Zille suggests turnaround in housing strategy

Adequate housing is a key requirement for a sense of dignity, Western Cape premier Helen Zille said on Monday.

“One cannot live a life one values if your shelter leaks when it rains, is vulnerable to structural collapse or is not safe or secure,” she said in a speech prepared for delivery at a Western Cape youth in human settlements summit.

Zille said the state did not have enough money to provide a house to everyone who needed one.

“This is the hard truth of the matter. At the same time, the state cannot simply say: ‘We’ll help who we can within our limited budget and too bad for the rest of you’.

“This is why housing policy has changed in South Africa from the well-meaning, yet unattainable goal of a self-standing house for every family that couldn’t afford it, to the approach of providing a range of housing opportunity choices.”

As a result, the government could now do “a little for the many” instead of “a lot for the few”.

Zille said with youth unemployment in South Africa at an estimated 51%, it was crucial that every effort be made to equip them with the knowledge and tools to compete in the job market, as well as to support young entrepreneurs.

“In this way, the youth can have a fighting chance to build and live lives they value, if they take advantage of those opportunities and exercise their responsibility as citizens.”

The provincial summit followed a national meeting in Durban in July 2011, at which all provincial governments were tasked with hosting similar provincial events.—Sapa

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