THE United Nations Education and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO) estimates that by 2030 more than half the world’s population will be living in and around the cities.
This, according to UNESCO is due to people moving from rural areas in search of better opportunities in or around the cities. This has now placed enormous pressure on cities and towns to provide housing for the wave of migrants arriving in the urban areas daily.
While Gauteng experiences the biggest migration monthly, Limpopo is not immune to this phenomenon. A Limpopo Community Survey in 2016 by the Statistics South Africa showed that the province experienced an influx of 389 151 between 2011 and 2016.
The survey also found that the province had the highest proportion of households living in formal dwellings at 1,4 million people, and that only 77 371 lived in informal dwellings.
Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs [Coghsta] Jerry Ndou revealed in his budget vote speech that there are currently 74 informal settlements in the province. These were in predominantly the growth towns of Mogalakwena, Polokwane, Fetakgomo/Tubatse, Musina- Makhado, and Thulamela Collins Chabane.
Ndou said Coghsta plans to install services in 4 629 sites in these informal areas at an amount of R231, 5 million through the Upgrading of Informal Settlements Programme. He added that these informal settlements Coghsta plans to upgrade and formalise the settlements by March 2019.
“About 18 000 beneficiaries are set to benefit in this regard. The basic services designed to benefit these families will include among others, portable water, sanitation and roads,” said Ndou.
He said despite facing numerous housing delivery challenges during the first two quarters of this financial year, at the end of March this year the department managed to build and hand over 9 132 houses for the financial year 2017/18, meaning Coghsta achieved 92% of its annual target.
Ndou said they have also provided serviced sites to 3,334 households against 5,151 targets that previously never had decent shelter and security of tenure before.
“The remaining 8% of the housing units target is at various stages of construction, thus wall plate and roof and finishes and completion is planned for the first quarter of the financial 2018/19. In this financial year 2018/19, we have planned to build and hand over 7450 housing units,” said Ndou.
He said the figure is inclusive of 6965 rural and urban housing units and 150 for military veterans.
“The reduced number is a result of the R2 billion cut on the entire Human Settlements Development Grant throughout the country, with Limpopo loosing R200 million from the overall cut,” said Ndou.
“As government, we believe that the smartest investment in a country is housing, food security and job creation. As the the department, we have envisaged to create a minimum of 5000 jobs through the construction of housing in 2018/2019 financial year.”
Ndou said his department has developed a new strategy that will address both the quality of houses and the efficiency of human settlements delivery machinery.
“The department has approved the establishment of a new multilayered contractor database for both construction (CIDB GB 1-9) and infrastructure (CIDB CE 1-9) introduced to ensure that projects are packaged at least three years before implementation,” he added.
“In order to get this realized, we will ensure that Township Planning and proclamation processes, opening of township registers, infrastructure installation and house construction are done and finalized. All these will be done in liaison with our key stakeholders, the municipalities, especially within the IDP five year plan.”
The department’s decision to introduce the multilayered contractor database has been met with resistance in some quarters.
A group of contractors disrupted its briefing session at Bolivia Lodge last week saying that the new regulations will disadvantage them.
However, Ndou’s spokesperson Paena Galane said the contractors misunderstood the new regulations as they were aimed ensuring long term planning to reduce the current 800 000 housing backlog.
The department recently terminated the contractors of 11 non-performing contractors and returned R150 million to Treasury due to non-expenditure.
– Mukurukuru Media