Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi has given the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan a directive to provide informal settlement dwellers with adequate human rights services, including water and sanitation — in compliance with norms and standards — within seven days .
Kubayi gave the directive during an outreach programme, which saw the handing over of keys to newly built government-subsidised homes and title deeds to beneficiaries in Motherwell in Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape .
The visit on Wednesday formed part of the coordinated effort amongst the three spheres of government to effect province-wide interventions to accelerate the delivery of sustainable human settlements .
Kubayi said the three spheres of government and relevant agencies should present tangible responses to improve living conditions of various communities by the end of January 2024 .
Responding to various concerns raised by the community during an imbizo, Kubayi said the three spheres of government must find solutions to the inhumane conditions under which people live .
“We cannot have instances where people live in Temporary Residential Units (TRUs) with inadequate ablution facilities .
We can’t sit and watch injustice happen… we must intervene urgently,” the Minister said .
She noted some progress in the in-situ upgrading project in the metro, and acknowledged that more work needs to be done .
This includes proper verification processes, as “some people who demand housing in the projects may not necessarily qualify for fully subsidised government housing” .
“There cannot be repeat benefits, as the system automatically disqualifies anyone who owned a property before,” Kubayi reminded the applicants .
She said the Eastern Cape province has about 53 000 houses that require rectification .
“These are homes that predate democracy and also from the early days before the set norms and standards by the National Home Builders’ Registration Council (NHBRC) .
Due to limited financial constraints, the rectification programme will be undertaken in a phased manner,” Kubayi explained .
Warning against sale of government-subsidised houses
The Minister reiterated the warning to beneficiaries not to sell government-subsidised houses .
“The current Human Settlements policy is very clear on who should benefit from subsidised housing, and it does not include foreign nationals .
It takes R350 000 to build each house and you sell them for R15 000, and three months down the line you come back demanding housing from the government,” the Minister said .
The Minister also announced that she and Deputy Minister Pam Tshwete will conduct a verification programme, called Operation Ziveze, aimed at ascertaining that government-subsidised homes are occupied by their rightful owners .
Echoing the Minister’s sentiments, Tshwete warned residents about giving away their title deeds to loan sharks in exchange for quick, unsecured loans .
“I urge you to take care of your title deeds we are giving you today .
This is not just proof of ownership, but also an asset for your children .
The imbizo was part of a series of outreach programmes the Minister and Deputy Minister are embarking on to unlock challenges within the Human Settlements value chain .
Limpopo houses handover
Meanwhile, Kubayi and Tshwete will on Thursday hand over government-subsidised houses to the qualifying beneficiaries in Bela Bela Ext 25 in the Waterberg District Municipality, Limpopo .
The project is one of the informal settlements upgrading projects aimed at restoring the dignity of people living in informal settlements .
Bela Bela Extension 25 is expected to deliver over 1 000 housing units on completion .
The housing handover will precede the last meeting for this calendar year between the Ministry and MECs of Human Settlements (MINMEC) to reflect on the performance of the sector since the beginning of the 2023/24 financial year .
Discussions will include the release of land parcels for human settlement development, an update on government’s efforts to upgrade informal settlements across the country and the delivery of housing units, and progress on the title deeds campaign .