Soweto residents were told of the City of Johannesburg’s plan to be the first metro to take over the function of building RDP houses for its residents.
The City’s Executive Mayor, Councillor Herman Mashaba, told more than 300 residents at the Orlando Communal Hall on Saturday, that although the building of RDP houses was not the competency of local government, the City was ready to take over the entire responsibility of building its residents low-cost houses.
“Housing is not the competency of local government, but this needs to change as we only get insufficient grants to build RDP houses. The City will be the first metro to begin to engage the national government, to ultimately allow municipalities to be the ones responsible for building RDP houses for our people,” said Mayor Mashaba.
Residents from Orlando East, Orlando West, Jabulani, Noordgesig , Pimville, Freedom Park and surround areas came in their numbers to get the feedback and make their inputs into the draft Integrated Development Plan Review (IDP) 2018/19.
Mayor Mashaba said the urgency of the City to take over the responsibility of building RDP houses was real because Johannesburg has a chronic housing backlog of over 300 000, high rates of poverty and inequality with over 190 informal settlements.
The mayor said the City was responding to the challenges raised by residents through Diphetogo, which means transformational change. Through Diphetogo, the City aims to direct its limited resources towards key priorities which are: basic services delivery, infrastructure development, repairs and maintenance, public safety, including substance abuse and housing provision.
The Acting Regional Director Salome Ngobeza said the City has undertaken major storm-water and housing projects in Soweto. One of the massive social housing projects undertaken by JOSHCO is the R95 million Dobsonville Social Housing with construction at 65% complete, the R75 million Golden Highway Social Housing in Freedom Park and the massive R189 million Lufhureng Development Housing.
Residents demanded houses and land from Mayor Mashaba and his executive.
Freedom Park resident Xolisa Makayi said: “How would poverty end if we are not given the land? We don’t have our own places to live in. There’s no development taking place in Freedom Park. We have been invading land since 2015 because of the slow progress from government.”
Steve Mahlaka from Pimville said the City had to build skills centres as children and youth that are involved in drugs had nowhere to go to empower themselves.