Home News Funds for housing project ‘insufficient’ – MEC

Funds for housing project ‘insufficient’ – MEC

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The MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs has indicated that the R1 billion that was allocated for housing projects in the NC would only see the construction of 600 housing units per year.

The MEC for Coghsta, Bentley Vass. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta), Bentley Vass, has indicated that without the R1 billion in funding that was allocated for housing projects in the Northern Cape, would only see the construction of 600 housing units per year.

At the sod-turning ceremony in Roodepan in January, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that 4,000 houses would be built across municipalities in the Province over the next 12 to 18 months.

DA provincial chairperson Isak Fritz is meanwhile concerned that the funds that were sourced by the provincial government through a Human Settlements Development Grant and a R600 million loan facility from the National Treasury and the Development Bank of Southern Africa, would attract projected interest payments of R94 million.

Members of the Central Northern Cape Business Forum marched to the Premier’s Office in Kimberley this week, demanding that only contractors, businesses and workers from Roodepan be employed on the R1 billion housing project.

While engaging with Namakwa district municipalities this week, Vass stated that the annual budget allocation from the Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG), was insufficient to cater for the housing needs of the entire Northern Cape.

“With the current budget allocation for the HSDG we would only construct 600 housing units per year. This limitation is a challenge that we are actively working to address.”

He added that the additional funding would enable the department to build 3,400 more houses per year than it typically constructed.“

He said he was actively advocating for a more favourable distribution of funds for the Province.

“There is ongoing tension with the national Human Settlements department during the Ministerial and MEC (MinMEC) meetings regarding the allocated funds.

“In consultation with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), we are determining the allocation of funds per municipality. It has become apparent that not all municipalities have the necessary bulk infrastructure in place.”

Vass explained that funds would have to be reallocated between municipalities to ensure that housing projects could proceed in areas where basic services were available.

“We cannot construct housing units in areas where essential services such as water, sanitation and electricity are non-existent. Individuals must have access to basic necessities,” he said.

Vass stated that they aimed to allocate resources in the most fair and equitable manner.

“A significant challenge we face is that some municipalities are not fully utilising their Municipal Infrastructure Grants (MIG). This makes it difficult to argue for an increased allocation of funds.

“It is important for municipalities to spend their allocated funds to strengthen our case for a larger budget allocation,” he added.

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