By Kobus Botha (MPL), Shadow MEC for Human Settlements:
The ANC government continues to fail to make significant inroads to reduce the growing 600 000 housing unit backlogs in the province.
The province requires a range of social housing projects to accommodate various housing product designs that will meet the spatial and affordability requirements of the people of the province.
Social housing is generally medium-density that makes a strong contribution to urban renewal and integration.
It is of concern that the ANC governed Eastern Cape has only managed to secure two approved restructuring zones in the province for social housing developments since 2011, namely Buffalo City and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. The delays also effects much needed job creation in the construction industry and assotiated retail and service industry.
Municipalities need to apply for approval from the National Department of Human Settlements before they can engage in large scale social housing developments in their area of jurisdiction.
We must move from small projects of 200 houses to mega projects of integrated housing mix to cater for different incomes and needs with speedy approval of applications.
In a response to a parliamentary question, Human Settlements MEC Helen Sauls-August said that only seven municipalities out of 45 has applied for the much needed social housing development projects restructuring zones. The seven applications originate from Buffalo City, requesting an expansion of the zone to include King Williams Town and Bhisho, King Sabatha Dalindyebo municipality, Camdeboo, Lukhanji, Mnquma, Kouga and NMB municipality.
The application and approval process requires applicant municipalities to demonstrate their capacity to plan, implement, and maintain projects.
The speedy approval of applications will enable local municipalities to engage in large scale social housing delivery projects.
I will be writing to my DA counterpart at national parliament as to establish why there is a delay in awarding of approval.