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In the news

2011

R150m plan for Ekurhuleni informal settlements
Ekurhuleni member of the Mayoral Committee for Human Settlements, Queen Duba, says she will present a multimillion-rand plan to the council aimed at changing the face of 101 informal settlements in the metro.

Zimbabwe launches housing association to help low-income earners find decent accommodation
The National Association of Housing Finance Organisations, an organisation that is meant to regulate the operations for housing development trusts and protect home seekers, has been launched in Zimbabwe.

Making Markets work for the Poor (M4P) Hub Conference proceedings series: Encouraging and enabling the public sector to open up land and housing markets to the poor in South and Southern Africa
Mark Napier presented Urban LandMark's experiences at the M4P Hub conference in November 2011 and shares the questions and comments of participants at the event. Download Mark's full presentation.

Development groups work to secure land rights for Africa's poor
Clarissa Augustinus, chief of the Land, Tenure and Property Administration Section of UN-Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya, says an intermediate form of tenure can build the assets of the poor. One option, the 'property ladder,' offers a range of possibilities, from community tenures to individual ownership

Johannesburg eviction ruling 'far-reaching'
A court ruling that the City of Johannesburg find emergency accommodation for 86 people facing eviction has serious implications, the city said on Thursday.

Greening our cities
In the face of Africa's rapid urbanisation, there is a critical need for environmental sustainability, writes Kristin Palitza in the Mail & Guardian.

Subsidised housing - Where are the title deeds?
Thousands of poor South Africans don't have a title deed for the property they believe they rightfully own. This emerged in a recent study, commissioned by FinMark Trust and Urban LandMark, to investigate the performance of the government-subsidised housing sector and to what extent home ownership was helping to create wealth. Also read related articles in the IOL Business Report and Engineering News.

Angolan government to cover 80 per cent of housing credit
Angolan Finance Minister Carlos Lopes has said his government is considering covering 80 per cent of the credit for purchase of low-cost houses, through the Housing Foment Fund.

COP17: Redefine rich and poor countries
As delegates gather in South Africa to plot the next big push against climate change, Western governments are saying it's time to move beyond traditional distinctions between industrial and developing countries and get China and other growing economies to accept legally binding curbs on greenhouse gases.

Zimbabwe: No hope for new houses
Low-income earners in Zimbabwe who have been on the housing waiting list for years said it would take a 'miracle' for them to ever own a house.

Gugulethu beneficiaries receive houses, but struggle isn't over
Years of living in informal settlements and backyards came to an end for 20 families who were handed the keys to houses in the Our Pride Housing Project in Eerste Rivier yesterday.

Zimbabweans urged to embrace low-cost houses
The country's housing dilemma has been exacerbated by the shortage of land, which has seen local authorities apply for additional land from Government. The move has taken more time as rural district councils have the right to the land and had already earmarked the same land for developmental projects.

R1b invested in affordable housing
A global private equity investor has notched up a landmark R1 billion committed in the South African affordable housing market. International Housing Solutions has so far provided funding to 25 projects and about 25 000 units across all the major urban centres in South Africa.

Kenya and Tanzania cooperate on upgrading city slums
Kenya and Tanzania will cooperate under the East African Community framework to prevent the proliferation of informal settlements, a senior Tanzanian government official said last week.

Lack of retail options in Protea Glen, Soweto
South African retailers have moved quickly to secure space in the 30,000sqm Protea Glen Shopping Centre in Soweto. Situated at the highly-visible nexus of Protea Boulevard and the K15 highway, the R360 million centre is the only retail destination in this area of budding residential development.

Jo'burg's bid to create viable settlements
Following the relocation of residents of Dlamini informal settlements to Lehae, near Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, Dan Bovu, member of the Mayoral Committee in the City of Johannesburg's Housing department said the city authorities remained committed to creating sustainable human settlements and improving the quality of life for its residents.

New-look website for Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa
The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF), a division of FinMark Trust, aims to find ways to make financial markets work for the poor. The centre recently launced its re-designed website - see what you think of the new look.

