Lindiwe Sisulu, the Human Settlements Minister has debunked claims that government cannot continue to give out RDP homes, specifying that the government will continue to provide housing for all needy South Africans.
Reports circulated last week that the Minister, at a press conference during the Habitat III Thematic Meeting on Informal Settlements in Tshwane, insinuated that the new measures her department was coming up with, will stop government from building RDP homes.
Sisulu said that her ministry has structured a new financing model in which the state would provide people under 40 with subsidies so that they can build houses themselves.
As quoted, Sisulu said:
“We cannot continue giving out free houses anymore. We’ll give people subsidies so that they can build houses themselves…Giving free houses creates a dependency syndrome.”
Responding to the media reports, the Human Settlements Ministry pointed-out that the media distorted the remarks Sisulu made at the press conference.
Speaking, the minister asserted that “everyone has a right to have access to adequate housing as stated in our Constitution, which adds that ‘the State must take reasonable legislative and other measures within its available resources to achieve the progressive realization of this right’.”
But then, she indicated that South Africa like other nations of the world, is experiencing serious economic constraints and that there competing demands like providing health, education, transport, safety and security services which the government can’t ignore.
She nevertheless, iterated that the “government will continue to prioritize delivery of houses for the needy such as child headed households, elderly and disabled people.
“We will never deviate from this,” Sisulu promised highlighting that rapid urbanization is hampering government’s goals to eradicate informal settlements in the country.
Based on what she said, over 1.8 million people in the country still live in informal settlements. With that, she related that the department hopes to eradicate poverty by 2014 via a total elimination of slumps in the country.
“You would have seen however even when you were driving to this venue and throughout the country that we were not able to fulfill that pledge, if anything we are worried that this is a matter we will not be able to fulfill in a life time.
But we still have given ourselves a goal and we believe when we set a target it gives us a guiding light of what we need to do and determines the pace which we need to deliver,” she added.
Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) is a South African socio-economic policy framework implemented by the “African National Congress” (ANC) government of “Nelson Mandela” in 1994 after months of discussions, consultations and negotiations between the ANC, its alliance partners – the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party, and “mass organisations in the wider civil society”
One of the most important aims of these free RDP houses is to meet the basic needs of our people. The government is doing this for the people knowing that almost half of our people do not have such basic things as jobs, houses and medical care.