Mpumalanga MEC for Human Settlements Speedy Mashilo says his Department would talk to mining companies to release some of the land they own to the Government in order to development housing projects.

The MEC was speaking during a public participation session at the Govan Mbeki Local Municipality where people had an opportunity to raise issues affecting them. He assured the gathering that the Department would deliver on its mandate and its various programmes were aimed at catering for different housing needs.

“The Department’s mandate is to house people correctly, not everyone needs houses but others require land and rental units. Given that the area’s main challenges are land and illegal invaders, the Department will make an effort to negotiate with mines that own some of the land and purchase it for those who require it,” said the MEC.

The increase of informal settlements in the area was also one of the issues discussed. It is attributed to the rise in the number of mining activities which see many people looking for jobs migrating into areas where there are prospects of employment.

MEC Mashilo promised the community that the Department would ensure informal settlements were eradicated and all those in need of rental units would be provided for through the Community Residential Units Programme.

The Department also handed over two houses at Embalenhle Extension 22. The two houses are part of the more than R50 million project of 500 housing units delivered through the Informal Settlements Upgrading Programme which seeks to eradicate among others; dwellings in shacks and the occupation of derelict mud houses.

Nonkululelo Salusalu (59) was one of people who recieved a house on the day. “The thought of living in a shack brings tears to me because I lived in a shack for many years. A decent warm house brings comfort to my family,” said Salusalu.

A delighted 88-year-old Paulina Shokwe received her title deed on the day as part of the Department’s effort to prioritise title deeds in order for beneficiaries to legally own their properties.

Part of the delays in issuing title deeds is that some of the areas in the municipality are not registered with the deeds office. In mitigating this challenge, the Department will henceforth apply for title deeds as soon as a project is enrolled, especially in proclaimed areas.