Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has called for potential investors, including banking institutions, to assist government’s efforts in meeting the demand for social housing units by investing in social housing projects.
Sisulu says the investment opportunities are spread across the country’s metros.
The Minister’s call was as a result of the recent high demand from various potential beneficiaries of social housing projects in Gauteng, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape.
It is estimated that the current demand for social housing units is sitting at over 300 000.
Currently, the Department of Human Settlements' entity, the Social Housing Regulator Authority (SHRA), has 52 projects in the pipeline which are expected to yield 21 000 units. This would require debt investment funding of R3.6-billion.
The social housing projects are meant for beneficiaries earning between R1 500 and R15 000 monthly, while those who earn less than the minimum amount qualify for fully subsidised government housing or a breaking new ground (BNG) house.
Over the past six years, the Department of Human Settlements, through SHRA, has delivered close to 30 000 units mainly in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape.
“Through partnerships with the private sector, we have transformed the lives of our people over the years. As we face the social housing demand, we cannot turn to any other reliable partners than those who have shown interest in our work.
Our target delivery of over 30 000 units in the 2019 to 2024 Medium-Term Strategic Framework will only be possible if the private investors partner with us,” says Sisulu.
“Sixty-eight per cent of accredited social housing institutions are women controlled and I am encouraged that in 2020 we had some new women entries in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape venturing into the social housing sector. This is long overdue and we encourage other women to consider partnering with us to be accredited as social housing institutions,” Sisulu adds.
She has also called on the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works to make some land parcels available to the Department of Human Settlements to enable the speedy delivery of affordable housing in the City of Cape Town.
This comes after media reports that there has been a delay in the execution of social housing projects in the city as a result of land parcels which are yet to be transferred to the Department of Human Settlements.
In a separate statement, the SHRA emphasised that social housing development must remain a strategic priority for the government of South Africa, particularly as the country forges ahead with revitalising the economy.
Ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the National Address this week, SHRA CEO Rory Gallocher explains that the Covid-19 pandemic has provided a greater impetus for forging ahead with social housing development.
“Investing in infrastructure, particularly in housing development, underpins a healthy economy. The current crisis in South Africa, and the weighing fiscal deficit, emphasises the need for all stakeholders and investors to be even more proactive in ensuring we are able to deliver on the country’s social housing development needs,” he says.
With the current economic climate, the demand for affordable housing is increasing and this provides an opportunity to increase the much-needed employment opportunities through infrastructure development, says the SHRA.
“Social housing projects not only afford our fellow South Africans accommodation but also present opportunity for them to be the drivers of the economic activities,” says Gallocher.