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‘We have a land plan’

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“The action which will be taken now will be the capturing of all individuals in informal settlements on the housing needs register.”

A TEAM WITHA PLAN. Picture: Danie van der Lith

“DON’T worry, we have a plan. All we ask for is patience.” This was the response from the Sol Plaatje Municipality after a memorandum was handed over by hundreds of city residents last month.

In the memorandum, informal settlers called for all unoccupied land to be given to residents.

Yesterday, the chairperson of the Sol Plaatje Municipality’s human settlements committee, Ronnie Morwe, said that the municipality has put together a team of officials from housing development, housing administration, town planning and infrastructure to come up with an integrated plan to deal with the urgent need for human settlement.

“This will include a number of areas that are currently earmarked for development and those targeted for future development,” Morwe said.

He, however, pleaded with city residents to work with the municipality on the issue of land.

“We have a plan which we will take forward and present to council by the end of November 2019. We will be communicating the plan to all residents. It is anticipated that a plan will be developed to accommodate in the region of 5 000 to 6 000 households as part of our intervention strategy in the medium term,” Morwe said.

He added that all the preparatory work would be done and all the details of the plan would be ready by the end of November.

“The action which will be taken now will be the capturing of all individuals in informal settlements on the housing needs register.”

The housing list will also be “nationalised” to ensure that the most vulnerable get preference.

“What must be remembered, is that the most vulnerable will get preference. Not those who already have houses and just erect structures which they hire out.”

The municipality will be using the data to develop an intervention plan for the development of human settlements.

“We will also be initiating the land registration processes through the surveyor general’s office in order to access funding for development.”

These interventions, Morwe said, are aimed at both Breaking New Ground (BNG) and Financial Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (Flisp) individuals. “We need to avail land for the lower- to middle-income earners and ensure that land is available at a very reasonable cost. In cases of Flisp, no land will be sold to developers as this has the effect of increasing the cost of land.”

Morwe pointed out that the plan is to create a platform for the development of up to 15 000 potential sites for future developments and to ensure that preparatory work is done in the next five years. “We want to do this to ensure that we do not have a crisis such as the present one.”

He went on to say that they will be engaging with the community with regard to these plans.

Morwe also reminded residents that councillors are policy makers and are therefore not in a position to give land to any one.

Those who wanted land, he said, will need to go through the proper channels and apply to the municipality.

“There is a waiting list currently that we are working on to ensure that it is ITC compliant. But we can’t abide with lawlessness where people occupy the land without the necessary authority and consent.”