EASTERN CAPE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT HAMPERED BY LACK OF LAND PLANNING

Housing development in the Eastern Cape is being hampered by a lack of planning. Only three municipalities have conducted audits to find suitable land for housing. The lack of audited land information for housing development menas that the figure of 111 000 households in the Eastern Cape who lived in informal settlements in 2010 and the 20 000 households who lived in backyard shacks will not decrease, as more people seek land to live on.  Of concern is that such people have little prospect of access to proper housing, keeping them trapped in poverty.

In response to a parliamentary question I sent to the MEC for Human Settlements I was informed that only the Nelson Mandela Bay- and Buffalo City Metros and King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality had conducted such audits in the province. For the response, click here:

iqp housing land audit

This lack of land auditing will further curtail the development of sustainable integrated human settlements for the province. According to the latest General Household Survey of Stats South Africa, the proportion of households who lived in informal dwellings was stagnant in the Eastern Cape for the period 2002-2010.

A total of 7.4 % of households of this province live in informal settlements. The lack of planning by individual municipalities and the Eastern Cape Department of Housing poses a serious threat to sustained short-term housing development in the province.

Of particular concern is that because this province is essentially rural, a lack of land planning and auditing will have dire consequences for the establishment of rural housing development.

The lack of land auditing causes the misalignment of service delivery in the development of integrated human settlements.  For instance, a huge housing development to the North Eastern side of Booysens Park in Port Elizabeth is currently being built with 5 300 households already accommodated. No provision has been made for the needs of learners. For the last two years residents have been asking constantly for schools to be built. Based on the number of households, four primary- and two secondary schools at the national norms of 800 households per primary and 1 000 households per secondary school should have been provided.

The provincial housing department should be capacitating all municipalities to undergo land audits to identify land parcels that can be used for integrated settlements.

The department is still placing too much emphasis on building RDP houses away from community facilities and this practice must stop.

Unless the department facilitates a major drive in all municipalities in this financial year to assist with land audits, housing development will continue to operate like a rudderless ship with no clear plan ahead.

The department needs to assist municipalities with capacity to deal with this vital task.

I will be raising the seriousness of this issue in my budget speech on Human Settlements in the Bhisho Legislature later this month and will be asking the MEC, Helen August-Sauls, to inform us all how her department will deal with this issue this year.