Banking group Standard Bank and the Mellon Housing Initiative have handed over the final ten houses to the beneficiaries in a 40-house building project to provide homes for former shack dwellers.
Standard Bank donated up to R3,1-million for the building of 20 houses in Tembisa, Gauteng, and 20 in Witsand, in the Western Cape, to families that lived in shacks and had no access to running water or electricity.
The Mellon Housing Initiative is a Section 21 company focused on helping government build sustainable human settlements.
Each 40 m2 house consists of two bedrooms and one bathroom, is plastered and painted inside and out, and is connected to running water. Provision is made for the houses to be linked to the electricity grid when municipal supplies become available.
“This is an awesome initiative that the Mellon Housing Initiative has put together and we encourage other private companies to join in because this will speed up the process of housing delivery in South Africa,” Standard Bank Gauteng provincial director Hannah Sadiki stated last month at the handover ceremony.
She cautioned that the 2,1-million-unit backlog was significant and governemnt could not be expected to meet this demand alone.
The Department of Human Settlements stated that the current housing backlog would be addressed over an eight-year period at a cost of over R170-billion. This would be realised at an annual public housing construction rate of over 250 000 houses a year.
“It is about time that the private sector and, most importantly, people that do not have jobs, volunteer their services to ensure that we deliver the required houses on time.”
Sadiki said that, in the bank’s Gauteng region, more than 800 employees had applied to work on site, mixing cement, clearing sites, painting and plastering, and planting trees.
“The interest and enthusiasm from our employees has been humbling. “Each site can only accommodate a specific number of people, so we’ve had to ask 400 of our people to wait for next year’s build and have given priority to those who were not involved last year.”
She noted that being relevant to the communities in which the bank operated was one of Standard Bank’s fundamental values.