Lifting of lockdown regulations to accommodate the construction and services
I’ve written to the National Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, to seek clarity about whether Human Settlements construction projects are covered by the levels five and four of the listed services, as we are of the view that it should. The clarity is critical , to ensure we are all on the same page.
The draft framework, which details the staggered lifting of lockdown restrictions, the Construction and related services (including tradespeople), “civil engineering for public works projects (including water, energy and sanitation)” and “critical public works construction” are included under level five; and then “other public works civil engineering projects” is added under level four.
After the President’s announcement that lockdown regulations will on 1 May 2019 be relaxed from level 5 to level 4 and where certain sectors in the economy would be allowed to operate, the Western Cape Government (WCG) made submissions to the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), including a request that the construction industry be allowed to operate.
There’s an urgent need from the entire WCG to re-commence with construction, as it will enable us to, at the very least, assist the most vulnerable, which is the elderly, disabled and backyard dwellers.
Notwithstanding the lockdown regulations and our collective effort to ensure we stop the spread of COVID-19, while also taking the social, health and economic impacts into consideration, we’ve proposed the following:
- The consideration of the re-activation of certain construction sites during lockdown period, which include Greenfields sites and portions of construction sites which have not yet been occupied by households.
- Allowing low density construction sites to operate, where social distancing and other public health practices can be enforced.
- Allowing service providers who are involved in the planning, costing and design of infrastructure projects and who are mainly office-bound to be considered for activation in the lockdown period.
The return of the Human Settlement Construction is critical if we are to swiftly, as part of our Rapid Informal Settlement Support and Upgrade Programme (RISSUP), complete the erection of our Transitional Residential Units (TRU’s) in the Permanent Residential Areas (PRA’s). These PRA’s will be established on pieces of land in DuNoon and the Greater Kosovo areas, so that the informal settlements in these areas can be re-blocked.
We will also be in a better position as a department to conclude critical work on some of our units that are close to completion. This will ensure that those who are so desperately in need of a housing opportunity and that’s patiently been waiting, is afforded the opportunity to move into their brand-new homes.
As the Western Cape Government, we remain committed to accelerating human settlement delivery, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, resilient, safe and sustainable human settlements in an open opportunity society.