With access to affordable housing a growing problem in South Africa, the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) on Thursday called on the private sector to partner with government to come up with solutions and to “play their part” in eliminating social housing challenges.
Speaking at the ninth International Housing Solutions Affordable Housing conference, in Johannesburg, DHS director-general Mbulelo Tshangana said it was imperative that the private sector bring its expertise to the table.
Discussing the challenges faced in terms of spatial transformation and mitigating legacy inequalities, he believed the upstream risks could be mitigated if the private sector and government “partner properly” with projects that are effectively structured and packaged.
The department would use its R34-billion budget and eight institutions to bridge some of the gaps.
Further, with a depressed housing market, the department cannot continue dealing with the same things in the same way and expect different results. It has set aside R1-billion for social housing specifically.
“We have to start thinking outside of the box. We are operating in an environment where things are not really okay,” Tshangana noted, referencing South Africa’s current economically stressed environment.
He said the DHS could structure its budget to fit the needs of social housing development ambitions, noting that social housing was the future of human settlements, particularly in an environment where around 90% of the population pays rent as opposed to owning property.