In response to rapid urbanisation, the forum of Minister and MECs of Human Settlements (MINMEC) has taken a decision to redirect over R650 million Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) to the country’s five Metropolitan Municipalities.
The recipients of these funds, Mangaung, Ekurhuleni, City of Johannesburg, City of Tshwane and City of Cape Town will use the grant towards infrastructure development which includes social housing, student accommodation, upgrading of informal settlements and acquisition of land for human settlements development.
Over the past few years Metropolitan areas have experienced an increase in their population size. This is largely informed by perceived better economic opportunities in big cities which ultimately creates competition for adequate housing.
'South Africa is facing urbanization challenges as young people move to cities to seek better economic opportunities. With this financial commitment we are enabling Provinces and Metros to respond to these challenges, this will include responding to student accommodation and adequate housing for low income earners," said Minister Sisulu.
“Provincial MECs of Human Settlements will work closely with the Executive Mayors in ensuring that the funds are not used for anything else but are allocated to human settlements departments within metros”, added Minister Sisulu.
Minister Sisulu also sent a warning to developers and property owners who allow their land and buildings to be invaded. "Property owners have a responsibility to ensure that their properties are guarded. When they see illegal occupations taking place they must act immediately and report it to law enforcement agencies. l will be meeting with property owners to indicate my views about this, municipalities and law enforcement agencies must take action immediately when cases of illegal occupations have been reported”, said Sisulu.
Minister of Human Settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu will also hold regular meetings with the MECs, Executive Mayors and Municipal Mayoral Committee members to discuss human settlements challenges within metros.