Human Settlements Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, has urged the private sector to continue to work in partnership with government to increase affordable housing stock in the major metropolitan and secondary cities.
This is so as to prevent a repeat of recent disasters.
Kubayi made the call as South Africa joined the global community in celebrating World Habitat Day on Monday.
The United Nations designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day to reflect on the state of habitats, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter.
This year's World Habitat Day was commemorated under the theme: “Resilient Urban Economies. Cities as Drivers of Growth and Recovery.”
Kubayi noted that the metropolitan and intermediary cities have, according to recent figures, experienced rapid urbanisation than major metropolitan cities and therefore putting pressure on infrastructure and the provision of sustainable human settlements.
She reiterated South Africa’s commitment to the upgrading of informal settlements, which was one of the resolutions adopted at the 2023 UN-Habitat Assembly held in June, to “Accelerating the Transformation of Informal Settlements and Slums by 2023”.
“Sustainable human settlements affect every aspect of people’s lives and communities’ development.
“Creating and managing better places to live, not only addresses economic opportunities, poverty and inequality but also fosters inclusion through provision of dignity, access to basic services and transport and creating improved living environments that foster food security, education, health, gender equality, resilience, and the protection of vulnerable groups,” Kubayi said.
The UN-Habitat Assembly adopted numerous critical resolutions to change the trajectory for the achievement of sustainable human settlements and adequate housing, in the context of rapid urbanisation and climate change.
One of the resolutions identifies key actions to be undertaken globally to accelerate the transformation of informal settlements, as a vital entry point and catalyst for sustainable development by addressing the needs of the most vulnerable.
The Minister highlighted that during 2023/2024 financial year, over R4 billion has been allocated towards the upgrading of informal settlements.
“Additionally, over R7 billion Urban Settlements Development Grant (USGD) has been allocated to Metropolitan Municipalities to increase housing stock and deliver basic services of the cities’ residents,” Kubayi said.
Commenting on the recent fire at Cemetery View in Pretoria East, Tshwane that affected over 2 000 households, the Minister said the location of the informal settlements is an indication that people want to live closer to places of work.
However, she underlined that government initiatives working with the private sector are meant for qualifying beneficiaries.
Title Deeds Friday Campaign
Meanwhile, Kubayi has announced that the department will during the month of October, launch a Title Deeds Friday Campaign, aimed at mobilising the beneficiaries of fully subsidised houses to collect their title deeds at municipality offices.
The campaign, which was part of the outcomes of a recent meeting held between the Minister and MECs responsible for Human Settlements in provinces, will also see the MECs and councillors setting aside part of their Fridays to dispatching and encouraging beneficiaries to collect their title deeds.
“We must never be in a position where we unnecessarily keep people’s title deeds in our buildings. Our aim is to have cleared over 30 000 title deeds currently at our disposal by February 2024,” Kubayi said.
The Title Deeds Friday Campaign is expected to be launched with communities of MAWIGA (Mabopane, Winterveld and Ga-Rankuwa), north of Tshwane in Gauteng.
Source: South African Government News Agency