land if it is going to meet the demands of the national backlog of more than 2.5 million homes.

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Only 1% of provinces’ housing budget is used to buy land – not enough to solve the country’s ongoing housing crisis.

This was the reaction of members of Parliament in the portfolio committee on human settlements at a presentation on the department’s strategy to reduce the housing backlog.

The department plans to accelerate land acquisition processes by working more closely with municipalities and provincial departments.

One of the suggestions is to use the national housing development agency to facilitate land acquisition, especially at municipal level.

Democratic Alliance MP Tandeka Gqada argued that such a step could cause friction between the different spheres of government.

“It is clear that the national department does not know what to do any more. The Constitution clearly states that the different levels of government should not interfere in each other’s affairs.”

She added that, should the national government identify land on its own, using a state entity to facilitate the process, problems would arise.

The government needs almost 10 000 hectares of land if it is going to meet the demands of the national backlog of more than 2.5 million homes.

The government has to date bought about 4200 hectares of land for low-cost housing.

According to the department’s report, a plan was in place to reduce the backlog.

The report stated that a policy that sets out cooperation between municipalities and the national housing development agency is nearing completion.

The national department is currently looking at the possibility of centralising grants for land acquisition, the report said.

The provinces with the biggest housing backlog are Gauteng (832 000), KwaZulu-Natal (402 000) and the Western Cape (351 000).

In each of these provinces, the department has identified land.

In Gauteng land near the Randskou area and near Leeuwkop prison has been earmarked for development. About 10 200 housing units can be built on this land.

In KwaZulu-Natal, about 14 000 homes can be built on land in Empangeni, Jozini and in the Shelley Beach area.

In the Western Cape, land has also been identified in Somerset West, the Strand and in Maitland (Wingfield), where the public works department owns land.

The department also has 571 hectares of land in Khayelitsha – that belongs to arms manufacturer Denel – in its sights.

On this ground about 15 000 new houses could be built.

ANC MP Ndumiso Capa said: “Not enough is being done. I suspect that the national government’s plan will lead to it playing too much of a role and interacting too little with municipalities. It is also good to identify land, but we will get the land?”

Read more on:    housing

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