Low-income housing in cities will reduce carbon
Continuing to build housing along apartheid settlement lines will cost the public about R20-billion over the next 10 years, the financial and fiscal commission has told parliament.

Sexwale urged to withdraw comments about "cut-off date" for free housing
The Abahlali baseMjondolo (Those Who Live in Shacks) organisation, which fights for the rights of shack dwellers, said Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale's statement last week that the government was discussing an end to free housing was a recipe for "uncontrolled protests".

Government: Private sector should help clear housing backlog
Human Settlements Minister, Tokyo Sexwale, has admitted the weight of SA's housing backlog, involving more than 12 million people, is too much for government to bear alone, and has appealed for assistance from the private sector.

Tanzania: MPs, councillors to sign title deeds
Members of Parliament and councillors in Tanzania will from now on be directly involved in the signing of title deeds for plots allotted to investors as a way of mitigating conflicts resulting from rapidly intensifying demand for land, the government has said.

Affordable residential property market ready for unprecedented investment
The South African property market is ripe for large-scale investment in the affordable sector, says leading global equity investor International Housing Solutions (IHS).

Deadline for free housing Sexwale
Free housing for the poor has to have a cut-off date, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale said in Cape Town on Monday. The solution to South Africa's backlog of 2.3-million houses was not in providing free homes, he told the International Housing and Home Warranty Conference.

Shots fired over disputed housing project
Battles between backyarders and informal settlement residents flared up again this week over the allocation of houses in a new housing project, with a backyarder reportedly opening fire to defend himself against more than 100 attackers.

Zimbabwe: 1,2 million people on housing waiting list
Zimbabwe's housing backlog stands at a staggering 1,2 million applicants, a figure government says could soar if a proper survey is conducted.

Cape Town's shack service plan
The city of Cape Town is considering introducing a by-law which would allow it to install basic services such as water and electricity at informal settlements on privately owned land without the owner's permission.

Exploring Themb'elihle protests
As the dust settles over the chaos that engulfed the Themb'elihle informal settlement near Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, Themba Sepotokele and Nthatise Modingoane take a closer look at facts that have either been ignored or neglected by the media.

Sinkholes threaten informal settlements
Gauteng Local Government and Housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi has warned the people of Thembelihle, Etwatwa and Bapsfontein east of Johannesburg that they are in danger of being swallowed up by sinkholes.

City ordered to talk to Gugulethu families
The City of Cape Town wants the families living in Gugulethu's dilapidated Masonwabe Park hostels to be evacuated "immediately", but the Cape High Court has ordered the parties spend a month trying to find an amicable solution.

Expropriation: key to more equitable land distribution, or expensive folly?
This article by Rob McGaffin, Urban LandMark's Functional Markets Theme Co-ordinator, investigates the role of the state and expropriation in effecting positive change to the current inefficient and inequitable urban form. The article appeared in The Transformer, a journal for development and governance issues, published by Afesis-corplan.

Expansion of urban centres in Angola leading to environmental imbalance - Minister
The expansion of urban centres is leading to a "steep fall in the living standards and aggravation of social grievances and environmental equilibrium," according to the Angolan Minister of Urbanisation and Construction, Fernando da Fonseca.

Residents of formal housing in Khayelitsha reject plans for serviced plots in informal settlement
Cape Town's plan to provide serviced plots for residents of the Monwabisi Park informal settlement and backyarders threatened by annual floods, has created an uproar among adjacent residents living in formal housing.

Kenya launches initiative to spruce up life for urban slum dwellers
The Kenya Informal Settlements Improvement Project, a joint initiative by the Kenyan Housing and Lands ministries, with financial support from development agencies led by the World Bank, aims to improve the living conditions of Kenya's urban slum dwellers.

Foreign ownership of land to be curtailed
Foreign ownership of South African land is set for a radical change in terms of the green paper on land reform approved by the Cabinet this week. The paper is likely to be used as a baseline for proposed new legislation, the Land Protection Bill, of which the first draft is expected in a few months' time.

