Berea, March 09 — In an effort to ensure that people have equal access and adequate, safe and affordable housing, Ministry of Local Government, Chieftainship Affairs, under its Department of Housing conducted a meeting with Berea district stakeholders to get their input on the National Housing Policy on Wednesday at the Department of Roads Directorate hall in Teyateyaneng.
Department of Housing, Director Housing Mrs. Maphaka Mabesa remarked that it is a basic human right to have access to housing to protect human dignity and it is regarded to be one of the social protection issues.
Mrs. Mabesa highlighted that the National Housing Policy was developed with the assistance of UN-Habitat and adopted by cabinet in 2018, the goal of the policy is to achieve the progressive realization of the right to adequate housing for all by promoting housing as a basic human right, adding that is also an economic investment opportunity, a job creator and also a strategy for poverty reduction.
She pointed out that collective efforts are required from different stakeholders for such policy to be successful and achievable, therefore there is a need to comply and respond positively to such policies which the government introduces because they are the guiding tool for the better, moreover it is also guided by Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 11) which says, ‘Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’, and Target 11.1: By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums. The Africa Agenda 2063, and The New Urban Agenda.
Director Housing indicated that the key objectives of the policy is to increase the priority of housing in national and sub-national policy, planning and investment frameworks and this will be implemented and promoted in a manner fully consistent with international best practice, adding that it will institutionalize the National Habitat Committee (NHC) to oversee policy implementation and monitoring.
Mrs. Mabesa highlighted that the way people are investing heavily on the rental houses, it is a clear indication that housing shortage is a critical challenge, therefore the housing policy seeks to increase housing supply directly and indirectly, adding that it further seeks to put more focus on improving land use planning and management initiatives by ensuring that people do not build on areas prone disasters.
She added that this can be achievable by creating an enabling policy, legal and regulatory environment to facilitate action by all the actors in housing development and improvement, moreover by building the capacity of relevant stakeholders and actors through training, best practice resources, networking and mentorship to plan, develop and deliver sustainable affordable housing for low income households and to expand access to affordable housing finance.
Reflecting on the matter, one of the Urban Council Community Councils Mrs. Mareitumetsi Matlanyane said the challenge still remains with poor access to people’s yard due to lack of proper land use and planning, therefore the situation usually leaves them vulnerable to criminal activities as some are forced to leave their vehicles far away from their homes only because of poor planning.
When expressing his concern one of the participants Tebetebe Physical Planner Mr. Mzwandile Thokoane building permits should be incorporated in the policy as part of the guiding tool for compliance and control measures on the land use.
Also speaking, Kanana Community Council Secretary (CCS), Mrs. Maleseli Lesoli said they acknowledge government’s effort to capacitate them with skills, adding that efforts to strive for perfection has to start at the top level and down to the grass root of the communities, therefore they encourage continuity and partnership of such good initiative up until the stage of monitoring and evaluation.
Among the suggestions raised by the participants includes, land use planning and management issues should be risk informed as part of building communities that can be resilient to any hazards, implementation of decentralization, while others encouraged capacitation of artisans so that they can be skillful in construction issues and so that they can be absorbed within the labour market.
On the other hand, others recommended that land developers and estate agents should be regulated by law and they should be barred from allocating land because it is the duty of Community Councilors.