Minister Simmers engages municipal executives on human settlements matters
Today, the newly appointed Western Cape Minister of Infrastructure, Tertuis Simmers engaged Mayors, Deputy Mayors and MAYCO Members for Human Settlements from all Municipalities across the Province. This engagement which forms part of Minister Simmers’ annual outreach programme, sought to amongst others ensure that municipal executives are empowered with relevant information around the various amendments that have recently occurred within the human settlements space, as well as who is being prioritised for a Fully State subsidised/Breaking New Ground (BNG) house.
Amongst others and particularly in the Affordable Housing space, these amendments included the revised Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) that is now called ‘Help me Buy a Home,’ and how more residents with a household income between R 3 501 – R 22 000 can access this subsidy. Previously, residents had to first obtain a mortgage before they could apply for this subsidy. However, since 1 April this has now been delinked, which means that it can be accessed through other sources of funding.
1. Housing loans granted or guaranteed by a pension and provident fund.
2. Unsecured housing loans from any registered lender.
3. Housing loans granted or guaranteed by cooperative- or community-based savings scheme or stokvels as they’re commonly known.
4. Housing loans supported by employer-based schemes.
The qualification criteria for Social Housing has also been slightly amended from R 1 500 – R 15 000 to a gross monthly income of R 1 850 – R 22 000. This now ensures that more residents are able to access an opportunity within the rental space, since with this offer a beneficiary will never own the home. It is important to note that the rental payment in this option is 50% less than what is being charged within the market. The 50 Informal Settlements that have been identified for a variety of upgrade interventions through our Informal Settlements Upgrade Partnership Grant (ISUPG) were also highlighted. Pertaining to who could potentially qualify for a BNG unit, the criteria is:
- The elderly (60 years and older)
- Those living with a medically certified disability
- Those longest on the housing demand database (15 years and longer)
- Backyard dwellers (this is unique to the Western Cape)
- Military Veterans (Important to note that we only build the houses. The entire administration process is managed by the National Department of Military Veterans)
- Child-headed household (NB. Still awaiting clarity from the National Government)
It should be noted that these residents must be registered on the Housing Demand Database (HDD).
Minister Simmers said: “I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to all municipal executive members for their robust engagement as it pertains to human settlements. Municipalities are a critical cog in the delivery of human settlements opportunities and being in partnership with them is key for us. The engagement proved to be fruitful and our municipal executives are now better placed to take human settlements forward in their respective municipal areas.”
Minister Simmers continued: “I’m now looking forward to further engaging Councils across the province so that all Councillors and relevant officials are equally empowered with the correct information. Human settlements is a concurrent function and the more we work together, the more we will be able to ensure the swift delivery of housing opportunities.”