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Business Day - News Worth Knowing: "Aid of R37bn fails to meet housing needs
Nick Wilson


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Property Correspondent

GOVERNMENT is losing the battle to provide houses despite having paid out more than R37bn on subsidies for low-cost housing since 1994.
The promise of housing for all South Africans has been a key plank of the African National Congress platform for the past 12 years. But the migration of people to cities, an influx of refugees to SA and policy mismanagement have seen SA moving backwards in this quest.
Big construction firms have pulled out of the lower end of the housing market in search of more lucrative projects.
And banks have warned that a shortage of land and housing stock could stymie their ability to meet commitments under the financial sector charter.
Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu referred in her recent budget speech in Parlaiment to the magnitude of the challenge presented by the housing backlog, and said the growth in the number of households “remains large and daunting”. Government figures show there were 2-million households in 1996 without access to adequate housing. This rose to 2,4-million households last year, even though government delivered 1,9-million housing subsidies.
Itumeleng Kotsoane, recently appointed director-general of the housing department, said in an interview the increase in the housing backlog was due to a range of factors, including large-scale migration of people from the rural areas to urban centres.
At the same time the South African population had surged from 44-million in 1996 to 48-million in 2004.
Kotsoane said the size of South African households had dropped from an average of 4,5 family members in 1996 to 3,"

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