Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and Transport Minister Dipuo Peters have signed an agreement for the transfer of 72 ha of land owned by the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to the Housing Development Agency (HDA) for the development of an integrated human settlement project, in Knysna.
The land, which was previously reserved for the extension of a national road near Knysna, was now partially occupied by a settlement of people who worked in the area.
At the handover ceremony on Friday, Sisulu declared the development a national priority project. The envisaged development would be integrated with different tenure options that would include rental accommodation, Breaking New Ground houses and bonded homes.
“This development, which will start after 18 months, is a catalytic project. We will ring-fence funds for the first 500 units, complemented with social amenities.
“We want to see clinics, schools and business centres and we will no longer build houses where people have to travel long distances to get to work and reach better services,” she added.
Further, Sisulu said it was unacceptable that there were still severe inequalities in South African communities. “It is not right that such inequalities still exist. The wealth you see in holiday homes and the poverty you see in black people’s residential areas is not fair. Nobody should live like this. Our people live in appalling conditions where there are no services and some even erect shacks under high-voltage electrical servitudes,” she noted.
Meanwhile, Peters highlighted that it was encouraging to see the land transferred for the purposes of building decent accommodation for people. “My department cannot sit on the land and do nothing while people live in squalid conditions,” she stated.