Most new low-income housing environments in SA 'architecturally impoverished' - US expert
Greg Mills, a former professor and head of the school of architecture at Texas A&M University in the US, argues that poor and marginalised communities in South Africa suffer the consequences of a lack of design leadership because of the deliberate exclusion of professional architects from their housing environments.

Govt working towards improved rental relationships
The department of human settlements says it has resolved 147 out of 158 registered landlord-tenants disputes during the 2010/2011 financial year.

Squatters overjoyed at city purchase of Doornbach land
Residents in Cape Town's Doornbach informal settlement are overjoyed that the city has bought the land they occupied 18 years ago. Residents of the approximately 15000-strong settlement situated adjacent to the Killarney industrial area have regularly protested over a lack of service delivery but the city has up until now been unable to provide basic services as the land was privately owned.

Gauteng project raises bar for housing development
A massive affordable housing development between Roodepoort and Soweto is emerging as a model for addressing South Africa's chronic housing shortage.

Cape Town: Tyres burn in homes spat
Backyarders in Makhaza have been scattering rubbish and burning tyres on busy Lansdowne road every evening for the past week in protest over their exclusion from a housing project in the area.

Numsa members to benefit from Absa deal on affordable housing
In a first to market, about 270,000 members of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa will benefit from competitively priced and tailored banking solutions from South Africa's largest retail banking group, Absa.

Task team to investigate eradication of informal settlements
African National Congress stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela will lead a government task team to advise on the eradication of informal settlements, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale said last week.

Integrated housing developments to help with SA's housing backlog
Integrated housing developments could play a key role in assisting government in tackling its housing backlog, Calgro M3 Holdings CEO Ben-Pierre Malherbe said on Wednesday. There is currently a backlog of some 2.1-million subsidised houses, excluding previously built units demolished as a result of quality issues.

'Give us houses, not loos' - backyard residents
Backyard residents have told the City of Cape Town that they want houses, not extra toilets and pre-paid electricity metres. Members of backyarders' forums from Langa, Hanover Park, Maitland, Factreton and Kensington made this point clear during a meeting with officials from the Department of Human Settlements last week.

Renting, sale of RDP houses major headache for Buffalo City Metro
A Buffalo City Metro Municipality spokesperson says the metro has received a number of complaints about recipients of RDP houses profiting illegally from their subsidised homes.

SA has 2.1m housing backlog: Sexwale
Speaking on the first day of the two-day human settlements youth summit at Durban's Olive Convention Centre, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale said South Africa had 12.5 million people who need shelter owing to the housing backlog.

Old Mutual South Africa raises R9 billion for housing fund
The fund is one of the largest of its kind ever in South Africa and will finance the construction of homes for low-income households and provide families and students with loans or rental accommodations, bridging a gap between government-funded housing and those with means to buy their own home.

Boost for housing development in Zimbabwe
BancABC Wednesday signed a $7 million line of credit with regional financial institution Shelter Afrique that is expected to revive mortgage finance and property development in the country.

Poison gas threat to informal settlements
Residents of informal settlements across greater Joburg may be exposed to the dangerous radioactive gas, radon, from rising mine water levels in the central mining basin and be exposed to severe health risks.

Namibia: Thousands without a place to call home
At independence, Windhoek had a housing backlog of 7 000 people. A decade-and-a-half later the housing shortage in the whole country had reached 80 000 units, with increased mushrooming of informal settlements all over the country.

Call for land reform clarity
The Agricultural Business Chamber, which represents various agricultural processing business entities, has called on Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti to speedily release the latest green paper on land reform.

State to get tougher on foreign land ownership
Government recently announced measures for a three-tier land tenure system, which will be central to policy proposals in the much-anticipated Green Paper on Land Reform, as part of its review of land legislation. Such measures will be aimed at ensuring that land reform results in recipients using their land and that it does not destabilise South Africa's food security.

Slum residents in Kenya to benefit from upgrade
Kenyans living in slums will benefit from a US$160 million investment in infrastructure development and land ownership designed to eliminate informal settlements in the country's largest urban centres.

