Minister Simmers meets UN Habitat Executive Director Ms Maimunah Moh’d Sharif
Western Cape Minister of Infrastructure, Tertuis Simmers, together with City of Cape Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis and Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Malusi Booi, had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with the UN Habitat Executive Director Ms Maimunah Moh’d Sharif during her stay in Cape Town as part of her South African visit ahead of the Launch of the Global Action Plan on Informal Settlement and Slums.
UN Habitat Executive Director Ms Maimunah Moh’d Sharif was scheduled to visit various human settlement projects in Cape Town to see the Western Cape Government’s efforts and achievements in providing housing opportunities, and facilitating the upgrading of informal settlements, as a means to address poverty, shelter, basic services, and incremental human settlement development through community participation.
Ms Sharif commented that affordable housing is one of UN Habitat’s priorities which was endorsed by the executive board in March 2022. “When you bring affordable housing to the people, you also bring basic services like water, electricity, cleanliness, jobs, and health services. In affordable housing, we should put forward the integrated approach.”
Ms Sharif highlighted the importance of partnership between the public and private sector in accelerating the delivery of human settlements. She said, “We cannot just get government alone to solve the housing problem. We must have the right formula to attract private sector to deliver a certain social responsibility for them to invest and take care of the people where they invest. Bringing in private sector is one of the answers to providing affordable housing.”
Minister Simmers assured Executive Director Sharif of the Provincial Government’s commitment to deliver affordable and accessible housing. Minister Simmers informed Ms Sharif about the Conradie Park mixed-income, mixed-use housing development, which is an ‘exemplar’ for the Better Living Model.
Minister Simmers said, “Conradie Park is the example of all 3 spheres of government and private sector working together. The land belongs to Provincial Government and we leveraged our partnership with the City of Cape Town to access grant funding. The main focus of the project is affordable housing. In Conradie Park you find social housing, which is a rental option at a reduced cost, and there is also the Help Me Buy A Home programme which assists with ownership. The Help Me Buy a Home programme assists first-time home buyers that has access to bonds, while government steps in to provide state funded assistance to reduce the bond cost.”
Minister Simmers highlighted the role of private sector in the Conradie Park development. He said, “I must say private sector is key; they are driving the development process. The sod-turning of the development was in 2019, 3 years later you will be amazed at the progress.”
Minister Simmers further said “The provincial data at our disposal indicates that we need to focus on different forms of affordable housing. Partnership between private and public sector is key and Conradie Park is a blueprint which we now, as Provincial Government, seek to implement across the Western Cape.”