Big gap in housing market needs to be addressed

Big gap in housing market needs to be addressed


The department of Human Settlements will keep on 'dousing fires' unless it addresses the housing market gap of people who earn too much to deserve Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) houses, but too little to qualify for mortgages.

This gap refers to public servants who earn between R3 500 and R15 000 a month, including entry-level police officers, nurses and teachers.

According to members of Parliament's human settlements portfolio committee, the building of houses on illegally sold state land in Lenasia pointed to a bigger problem that needed to be nipped in the bud.

The department's top officials heard this yesterday when they appeared before the committee to brief MPs on progress made in Lenasia.

However, officials said the department's efforts were being hampered by some Lenasia residents who continued to illegally build houses at night.

They said they feared this land invasion could spread to other parts of the country. Last year, former human settlements minister Tokyo Sexwale promised to get to the bottom of the illegal sale of Lenasia stateowned land by criminals. This was after illegally built houses were demolished, sparking a public outcry. Several people were later arrested or charged.

Committee chairwoman Nomhle Dambuza said the Lenasia saga was a symptom of the department's failure to address a policy gap: how to accommodate the housing needs of junior civil servants. 'What is your programme doing about making sure that we don't get to this scenario again? What happened in Joburg (referring to Lenasia) is going to happen in East London,' she predicted.

Dambuza said it was unacceptable that the courts had to force the state to provide services, as was the case in Lenasia.

Khwezi Ngwenya, Sexwale's former legal adviser, said the axed minister had established a special task team to find a 'legal and amicable solution'.

Mona Molepo, of the National Home Builders Registration Council, said many of the illegally built Lenasia houses were below standard.

The department said seven people had been arrested, and the Hawks were expected to make further arrests.

The Star

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Denny Crane

Denny Crane
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