Report identifies significant signs of inner-city renewal in Johannesburg
The Johannesburg CBD, Braamfontein and Newtown nodes have been undergoing a huge transformation. The nodes are very good in terms of accessibility with regards to highways, rail and bus transport, with major users including mining houses, banks, provincial government and trade unions.

Economic code to promote property investment in rural areasg
The Property Charter seeks to promote development and investment in rural areas through a new economic development code. The Charter will provide a statement of commitment from all of the key role players in the sector to a growth strategy based on empowering a broad group of previously disadvantaged South Africans.

Ethekwini: R400m project to improve informal settlements
Ethekwini Water and Sanitation has installed 320 ablution containers in 81 settlements as part of a R400 million project. The aim is to improve the living conditions of almost 800,000 people living in informal settlements.

Upgrading of informal settlements gathering momentum
Deputy Human Settlement Minister, Zou Kota-Fredericks, recently announced that the formalisation of 206 informal settlements in the country has been completed.

Zimbabwe - Beating the housing blues
A group of female cross-border traders in Bulawayo have formed a savings co-operative where they first buy each other plots of land and will eventually build each other's houses.

Only three of more than 200 land audits done in Eastern Cape
Housing development in several municipalities in the Eastern Cape could stall this year due to poor planning and lack of land auditing.

Slumming it in Jo'burg
Johannesburg's abandoned and neglected inner-city buildings have become slum dwellings for thousands of people, many of them jobless migrants, who endure over-crowding, poor or non-existent sanitation and limited access to running water and electricity because of a lack of affordable alternatives.

Cities on the frontline for climate action
A global summit heard today that 1 billion urban poor in developing countries are at greater risk from climate change because they live on land in the most vulnerable areas of cities, exposed to landslides, sea-level rises, and flooding.

Affordable housing guarantee 'ignores issues'
The government's R1 billion guarantee for the affordable housing market has been criticised for failing to improve access to home ownership.

What is incrementalism? Community-managed utilities in an informal settlement in Nairobi
The divide between the "informal" and "formal" is commonly understood as that between risk and a sure thing. But the story of Kosovo informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya, shows that neither side of the divide can bridge the gap working alone.

SARS land tax ruling shock for developers
A landmark judgment delivered earlier this month by the Supreme Court of Appeal rules that companies selling unused land will have to pay tax on the proceeds. This has created concerns for developers, while at the same time opening up the issue of how to ensure that land is released for development.

Inefficient SA cities slated
Parliament's financial and fiscal commission says South Africa's cities are less competent by global standards.

Cities are India's future
The wave of urbanisation that is sweeping across India represents one of the country's greatest opportunities as well as one of its most serious challenges.

Namibia: Study shows unemployment contributes to migration
A study by Dr Andrew Niikondo of the Polytechnic of Namibia shows that the growth in informal settlements in Windhoek is influenced by factors such as unemployment, low income levels and a lack of interest in urban investment.

SA cities perform crucial role in national development despite internal problems
Ivan Turok, Deputy Executive Director at the Human Sciences Research Council and the principal author of the 2011 State of the Cities Report, argues that the role of cities in rural growth should not be underestimated.

Harare: Vacant lot tax sparks outrage
The imposition of vacant-lot tax by the City of Harare has sparked outrage from land owners. The city is facing a critical real estate crisis and has reimposed tax on idle land lots in a bid to prevent land development groups or business conglomerates hoarding land in the hope of windfall profits.

Mitchell's Plain land grab clashes escalate
Live ammunition was fired at police during a second day of violent clashes with groups of Mitchell's Plain backyard dwellers who have invaded land in Tafelsig and refuse to leave.

Cape Town warns on land invasions
Land invasions in Mitchell's Plain could delay the provision of formal housing in the area, Cape Town authorities warned on Monday. The statement follows two days of clashes between police and about 150 so-called backyard dwellers, who had built shacks on the land, and reacted violently to attempts to remove the structures.

