South Africa pledges 1.5 million new homes – “biggest construction site in Africa”

The South African government has pledged to build 1.5 million new homes by the end of its term of office in 2019, making the country the "biggest construction site in Africa".

It plans to pursue "mega" housing projects and use them to boost skills development.

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said on Tuesday that South Africa currently had a housing deficit that affected 2.3 million families, Engineering News reported.

We will build close to 270,000 houses yearly as a sector– South Africa’s Human Settlements Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu

"South Africa is about to become the biggest construction site in Africa and, most probably, in the developing world.

We will build close to 270 000 houses yearly as a sector," she told the media at a prebudget briefing, adding that the building of houses must be a catalyst for skills development and job creation.

She said that the country had managed to build this volume of houses before at the height of implementing a government strategy called Breaking New Ground.

But it will be different this time, she said. "We need to move from small projects of 200 houses to megaprojects [involving an] integrated housing mix to cater for different incomes and needs," Sisulu said.

She said urgent systemic interventions had to be implemented, including immediate actions that would be taken over the next 100 days, including the identification of 50 national priority projects that would deliver mega integrated and sustainable human settlements.

Further, to celebrate women’s month, her department would build 1,956 houses in each province between August and December – "by women for women", Sisulu said.

The Department of Human Settlements will set up a dedicated unit to fast-track title deeds to realise the value of the "dead assets" that were "in the hands of our people," she added.

Read the Engineering News article

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