More than 70 000 families of Gauteng now have a place to call home, thanks to the department of human settlements in the province, which is preparing to close the financial year at the end of March.
Gauteng MEC for human settlements Dikgang Moiloa noted this yesterday when he hosted an Inter-Governmental Relations (IGR) Forum with municipalities and housing agencies. The forum is meant to align planning and better co-ordinate efforts in the delivery of sustainable human settlements.
The MEC noted that this was the last IGR meeting and urged attendants to speed up housing delivery in the province. He said it was important that innovative strategies be adopted in the construction of human settlements and for contractors to think out of the box in the delivery of houses to the citizens of Gauteng.
Moiloa urged the construction industry to consider working on weekends as well as in the evening sto catch up on time lost to rainy days and holidays, as this will assist in speeding up delivery. He also urged contractors to embrace the use of Alternative Building Technologies.
“In most industrialised countries construction continues in spite of the rain and snow,” said the MEC. In addition, he noted that much progress has been registered in Gauteng with the kick-starting of Mega Human Settlements, and that Gauteng residents can expect more houses and sustainable human settlements to be delivered.
“The construction of Mega Human Settlements projects has ramped up and more citizens have decent shelter now more than ever, as Mega projects have begun yielding tremendous results in Gauteng.
“To date 16 Mega Projects are under construction and 14 are at various stages of planning. In the last two financial years, the department and the premier have launched the following Mega projects:
“These will be followed by the Vaal River City and Lanseria City development projects, whose planning is quite advanced,” said Moiloa.
He also noted that much progress has been made regarding the acquisition of land in Gauteng; six land parcels were acquired during the course of the 2018-19 financial year (four in Sedibeng and two in Tshwane).
Portions of the land have serviced stands, while on others there is still the need for development; some are going through the valuation process and township status approval. Another parcel of land will be used for a Mega Project development that will deliver 19 000 units to address informal settlements around the City of Tshwane.
Moiloa added that about 100 000 stands had been identified through the Rapid Land Release Program of the department in the coloured communities of Eldorado Park, Ennerdale, Eesterus and Palm Ridge, and will be given to these residents soon.
The 100 000 planned serviced sites are spread over the five development corridors, and the MEC is delighted at the thousands of people who have embraced the premier’s call for people to start building their own houses.
On the issue of the Rapid Land Release programme, the MEC said that the total number of potential release opportunities will be over 166 000. These opportunities are in various stages of planning studies and construction, while some have been identified for immediate release. Stands have also been ring-fenced for military veterans.
The MEC noted that there had been a decrease in service delivery protests, but condemned lawlessness in the human settlements space. “We will not shy away from dealing decisively with those involved in house-jacking, vandalism, the illegitimate business forums and those involved in land grabs. The law must deal with them harshly.”
He condemned the sale and renting out of RDPs to illegal foreigners. He said that the department will be working together with the department of home affairs to curb these unlawful activities, and urged home affairs to put strict controls in place, as the uncontrolled movement of illegal foreigners affects the delivery of human settlements to the citizens of Gauteng.
“In addition to working closely with home affairs, the department will also be working together with the department of water and sanitation to invest in bulk infrastructure, and ensure that we can grow South Africa together and keep the economic hub on an upward trajectory,” he said.
Moiloa said that the department was in the process of cleaning up the Demand Database, formerly known as the “waiting list”. The list is being cleaned up with the aim of making it public by publishing it for all to see in the province; each region will have its own database.
In conclusion the MEC added that there was improved expenditure in the department, which now stands at 84% of invoices currently being processed.“The department is projected to achieve over 95% of the budget, breaking a record after many years of under-expenditure,” he said.
The meeting was attended by MMCs and officials from various municipalities, agencies and the department.
From shacks to Rama City
Landowners collaborate with government and the private sector to bring development to their areas
After more than 20 years of living in a shack in Makau informal settlements, today I am a proud owner of a beautiful house in Rama City. I never thought that one day I would own such a property.”
These are the words of Mankoba Sipisi (66), one of 220 beneficiaries of the Rama City Mega Development project in Ga-Rankuwa, South of Tshwane.
Rama City is a R10-billion development project that aims to address housing challenges facing the community since getting their land back through the land restitution process.
Speaking during a hand-over ceremony in December, Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements and CoGTA, Dikgang “Uhuru” Moiloa, said that Rama City is the first to be constructed after a land restitution process, with its people collaborating with government to bring development in their area.
“The old people of Rama City were forcefully removed from their land by the apartheid regime. Today we are here to celebrate your return to the land of your forefathers. It is important to make this land work for you,” said Moiloa.
The MEC said that one of the programmes of government is to ensure that the land is returned back to its rightful owners. He noted that it is heart-warming to witness landowners collaborate with government and the private sector to bring development to their areas.
“Your wisdom, pride and a way of developing this place will be tested. This is the time to show the whole of Gauteng that you are capable of bringing development for yourselves in your land,” he said.
Moiloa appealed to the community not to allow any erection of shacks in the area, but keep it clean, beautiful and peaceful. “They can be turned into beautiful double story houses, but no shacks!” he said.
Rama City project is a mixed typology project which includes bonded houses, rental stock, walk-ups and RDPs; it therefore caters to everyone.
In addition, Moiloa participated in the planting of fruit trees for the new houses donated by the Gauteng department of agriculture and rural development. “Fruit trees are important as a source of life and signify being at one with nature,” he said.
The MEC was accompanied by MMC for housing in the City of Tshwane, Councillor Mandla Nkomo, who committed to speeding up the process of installing bulk infrastructure, such as electricity, water and roads.