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Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the launch of the R1 billion Human Settlements Project in the Northern Cape

Programme Directors,
Premier of the Northern Cape, Dr Zamani Saul,
Minister of Human Settlements, Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi,
Ministers, Deputy Ministers and MECs,
Executive Mayor of the Francis Baard District Municipality, Cllr Unondumisa Buda,
Executive Mayor of the Sol Plaatje Local Municipality, Cllr Kagisho Sonyoni,
Representatives of government institutions and state-owned entities,
Lede van ons gemeenskappe, 

Goeie môre, Dumelang, Molweni. Good Morning. 

Dit is ń ware plesier om vandag in Roodepan te wees met die gemeenskappe van die Noord-Kaap. 

I would like to greet you all as the communities of Roodepan, of Kimberley and of the Northern Cape. 

The mega-housing project that we are launching today is the biggest in the history of the Northern Cape.

Over the course of the next 12 to 18 months, in a programme valued at R1 billion, over 4,000 houses will be built in municipalities across the province.

This project is going to help reduce the housing backlog in the Northern Cape, as more people have access to housing in urban and rural areas.

The most vulnerable in our society will be prioritised as beneficiaries of this mega-housing project. 

We will strive to ensure that the elderly, child-headed households, military veterans and persons with disabilities get priority in the allocation of these houses.

What is significant about this project is that it will also address the housing needs of the so-called ‘missing middle’, people who have a form of income but do not qualify for either subsidised housing or home loans with commercial banks. 

The project will also be allocating funds to eradicate informal settlements and unsuitable housing structures like mud homes.

This project is going to create work and business opportunities in the Northern Cape across its lifespan. 

These opportunities will be in the construction itself, in the sourcing and production of building materials, in the laying down of bulk infrastructure, in the supply of professional services and other economic activities associated with the project. 

We will be prioritising women and youth-owned businesses.

We are determined that it will be Northern Cape residents and Northern Cape businesses that will benefit from the opportunities that will be created. 

The province has put measures in place to ensure these housing projects are delivered within the projected timeframes, according to budget and without any wastage or corruption.

We know that right here in Roodepan and in other parts of the municipality there are social housing structures that were not built according to quality standards, or are facing challenges with wastewater drainage and groundwater seepage. 

This will not be allowed to happen again.

We are going to ensure that the contractors appointed to this project observe the highest construction standards. 

This year, we celebrate 30 years since achieving our democracy. 

Although we still face great challenges, the progress we have made as a country in expanding access to housing has been remarkable. 

Last year, Statistics South Africa released the results of Census 2022, which give an indication of the strides we have made in improving the lives of the South African people.

When the census was conducted in 2022, nearly 9 out of every 10 households were living in formal dwellings. 

When the first census in a democratic South Africa was held in 1996, only 6 out of every 10 households lived in a formal dwelling. 

In South Africa today, 8 out of every 10 households have access to piped water either inside their home or in the yard.

These are achievements we must celebrate. 

Just over a century ago, the great son of the soil after whom this municipality is named, Sol Plaatje, published his book, titled Native Life in South Africa.

In the book, he writes about the conditions in the so-called native locations, over-crowded places of despair for a people “driven from their homes, their homes broken up, with no hopes of redress”.

Sol Plaatje writes about the oppressive laws of the day, where the inhabitants of these native locations could not as individuals own land or gain separate title as owners. 

In many cases, lack of space in these locations forced people to go and settle on the farms of white farmers, further entrenching their insecurity of tenure and diminishing their prospects of having a place they could call home.

For decades, this is how most of the people of this country lived.

Black people could not own land or homes in most urban areas. Many had to rent flats and houses from the apartheid state in the locations designated for their race. 

Some became family homes, in which generations were raised, but were never owned by their inhabitants. In other cases, permits were granted to build houses in the townships, but the state still owned the land on which they were built.

Since the advent of democracy, it is these indignities that we have been working to correct.

Over 4.7 million housing opportunities have been provided since the advent of democracy. This includes stand-alone houses, multiple storey and multi-unit buildings and serviced stands.

Security of tenure has been granted to the many households who live in pre-1994 government rental houses. 

We have given subsidies and transferred title deeds to approximately 376,000 qualifying beneficiaries of these homes.

We have been working to eradicate spatial inequality by building socially and economically sustainable human settlements close to places of work, study and recreation. 

The launch of this project today is a further demonstration that we are making good on our commitment to fulfil the human rights of all South Africans.

Providing houses for the poor and vulnerable who are dependent on government support requires innovative funding mechanisms.

We have to mobilise resources in partnership with financial institutions, especially development finance institutions.

By leveraging the Human Settlements Development Grant, the Northern Cape has secured funding through a loan facility of National Treasury and the Development Bank of Southern Africa to build these top structures and housing units. 

This loan will further be augmented by funding from the fiscus and the provincial government to achieve the total project value. 

This will significantly shorten the time it takes to build these houses.

I want to commend Premier Zamani Saul, Minister of Human Settlements Mmamoloko Kubayi, the Northern Cape Provincial Government and National Treasury for making this approach possible.

I want to further commend all who have been involved in the preparatory work to ensure that the bulk infrastructure is in place. 

Today is a great day for the people of the Northern Cape. 

We are here to make good on our commitment to improve your lives and to leave no-one behind.

With this project we will be taking another important step towards securing the future of the people of the Northern Cape. 

Through this project, thousands of families will now have a home they can call their own, an asset that can be used to improve their lives and access financing for their needs, and a home that can be passed on to future generations.

In this, the 30th year of our freedom, let us look to the future with hope as we work to build a better South Africa.

Let us continue our work to build a South Africa in which there are houses, security and comfort for all.

I thank you.

 Union Building