The Department of Human Settlements has budgeted more than R650-million to prepare identified portions of land in Gauteng for expropriation without compensation.
Human Settlements MEC Dikgang Uhuru Moiloa said on Monday that the province’s rapid land release programme, launched in May, would yield 98 000 sites for expropriation without compensation.
“The Gauteng Department of Human Settlements has identified 89 ha of municipal, provincial and national owned land. This is excluding land still to be identified by municipalities,” he said.
He noted that the department was working towards a faster way to identify unused land in private hands for expropriation for public interest.
“The Cabinet committee is hard at work identifying suitable portions of land in the five development corridors of Gauteng. Premier David Makhura will soon make an announcement on the way forward, including testing Section 25 of the Constitution on expropriation of land without compensation for public interest,” Moiloa said.
He highlighted that the process of “real restitution of land to the dispossessed” had begun in earnest, adding that…“soon we will all see decisive action to expropriate the land without compensation for public interest and the greater welfare of society.”
Moiloa was speaking at a media briefing in Johannesburg, where he also said that government would ensure that 10% of the R5.046-billion of the Human Settlements Development grant for 2018/19 would be implemented through Alternative Building Technologies (ABT).
This initiative, he stated, was part of the national policy towards Transformation, Modernisation and Reindustrialisation (TMR) of human settlements and built environment.
“ABTs demonstrate significant value-adding attributes to construction and, according to several studies, have the potential to radically transform the landscape of the Gauteng city region and create new entrepreneurs in alternative construction methods, while changing and beautifying the face of our province and country,” he said.
Moiloa pointed out that awareness campaigns on the quality of ABT would be embarked on and that it was his intention to convene an international exhibition on ABT to tap from the wide range of variances on how housing industrialisation works and also how it could benefit and expand the entrepreneur base in construction.
“The ABT, if well managed, can add impetus to our task of rapid serviced land release, formalisation of informal settlements and rapid eradication of informal settlements,” he said.
He further noted that the department was strongly considering the use of ABT to undertake hostel redevelopment.
“This will allow for speedy delivery of modern, safe and strong building structures that are in line with the green agenda. Redevelopment of hostels should be in line with modernisation pillar of the TMR,” he said.
He stressed that more needed to be done to improve the living conditions of hostel residents.
Owing to prolonged state of neglect, Moiloa noted that hostels had become health hazards and a physical danger to people living in and around them.
“The implementation of the Community Residential Unit (CRUs) as a housing product for hostel residents encountered many challenges, including unaffordable rentals by hostel residents,” he said, adding that the specifications laid ground for expensive designs that eventually yielded CRU products that were unaffordable for the intended beneficiaries.
This was further compounded by inadequate stakeholder engagement and poor social facilitation processes, Moiloa stated.
“As a response to the challenges faced by hostel dwellers, a political steering committee for hostels was established, which will oversee redevelopment in hostels.”
Touching on informal settlements, Moiloa noted that R2.6-billion has been allocated for a programme to eradicate portable chemical toilets in informal settlements and replace them with water-borne ablution and sanitation infrastructure, designed to provide toilet facilities, showers, laundry and washing spaces in each facility.
He added that this would yield 9 842 sites and that the projects were currently piloted in Bekkersdal and Evaton.
“The provision of formal houses for informal settlement residents is not moving fast enough, and the department will ensure that while people wait for formal housing, basic services in informal settlements are being improved.”
The MEC further stated that the programme would not only improve the quality of life of people in informal settlements, but also create job opportunities for local people, decrease diseases associated with lack of proper water and sanitation and eradicate environmental degradation.