Zille slams housing laws

It is "unbelievably difficult" for provinces to meet housing targets under the current legal framework, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said on Monday.

"Within this legal framework, it's going to be unbelievably difficult to achieve what we know we can achieve and what we know we must achieve," she said.

She was speaking in Cape Town at the release of the province's human settlements strategy, which aimed to increase the number of serviced sites it provided from 18 000 this year to 31 000 in 2014/15.

The province had a housing backlog of just under 500 000.

Zille said a housing project at Pelican Park on the Cape Flats had been initiated before the city's soccer World Cup stadium got under way.

Easiest part of all

"The stadium's finished, the World Cup's come and gone, and we haven't put a spade in the ground in Pelican Park yet for the houses," she said.

"And we have dedicated project managers who have been driving these [settlement] projects flat out."

Zille said providing the actual serviced site or a top structure was the easiest part of all.

The holdups lay in acquiring land and taking a project through all the environmental impact assessment (EIA) and other bureaucratic processes at local and provincial level.

"That's why I went to President Zuma with this whole fat document saying, unless you fix these laws, unless you withdraw all of these constraints, we can't do what you want us to do or what we know we have to do."

Last month she sent Zuma 70 pages of recommendations for amendments to what she described as the "brick wall of bureaucracy, law and regulation" that she said obstructed provincial and municipal service delivery.

'We can have a vision'

She said on Monday that Pelican Park was zoned appropriately and had even had a previous EIA, but this had lapsed because the process took so long.

"So we can have a vision, but unless the laws are able to facilitate us, and unless the lengthy public participation processes do not allow people to block what we know we have to do, it's .... very difficult to achieve what we want to achieve," she said.

Provincial housing minister Bonginkosi Madikizela said the province intended to increase the "mean gross density" of new settlement projects in municipalities where land was scarce from 35 units per hectare this year to 50 by 2013/14.

The province was focusing on providing serviced sites because it believed it could provide more "housing opportunities" that way, from its R1.0-billion settlements budget, than through completed homes for relatively few beneficiaries.

Sapa

Article from: www.iafrica.com