AFRICANGLOBE – The “deracialising” of South African suburbs is a priority, South Africa’s Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale said on Wednesday.
Opening debate on his department’s R28.1 billion 2013/14 budget, he told MPs it would take “gigantic efforts, over a long period” to undo this legacy of White apartheid social engineering.
“Top of the list of all budgetary challenges that confront the entire country is that of having to tackle the unique question of deracialising residential space.”
Sexwale said his department’s “residential deracialisation strategy” was underpinned by seven elements.
These included “to deracialise White suburbs by continuing to oblige banks, through the Home Loan and Mortgage Disclosure Act, to provide loans to Black people desiring to buy properties in White areas…”.
His department was also spearheading – through its Social Housing Regulatory Authority – the purchase of high-rise office buildings in the centres of many major towns and cities.
“We are refurbish these offices, transform them into family units, and… (make) them available… (to) beneficiaries. This housing is popular among young couples, students and single mothers.”
His department had acquired inner-city land from other government departments, which had been used for settling families. Land outside the cities had been bought for the same purpose.
“This is earmarked at integrating people within the expanding outer city parameters, to position them within walking distance of vital amenities and facilities.”
Tokyo Sexwale said the upgrading of existing townships could not be neglected.
“We cannot neglect the Mamelodis, Sowetos, Umlazis… these are being upgraded,” he said.
On the provision of sanitation, Sexwale said the persistence of the bucket system in many parts of the country was unacceptable.
“It is totally unacceptable that although we provide funds, responsible government entities and certain municipalities fail to even build a simple toilet, while there is a serious stench of the bucket system in some parts of the country,” he said.
Earlier this month, Sexwale said his department would not meet the December 2014 deadline for eliminating the sanitation backlog.
Government’s original deadline to end the bucket system, the sanitation solution of last resort for millions of South Africans, was 2007.
Sexwale has indicated that eliminating it will take a further two to three years.
By: Richard Davies