Mercury: Housing plan announced

The banks are given land by the state….The poor are evicted from their land by the state….A poor person charging rent is a shack lord….A bank seeking profit is a ‘public private partnership’….The provincial housing department negotiates with the banks but treats organised shack dwellers with contempt and threats…Who is the public? Who does the state represent? Is it not the case that the one thing that we should learn from ‘the global financial crisis’ is that the private banks bent on private profit should get the hell out of public housing? This deal is one more public subsidy for profit profit.

Housing plan announced

January 27, 2009 Edition 1

Sipho Khumalo

THE KwaZulu-Natal housing department entered into an agreement with First National Bank yesterday that would enable low- to middle-income earners to buy houses in the province.

The agreement covers people earning between R1 500 and R7 500 a month who previously did not qualify for the government housing subsidy.

Announcing the agreement, housing MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu said the government realised that there were many people who did not qualify for the subsidy yet did not earn enough to enter the housing market unaided.

In terms of the agreement First National Bank will be given access to land from various municipalities in the province to develop houses to be sold to people who qualify.

“We believe this agreement is a practical expression of the public-private sector partnership the government always encourages,” Mabuyakhulum said.

First National Bank chief executive officer Sizwe Nxasana said the bank was equally happy working with the provincial housing department.

“If there is one thing that we should learn from the global economic turmoil, it is that the private sector should work with the government to improve the lives of our people,” he said.