Drive to help clear housing backlog

 

Ray Maota

Launched in 2010 by Minister Tokyo
Sexwale, Lufhereng is a Department of
Human Settlements housing development
in the south of Johannesburg..

Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo
Sexwale called on the private sector to
help the government fulfil its obligation
to give people affordable and dignified
housing.
(Images: Ray Maota)

MEDIA CONTACTS
• Department of Human Settlements
+27 12 421 1311

The South African Department of Human Settlements recently launched a new campaign, appealing to the private sector to help it address the country’s housing backlog.

Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale launched the “Each-One-Settle-One” campaign at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) on 29 September 2011.

The aim is to lobby various stakeholders, including the JSE’s Top 200 companies, to help in whatever way they can to supply decent shelter to those living in squalor.

Sexwale said: “Government has built over 3-million subsidised housing units since 1994, but due to the increasing number of households, the decreasing household size and migration into urban areas, we cannot supply enough shelter for all.”

According to the department, there are currently more than 2 500 slums accommodating homeless people in South Africa and increasing overcrowding in backyard dwellings. Some 2.1-million houses need to be built to provide 12-million people with decent living conditions.

Subsidised housing costs the department R55 000 (US$6 000) per unit.

The Human Settlements Department aims not only to build more houses, but to build communities with closer access to work and social amenities.

More first-time homeowners

Impala Platinum has joined the campaign by undertaking to provide 1 500 affordable, freestanding two- and three-bedroom units to its employees in Rustenburg, North West province, over three years.

Some of the targeted employees are considered too risky by banks for financial assistance.

Leon van Schalkwyk, group executive at Impala, said: “We are proud to be associated with the department in improving housing delivery and creating sustainable human settlements in South Africa, particularly in North West province.

“The development is now sold out, which has enabled many employees to become first-time homeowners,” he added.

Financial contributions to the campaign will be held in a separate bank account overseen by an independent board of trustees, while the department will hold quarterly media briefings to report on progress.

These reports will also be available on the department’s website.

Making the difference

It is hoped that participation in the campaign will help South Africa achieve its goal of providing sustainable and dignified human settlements to all citizens.

Individuals and companies can play their part by making financial pledges, donating their services, expertise, building material, time or land.

Owners of homes whose employees live on their property can also help by providing permanent housing for their employee during his or her tenure.

Socio-economic benefits of the campaign include job creation, skills development, individual dignity and community upliftment.

Van Schalkwyk said: “Our goals are consistent with those of the campaign. We seek to build stable and sustainable communities and our investment in home ownership programmes underlies the company’s commitment to both its employees and the residents of North West province.”

Endorsement by mining giant

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has also thrown its weight behind the campaign.

Amplats is building 20 000 houses for its employees over the next 10 years as part of its Employer Assisted Housing Scheme and will contribute R1.4-billion ($170-million) towards it.

The mining giant will build 12 000 housing units in North West and 8 000 in Limpopo.

More than 130 families have already moved into houses built in Seraleng in Rustenburg.

These settlements are located close to the places where Amplats employees work.

Khanyisile Kweyama, human resource executive at Amplats, said: “In everything we do, we strive to make a difference to the communities in which we operate and exceed their expectations.

“Therefore, our housing initiative is in line with these values and emphasises our complete dedication to the sustainable development of these communities.”

Kwayama added that the “Each-One-Settle-One” campaign is a great opportunity for the corporate sector to come together under one initiative, as a united approach can achieve more.