Housing agency to be functional by year end

Johannesburg – The Housing Development Agency, which aims to double the number of houses being built, will be fully operational by the end of the year, says Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

“The Bill was passed by the parliament’s housing portfolio committee and I hope it would be up and running by June,” she said told BuaNews when asked about the progress on the project’s implementation.

The agency, which was announced by the department during the social cluster briefing earlier this year, she said will develop, manage and coordinate housing development countrywide.

Speaking to BuaNews at the Rand Show while interacting with the public, Minister Sisulu said the agency would help the department to meet its target of eradicating informal settlements by 2014.

The minister said the agency will also be a facilitator between the department and banks which will help in the delivery of the department’s target.

This she said would be done by identifying and buying well-located and affordable land for low-income housing.

According to the department, while some two million low-cost houses have been built since 1994, it still faces a huge and increasing demand from about 2.4 million households in informal settlements.

The department has projected that delivery will increase to 265 000 houses in 2006/07, based on a conservative estimate of 30 percent growth in the final quarter.

However, the department adds that South Africa "urgently" needs to achieve a target of half a million houses a year.

In order to eradicate the housing backlog, annual delivery rates of more than 400 000 units are required, at a cost of between R345 and R548 billion, with costs decreasing as the delivery rate increases.

According to the department, a delivery rate of about 500 000 housing units per year would mean the backlog could be eradicated by 2014, at a cost of about R345 billion. – BuaNews

Supplied by BetterBond

Article by: Bathandwa Mbola