R10bn budget slash for human settlements department

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Human Settlements Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo. (Nasief Manie, Netwerk24)
Human Settlements Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo. (Nasief Manie, Netwerk24)

The Department of Human Settlements is on the receiving end of a R10bn budget cut over the medium term period. This, while the housing backlog stands at an estimated 2.1 million.

Addressing a media briefing ahead of her budget vote speech, Human Settlements Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo said: "Ladies and gentlemen, you are aware that the national fiscus is under severe pressure and we are forced to do more with less. This department has witnessed budgets cuts running into billions of rands, but this will not dissuade us from the task at hand."

Asked what the budget cut was, director general in the department Mbulelo Tshangana said: "We've lost just over R10 billion over the MTEF's (Medium Term Expenditure Framework's) next three years."

"This is not a small cut," he said. "It shocks the system."

READ: Human settlements minister hands over 2 000 title deeds to Delft beneficiaries

He added that they needed to find ways to leverage more funding from the private sector.

However, the department wasn't complaining because it wasn't the only department faced by budget cuts, he said.

"Human settlements was never meant to be funded from the fiscus alone," he explained.

Mfeketo agreed and said that the department needed to be creative.

In her statement, she said: "We remain committed to addressing the significant housing backlog that presently stands at an estimated 2.1 million, but we must also focus our interventions on the future of human settlements."

She said land continued to be "one of the major problems hindering the delivery of sustainable human settlements in our country".

"Through the Housing Development Agency (HDA), an entity of the Department of Human Settlements, we intend to engage the private sector, state-owned enterprises, provinces and municipalities to unlock strategic parcels of land suitable for human settlements development," Mfeketo said.

"We need an efficient and formidable department that is able to perform the mammoth task of spatial integration if we are to adequately address the housing challenge in South Africa."

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