Banks balk at government's demand to grant 600 000 home loans to gap market
Banks will have to prepare themselves for a scenario in which hundreds of thousands of additional home loans will be granted to people who may be unable to afford them.

Sexwale courts new housing partners
Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale on Thursday invited the private sector to partner with the government in its plan to roll out 600 000 new housing units for the neglected middle income housing market.

Limpopo hostels turned into double-storey units
Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has officially launched a R40 million project aimed at turning former hostels into residential units in Limpopo.

Informal settlements remain a major challenge for Gauteng municipalities
Presenting Gauteng's local government performance review for 2005 to 2011 on 10 May, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said 85 informal settlements had been formalised by August 2008 and 36 were eradicated by 2009.

Property developers want Joburg inner-city renewal incentive extended
Property developers in the inner city of Johannesburg have urged government to extend the urban development zone (UDZ) tax incentive to more areas in the city and to extend the timeframes of the benefits, which are scheduled to come to an end in 2014.

New report looks at ways to improve quality of life in Latin America's informal settlements
Regularization of Informal Settlements in Latin America, the latest Policy Focus Report published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, assesses programs to improve life in Latin America's slums.

African Development Bank approves urban development strategy for African cities
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has approved the Bank's Urban Development Strategy. The strategy is designed to transform African cities and towns into engines of economic growth and social development.

Urban poor to be hardest hit by flooding due to climate change
Andrew Steer, Special Envoy for Climate Change, World Bank Group, recently issued the following statement on the new report by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, the scientific arm of the eight-nation Arctic Council.

Has Mexico's climate aid really slowed carbon emissions?
Amidst the creation of a new 'Green Climate Fund' for developing countries, questions are being raised on the climate finance Mexico has already received.

Tembisa seeks to draw lessons from Soweto's rejuvenation successes
Tembisa, north-east of Johannesburg, is receiving a facelift that seeks to reverse apartheid-style planning from a dormitory-type of township to an area that meets new guidelines for human settlement development.

Success of SA cities crucial to rural areas Deputy Minister
The success of South Africa's cities, which provide 60% of the country's economic output, is crucial to the strengthening of the rural areas and the country as a whole, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Yunus Carrim said on Wednesday. Download the full text of the report.

Human settlements budget to grow to nearly R27bn next year
The Department of Human Settlement's (DHS's) budget for the 2011/12 financial year has increased by 38% to R22,5-billion from 2010/11 and is expected to grow to R26,6-billion in 2013/14, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale said in his budget vote speech on Tuesday.

Forced evictions are a violation of human rights
The poor must be protected in African cities, where millions are denied adequate housing and face the threat of eviction. It is a human rights violation of such proportions that it could be easily equated to that of a humanitarian emergency. Yet, despite its impact, the denial of the right of adequate housing is rarely internationally condemned or discussed.

Developer-driven housing leaves city's poorest in the cold
The BG Alexander housing complex in Hillbrow is a joint venture between the Madulammoho Housing Association and the Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco), two of the major players in the city's social housing landscape. Joshco has a mandate from the City of Johannesburg to eradicate the housing backlog. It attempts to do this by filling the shoes of a developer, securing land and funding and appointing contractors to build. The company also refurbishes existing properties and manages some of these on behalf of the city.

Reimagining inclusive future inner city housing projects in CT
The only way forward for sustainable housing delivery in and around Cape Town is to go for inner city rejuvenation with dense, low-cost housing, says a housing official with the United Nations.

R9bn social housing project launched, institutions now accredited
The Department of Human Settlements (DHS) on Thursday introduced accreditation procedures to regulate social housing institutions, to ensure standards were met before institutions became eligible to access government subsidies for social rental housing.

Johannesburg launches Inner City Property Scheme
Johannesburg Mayor Amos Masondo launched an Inner City Property Scheme on Wednesday, as part of a broader strategy to ensure the city realises its goals of urban renewal and rejuvenation.

2011 State of Cities Report to help boost development
The much-anticipated 2011 State of the Cities Report, due to be released on 20 April, is expected to look at issues that hinder the progress of development in municipalities and how these can be addressed in the overall objectives of the government.

