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Johannesburg is one of eight municipalities that have been accredited by the human settlements minister to build their own housing developments, without going through national or provincial departments first.
THE City of Joburg is one of eight metropolitan municipalities that can now administer the building of human settlements, without first having to consult the national or provincial housing departments.

 

Executive mayor Amos masondoAccreditation an important milestone for local government, says executive mayor Amos MasondoThis new way of doing things was introduced by Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale on Friday, 4 March.
 

The accreditation means the municipality can now make productive decisions on the development of housing in its jurisdiction, without consulting the national or provincial departments. This is in an effort to make building houses for the indigent more efficient.

Under the new model, the national and provincial housing departments will only monitor and evaluate the performance of municipalities and provide necessary support. Only eight metropolitan municipalities were accredited; among them are Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay and eThekwini.

It brings with a few functions, including increased housing subsidies, financial administration privileges and full administrative rights for all housing projects. The ministry said the accreditation sought to enhance the abilities of municipalities to plan for and provide integrated urban settlements and accelerate the development and provision of quality settlements.

“This marks a very important milestone for organised local government, particularly the housing sector and service delivery,” said Joburg Executive Mayor Amos Masondo at the announcement at Kameeldrift, in Tshwane.

“We have an opportunity now to ensure that the delivery of human settlements and housing in particular is in a dignified manner. Not only will we ensure that there are more houses, but that we do so in a manner that is committed to quality and efficiency.”

Informal settlements
Masondo said the City’s priority would be on eradicating and regularising informal settlements, which are mostly dotted around its outside edges. Joburg has more than 100 informal settlements, occupied mainly by migrants.

 

More houses will be builtMore houses will be built“The priority will be on the question of informal settlements. So you are likely to see more focus on the formalisation and regularisation of these,” he confirmed.
 

Sexwale said the main objective of accrediting municipalities was for them to have executive rights of administering the building of houses, to be accountable to their communities and to eradicate the backlog in the provision of housing.

Going into the future, Sexwale said municipalities should concentrate on building decent human settlements, in which people could live and play, and of which they could be proud. Even indigent communities needed to get the same amount of comfort in their government-built homes that he got from his luxurious Sandton home.

“We can’t keep dehumanising people,” said Sexwale, adding that his ministry’s plan was to eradicate the system of RDP houses and start building high-rise dwellings because they were viewed as decent human settlements. High-rise dwellings would save space and increase reciprocity among occupants.

However, the main focus should be on deracialising the building of settlements and moving away from the apartheid style of spatial planning, placing people according to racial groups and away from economic nodes.

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