Minister of Human Settlements Mmamoloko Kubayi on Friday tabled the policy agenda that her department plans to commence with on April 1, with a particular focus on solar panels in rural settlements.
The Minister proclaimed that changes would be made to the subsidy quantum, fully subsidised houses (RDP houses), and the emergency housing programme which responds to natural disasters.
Solar panels will now be fitted onto every RDP house while maintaining access to basic electricity. The department will be collaborating with a team from the University of Johannesburg to focus on the provision of solar panels in rural settlements.
Given building material inflation, which was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 civil unrest, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, as well as electricity supply challenges, the country faces an increase in the cost of projects.
The department announced a 29% increase in the subsidy quantum for the 2023/24 financial year.
The adjustment will ensure that the pace of delivery is accelerated and that the quality of homes provided to beneficiaries is up to standard.
There will be an increase in social housing, from 327 667 to 424 904, as well as an increase in housing for the disabled, from 209 071 to 271 166.
Kubayi stressed the importance of continuous development through the improvement of basic services to rural households and avoiding the abandonment of these types of projects.
Apart from the prevalence of incomplete projects, she warned that construction companies would find it hard to survive if the issue was not addressed.
“Working with the security cluster, as well as community forums, are a few of the ways the department vows to deal with the prevalence of the construction mafia and the burglary of homes which house vulnerable members of society,” she stated.
Kubayi also acknowledged the importance of building houses on adequate land given that many homes were previously built on land that was not suitable, resulting in destruction during severe floods.
From April 1, an Emergency Housing Command Centre will commence with its mandate to respond immediately to natural disasters affecting housing. The Command Centre can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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