Housing backlog remains critical

Adding to the problem is that the population of Ekurhuleni is currently growing at a rate of between three and four per cent every year

HOUSING remains one of the critical service delivery challenges Ekurhuleni Metro faces.

Speaking at the recent Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Human Settlements Summit, executive mayor Mondli Gungubele admitted a lot still has to be done to alleviate the housing backlog.

Adding to the problem is that the population of Ekurhuleni is currently growing at a rate of between three and four per cent every year.

“In Ekurhuleni alone, we have 119 informal settlements with 162 000 people living in these settlements, thus making us arguably an area with one of the largest number of informal settlements in the country. In addition, we have about 240 000 residents living in backyards,” he said.

Gunguble said over the past 10 years the metro had allocated no more than 2 000 houses for people on the waiting list, while they had provided almost 97 000 residents living in informal settlements with access to housing opportunities.

“In addition, we have not been successful in the provision of housing opportunities for families wanting to rent. In the past 20 years our rental housing company has delivered only 998 rental opportunities.

“However, I will be the first to point out that in the past 20 years significant strides have been made to deal with the issue of providing our people with proper shelter. Today over three million houses have been built around the country and over 12 million people now have a place they can call home.

“In Ekurhuleni, we have constructed about 89 000 houses and serviced 127 000 stands. A proud achievement indeed, but more still needs to be done,” Gungubele said.

“In line with the President’s vision, it therefore becomes imperative that a key issue which our plans must address is the need to not only spatially transform our towns and cities but our suburbs as well. In this we must ensure that we de-racialise as well as integrate our various income groups.

Achievements of the metro, according to its latest report, include:

• 125 695 stands have been provided with services

• 96 081 housing top structures have been built

• In the region of about 2 000 hectares of land have been purchased for housing

• 988 social housing units have been built and delivered in the affordable category

• Three hostels have been upgraded and refurbished; two more are currently planned for redevelopment

• A number of council owned rental units maintained and households provided with accommodation: 24 hostels with 445 26 beds, 38 blocks of flats comprising 2 179 housing units, 15 old age homes consisting of 1 240 residents.

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