Although the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) has invested R124-billion in delivering 4.7-million housing units since 1994, the housing backlog in South Africa remains at about 2.3-million homes.
Human Settlement, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Friday pointed out that South Africa was delivering between 10 000 and 13 000 units a month.
However, in an address at the Human Settlements Indaba, in Gauteng, she urged a renewed commitment from all spheres of government, society and business to work together towards sustainable human settlement development.
Sisulu hoped that one of the key takeaways from this third Human Settlements Indaba would be a commitment from government to enhance relationships within government structures, arrangements regarding better planning and implementation, and dealing with developers and developments to allow for easier and more efficient achievement of targets.
She highlighted that one of the biggest challenges for the DHS remained community unrest that was blocking many projects from proceeding, while the late payment of contractors and a lack of bulk infrastructure services were also of concern.
“We recognise your continued desire to contribute to our national development agenda in human settlements. We hear your frustrations about continued blockages and the slow pace in getting projects ready for development, resulting in huge cumulative costs to the sector associated with contractors’ waiting times.
“We concur that there is an urgent need for proper regulation of the 30% empowerment stake in developments, while protecting concerned preferential groups being women, youth and people living with disabilities, against criminal elements intent on gain without sweat,” the Minister stated.
Sisulu further said the DHS was developing the "best possible" funding and financing model to enable it to achieve a vision of sustainable human settlements.
This new funding model would assist in addressing investment in priority development areas, upgrading informal settlements, ensuring access to various forms of housing assistance to qualifying households and investment in infrastructure in public spaces.
“The department will review its funding model to better support the establishment and maintenance of a sustainable public and private residential environment that would ensure viable communities within various neighbourhoods, with access to jobs, health, education and social amenities,” Sisulu noted.