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25 May 2009 15:42
Tokyo Sexwale called on businesses to become involved in the government’s efforts to address the backlog of 2,1-million houses at his media debut as human settlements minister on Monday.
“We will find ways of mobilising resources that are supposed to subsidise people who are unbanked,” said Sexwale after introducing his provincial ministers at the JSE in Sandton, Johannesburg.
“We will talk to the financial sector, the Absas of the world, to create new forms of finance and access to finance for the unbanked.”
Sexwale called the provincial ministers his “war cabinet” against poverty and hoped they would create settlements where people could “play, stay and pray”.
He said he held the briefing at the JSE, where he once chaired a number of companies, because he hoped being at the centre of the creation of wealth would eventually touch the poor.
The department wanted to move from those “RDP things” and provide homes, not just houses, he said in reference to small government-provided houses.
He said informal settlements, which fell under his portfolio, were a complex issue.
They were “staging points” for jobs for people in South Africa as well as from neighbouring countries, and also provided homes for extremely poor people.
The department wanted to integrate its work with other departments to upgrade and introduce services such as clinics to these settlements.
In a nod to the youth, he said: “Poverty sucks ... It is humanity and human settlements that should rock.”
Following the information he received from the provincial ministers on Monday, he would attend a Cabinet lekgotla on Tuesday and present the issues they had raised to him.—I-Net Bridge
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