Business Day: Mokonyane announces a national Slums Act….

There has been lots of talk about other provinces following KwaZulu-Natal and developing their own Slums Acts. But now there is talk of a national Slums Act from Gauteng housng MEC and share holder in Lindela Nomvula Mokonyane….Most of this article is a response to the DA’s xenophobia but the statement about the national slums act is at towards the end.

Business Day

Posted to the web on: 25 June 2008
MEC defends housing for foreigners
Sibongakonke Shoba

GAUTENG housing MEC Nomvula Mokonyane says the government will continue to allocate low-cost houses to foreigners with permanent residence permits as it was policy and South Africans had not objected to the policy.

Mokonyane told the Gauteng legislature yesterday it was government policy to deliver services to all legal residents who qualified, without discrimination.

Mokonyane was responding to a statement by Democratic Alliance (DA) member Kate Lorimer in the legislature yesterday that the government’s housing policy should be changed. Lorimer said only South Africans should be given houses and foreigners should forfeit citizenship of their countries of origin before qualifying.

The allocation of “RDP houses” to foreigners had been identified as one of the causes of xenophobic violence which took place in Gauteng and other parts of SA last month.

According to the national housing code, a person qualifies for a housing subsidy only if he or she is a citizen or a permanent resident. A foreign national qualifies for permanent residency after five years of residing in SA legally, or if they have a South African spouse and that marriage does not lapse in the three years of being granted the permit.

Lorimer said:“There are too many poor South Africans who have had to wait for houses while foreign passport holders are allocated RDP housing in terms of government policy.

“The ANC must start to put South Africans first.”

Mokonyane said Lorimer’s speech amounted to public incitement and was racist and xenophobic.

“We won’t be told by you when to change this policy. Only our people have that right.”

Lorimer said the attacks would have been avoided if government had communicated the allocation criteria to local residents.

Mokonyane presented a R3,1bn budget for her department for the 2008-09 financial year, an increase of 16,64% from last year.

About R2,8bn would be spent on housing development implementation, more than R67m on housing property management, about R15m on planning and research and more than R212m on administration.

Mokonyane said her department had identified 122 informal settlements and that 68 of these had been formalised by providing running water and sanitation.

“As part of our plan to formalise some of those identified settlements, we are putting services to 56 settlements which will benefit a total of 380000 people.

“It is our goal to provide services and tenure to about 710000 people by 2009.”

She said the National Housing Bill on the Prevention and Eradication of Re-emergence of Slums and Informal Settlements — which is being drafted — would provide capacity within municipalities to prevent the re-emergence of shacks. The bill would be finalised in December.

Meanwhile, local government MEC Qedani Mahlangu said illegal immigrants would be deported. She said the government continued with the reintegration of legal immigrants in local communities.