Government has, since 1994, worked hard to ensure that South Africans have a decent place to call home.
Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has launched a national campaign to celebrate 4.3 million houses and housing opportunities being delivered since the dawn of democracy.
The campaign celebrates an achievement that has seen more than 20 million people getting a roof over their heads. The launch was held at Cosmo City Multipurpose Complex in Johannesburg recently.
It coincided with the 10th anniversary of the Cosmo City Integrated Mixed Development Programme, which has resulted in the completion of 12 500 mixed income houses and 70 000 families moving into the area.
Cosmo City has all the elements of inclusive housing namely, schools, clinic, shopping mall, library and a fire station that is currently under construction, with its completion expected in December this year.
Minister Sisulu was accompanied by Gauteng Human Settlements, MEC Paul Mashatile who visited a number of projects in the area.
Giving South Africans a place to call home
Minister Sisulu said the delivery of 4.3 million houses and housing opportunities is a real milestone in a country where there is great need. She said this is in keeping with the promise of the Freedom Charter to provide housing for the people.
“Today is a celebration of investing in our commitment to construct a different future. It is also a celebration of the collaboration between government, the private sector and banks,” said Minister Sisulu.
While acknowledging that there have been difficult times in the housing sector, which are likely to persist, Minister Sisulu said she is confident things would turn around.
“Nothing is more gratifying than for all of us here today to see our dreams so wonderfully matured, especially at a time when the clouds of economic gloom hover above our heads with remarkable obstinacy. It is perhaps fitting that we remind ourselves of the many wonderful things taking place in our beautiful country.”
She said they chose Cosmo City to launch the celebration campaign because it is the most advanced in the department’s projects and it has all the elements of inclusive housing that they want to see.
“Cosmo City is a representative of what the human settlements should be,” said Minister Sisulu.
Cosmo City is part of a range of initiatives the department has undertaken since 2004. Other projects include the N2 Gateway housing project in Cape Town and Cornubia in Durban.
The breakdown of the 4.3 million housing opportunities includes 2.8 million RDP and BNG [Breaking New Ground] houses, 986 000 serviced sites, 360 000 Enhanced Extended Discount Benefit Scheme, 68 640 Community Residential Units, 121 000 social housing and 6 000 finance linked houses.
Cosmo City resident Sphiwe Dela thanked government for making sure that people live in decent houses.
“It’s important to celebrate this achievement and also understand where you come from as a community.”
Cosmo City ward 100 councillor P Maisha said: “To us, this is a historic event. Cosmo City is a promised land in so many respects and we are the direct beneficiaries of new democracy.”
MEC Mashatile said Cosmo City is a good model of a human settlement, where people with varying income can all live.
“It’s good to see the journey that has been travelled. It’s not only government coming in with subsidy money but the private sector is also coming in because they build the bond houses and shopping malls. This is what we are going to be doing all over the country,” said MEC Mashatile.