The Department of Human Settlements will in this financial year implement its affordable housing programme in mining communities in partnership with mining companies.

Human Settlements Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, made the announcement during a Human Settlement and Exhibition Indaba currently underway at Durban Exhibition Centre.

Held under the theme, ‘Transforming Human Settlements environment through accelerated planning, implementation and public-private partnership’, the two-day Indaba, which started on Sunday, aims to mobilise private investors, academia, NGOs and traditional leaders to partner with government to accelerate the delivery of sustainable human settlements across the country.

Addressing the delegates, Kubayi said to strengthen partnership with mining companies, the department is currently developing a partnership framework between government and mining companies that will guide the joint design and implementation of partnership projects in identified municipalities.

Over R500m to support bulk infrastructure projects

The Minister announced that a total ring-fenced budget of R548 million has been allocated to provinces in the 2022 DORA (Division of Revenue Act) Framework to support the implementation of bulk infrastructure projects in mining communities.

In the context of competing developmental priorities and funding constraints, Kubayi said that a revision of policies, grant architecture and funding mechanisms is required to improve funding sources within State housing programmes.

“Necessarily, this undertaking will require an analysis of the grant architecture and project pipeline. An analysis of the current grant architecture, funding streams spend and allocation will reveal to what extent existing grants are being utilised, underutilised, and optimally used.

“The mapping of allocation and spend patterns will provide valuable insights into identifying specific intervention areas. In addition, the analysis can provide insight into whether the relevant grant frameworks need amendments or improvements, or overhaul of the entire housing and human settlement government grant and funding structure,” Kubayi said, adding that the process has already started.

Improving quality of current project pipeline

The Minister also emphasised a need to significantly improve the quality of current project pipeline, to address the existing housing backlog.

She said an analysis of the pipeline is necessary in determining how the quality of projects in different stages can be improved.

“Through this analysis projects in planning, shovel ready projects and projects in implementation can be identified for targeted interventions and improvements. This will also provide insight into areas where institutional arrangements can be strengthened to accelerate delivery.

“The Department of Human Settlements and its entities are working closely with the Infrastructure Fund and the Development Bank of South Africa to improve the quality of the pipe line and this work already yielding results,” the Minister said.

She added that the Integrated Residential Development Programme (IRDP) is challenged with bulk infrastructure constraints and attracting private sector funding, noting that “it is only when a project matures that it is able to overcome these challenges”.

One of the interventions identified for accelerating delivery within this programme is to fast track the implementation of the bulk infrastructure required by these developments at scale. The Bulk Infrastructure Funding and Financing intervention can be developed and implemented in the short term, 6 months to 1 year.

“The reality is that the rapidly rising rate of urbanisation will continue to put pressure on the housing delivery system in cities and also lead to the increasing number of informal settlements. Our Informal Settlements Upgrading Programme is currently underperforming and there is a need to think about better ways to implement this programme,” Kubayi said.

Beyond the pressing need for the provision of basic services in a manner and speed that does not violate human rights is the rising need for urban land for human settlement, she added.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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