More families move into Belhar Gardens

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says the concept of social housing rental units is the way to go as the department intensifies its efforts to put a dent on the national housing backlog.

The Minister said this when she launched the Belhar Gardens Rental Estate, in Cape Town, on Friday.

"This is the future of Human Settlements where people actually take ownership of their property and pay for it, and we as government provide the necessary assistance for them to take responsibility.

"We want a fully participatory society where people will take themselves out of poverty and we want to help them do that. This is what we are going to be doing and concentrating on.

"So social housing is the way to go," the Minister said shortly after handing over keys to several beneficiaries.

Belhar Gardens will yield 629 rental units upon completion, with 192 allocated to primary beneficiaries earning less than R3 500 per month, and 437 units allocated to the secondary beneficiaries earning from R7 500 per month.

Construction at the R200 million estate commenced in January last year and phase one of the project was completed in March this year, with residents moving in last month.

Rental at the estate starts from R720 for a bachelor flat, and the estate has 24 hour security and residential access is through a biometric fingerprints system.

Accompanied by Western Cape MEC for Human Settlements Bonginkosi Madikizela, the Minister interacted with members of the community on issues relating to the delivery of houses.

She told residents that the job of her department is to give those who reside in the area hope. The Minister said government will always put the people first in every project that is carried out as it is a caring state.

Speaking to journalists afterwards, the Minister said while government has a housing backlog that needs to be reduced, 4.3 million houses and subsidies have already been provided. Government is targeting to have handed over six million housing opportunities by the end of 2019.

"We are saying to all the people out there who are still without shelter to have hope. If this [Belhar Estate] is possible, your turn will come too," she said.

Nombulelo Tsitsa, one of the beneficiaries and proud recipient of a flat, said she moved in on 27 April - on Freedom Day - after having stayed in backrooms and shacks in the Lower Crossroads township outside Cape Town.

The rental fee is R800 per month. She says her new home has improved her quality of life as she was not happy with her previous living conditions.

"I now take a bath in an actual bath or shower with hot water," she said.

Source: Government Communication and information System