Western Cape Human Settlements budget of empowerment shared with Overberg
Over the last two days I’ve had the pleasure of engaging the Swellendam, Cape Agulhas, Overstrand and Theewaterskloof municipalities. These fruitful engagements, which occurred with full Councils, allowed me to share my plans for the budget of the Department of Human Settlements for the 2021/22 financial year, totalling more than R 2.35 billion.
During these visits I was accompanied by my senior executive team, including our Acting Head of Department, Ms Phila Mayisela. We highlighted the strategic priority areas of the Department, noting that our primary focus is on creating opportunities in the affordable housing market. The reality is that more than 70% of the province’s citizens are employed and would in all likelihood not qualify for a free, fully subsidised housing opportunity. This is because their household income could be between R 3 501 – R 22 000.
These affordable housing opportunities include the Non-Credit Linked-, Credit Linked- and Finance Linked Individual Subsidies (FLISP). It also includes the Credit Readiness Programme, which is linked to FLISP, which assists those currently seeking to acquire a property but who would first need to improve their impaired credit record.
We are also continuing to offer Breaking New Ground (BNG) free housing units for those earning between R 0 – R 3 500 per month, noting our clear stance that the elderly, people living with certified disabilities, those 15 years and longer on the Western Cape Housing Demand Database (WCHDD) and backyard dwellers will be prioritised.
Furthermore, our new Informal Settlements Upgrading Partnership Grant (ISUPG), which amounts to just over R 457 million for the entire province, is a people-centred and partnership-based approach to support informal settlement residents across the Western Cape. It will ensure that more than 74 000 households in various informal settlements across the province will experience an improvement in their area.
This programme will be implemented in Phola Park, Bredasdorp, which is located in the Cape Agulhas municipality. In Overstrand, it’ll be implemented in Gansbaai Masakhane and Schulphoek. In Theewaterskloof, we will roll it out in New France, Botrivier, Destiny Farm, Villiersdorp and Hillside, Grabouw.
These engagements have afforded me the opportunity to share and engage on our new refocused priority areas. I am extremely pleased that municipalities gave us the nod of approval and are in full support of what we’re doing, particularly since they can see the multiple benefits to them as the local authority. It is my hope that they will share the information we presented with their residents, so that we can maximise housing opportunities across our province.
I’d like to extend my gratitude and thanks to the various councils for the frank discussions. I remain committed to working hand-in-hand with local authorities, as they are a critical and strategic partner in the delivery of housing opportunities.
The engagements were further used to once again inform municipalities of their combined Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) and ISUPG allocations for the 21/22 financial year. The allocations are as follows:
- Swellendam: R 14.1 million
- Cape Agulhas: R 4.5 million
- Overstrand: R 112.5 million
- Theewaterskloof: R 62.9 million
I could also confirm that the fund we proposed previously, and now known as the Western Cape Asset Finance Reserve for Human Settlements, is finally a reality. This reserve has been created for human settlements to augment the insufficient Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) allocations in municipalities, as well as assist municipalities to unlock the value of strategic assets including land and buildings.
It will also assist with job creation initiatives, including developing business/industrial hubs and other initiatives. As part of the broader criteria to access the fund, municipalities should focus on creating affordable housing opportunities.
In due course, we will be returning to Cape Agulhas for an official sod turning ceremony of the deferred ownership pilot project.
We will continue to engage municipalities and stakeholders in other parts of the province. 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.