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2008-09-11: Building sustainable human settlements

THE City of Johannesburg has committed itself to building 100 000 houses over three years as part of its programme to "build sustainable human settlements."

Speaking at the launch of the Pennyville Housing Project near New Canada Station, the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg Cllr Amos Masondo said the provision of housing is a "critical challenge" for the city where the population is growing with between three and four percent per year.

The Pennyville project will provide 3 200 housing opportunities across the entire range of housing options. The new housing will eradicate the Zamimpilo informal settlement and also provide housing opportunities for the Orlando East backyard dwellers as well as beneficiaries from the Riverlea, Noordgesig and Westbury communities.

The 3 200 housing opportunities include:

Fully subsidised RDP units = 1600 for Zamimpilo qualifiers and surrounding communities
JOHSCO affordable rental units = 600 rooms with shared facilities;
JOSHCO social housing units = 200; and
Middle and high-income rental provided by others = 800 units.
Mayor Masondo said Johannesburg has increased its housing budget by 130% over the past financial year. The housing budget for 2008/2009 now stands at R720 million.

The City has also embarked on a comprehensive process to formalise all of the 182 informal settlements in Johannesburg. During the current financial year 50 such settlements will be formalised.

The conversion of hostels into self-contained family units is another key focus area. To date, 336 units have been completed and an additional 1160 units will be delivered by the end of the financial year.

The demand for rental housing is on the increase and the city has set itself a target to deliver 15 000 rental housing units by the year 2010.

Mayor Masondo said while it is important to prioritise housing delivery, "housing alone does not build communities."

The new Pennyville development also includes a four-classroom crèche and a library while a school and clinic will be built in the area before the end of 2009. The New Canada Station is being upgraded to become a full passenger station.

The Pennyville project is already employing about 150 local people, from Zamimpilo, Orlando East, Riverlea, Noordgesig and Westbury. These numbers will grow as the project gathers momentum and skills training are being provided to those involved.

"We continue to strive for, and remain committed to, the creation of sustainable human settlements and communities," said Mayor Masondo.