Gaborone housing crisis continues to bite
Gaborone is often described as one of the fastest growing cities in sub-Saharan Africa. Post-independence, a need to seek non-traditional ways of earning a living has sparked a rural-urban drift, resulting in a severe accommodation problem in Gaborone.

Projects win Dubai Award for promotion of better living conditions
Twelve international projects aimed to promote better living conditions for people around the globe beat hundreds of others in the eighth cycle of the Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment.

Evicted community appeals to Constitutional Court
A Gauteng community's appeal to the Constitutional Court has turned the spotlight on the need for municipalities to consult when evicting squatters.

Housing on track in Limpopo province
Limpopo province has handed over 10 235 houses to beneficiaries in the 2010/11 financial year, with more approaching completion. And its on-the-ball department of local government and housing has also scooped one gold and two platinum awards for good governance.

High cost of being poor shows clearly in the price of water
The Prince of Orange, chairman of the United Nations secretary-general's advisory board on water and sanitation, asks how well urban areas are coping with the need to provide safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

Farmers looking at land reform proposals
A parliamentary committee has left the door open to changes in the property clause in the constitution, including the "willing buyer willing seller" principle and the use of expropriation as a land reform tool.

Sexwale's R75m project
Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale on Thursday reiterated the importance of housing people in places closer to work and other amenities. Sexwale attended the launch of the Drommedaris Brooklyn Social Housing project, which had been specifically designed to take advantage of the proposed Bus Rapid Transport routes in Cape Town.

World Water Day 2011 - focusing on the urban poor
In many cities, rapid population expansion has drastically overtaken the ability of national authorities to keep up with increasing needs, particularly in terms of provision of clean water and sanitation, and these challenges are only set to increase.

Concern over unoccupied low-cost houses in Bushbuckridge
The Mpumalanga department of human settlement has voiced concern about the Bushbuckridge local municipality's failure to allocate empty RDP houses to needy people in the area.

JHC secures R300m PIC loan for inner-city housing project
The Johannesburg Housing Company (JHC) has secured a R300-million loan from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) for the development of affordable rental projects in the inner-city of Johannesburg.

Lawyers for Human Rights to fight Schubart Park evictions
Lawyers for Human Rights have served letters on the Tshwane Municipality and the South African Police Service demanding they come clean on plans for Schubart Park. The organisation said the Tshwane Municipality intends illegally evicting Schubart Park residents on March 25 without a court order.

What happens when your town strikes oil?
In December 2010, Ghana joined the ranks of Africa's oil producers - it now expects its economic growth rate to double. The BBC's Rob Walker went to Takoradi, the hub of the new industry, to see how a once-sleepy city is changing.

Victory for evicted tenants in Durban
It was a sweet victory for Westpoint Lodge tenants in Durban yesterday when the high court granted them an interim order to have electricity and water restored to the 12-storey building. The residents locked horns with the eThekwini municipality and KwaZulu-Natal department of human settlements and demanded that the basic services be restored.

European Investment Bank launches 150 million euro programme in SA
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is engaged in a €150 million programme to increase the supply of social and affordable housing in South Africa. A total of 34 000 new homes will be built under the EIB's initiative.

Cities given go-ahead to take over provinces' housing functions
In a bid to improve housing delivery and to clear the backlog, major cities across SA have been granted the authority to approve and manage housing construction programmes.

Bid to cut housing backlog in KZN
The department of human settlements in KwaZulu-Natal is scrambling to mend its image after evicting 58 families from a block of flats in Durban's Victoria Embankment, Westpoint Lodge.

Microfinance institutions seen as way forward to boost housing supply in Kenya
The World Bank is calling on microfinanciers to fund housing projects in Kenya to meet the high demand for affordable homes in the low-end market.

Khayelitsha residents to fight eviction
Some Khayelitsha residents in Cape Town have pleaded with Human Settlements Department officials to reconsider their plans to demolish some structures in the township.

Low-cost housing to go high-rise
Human settlements minister Tokyo Sexwale believes privately owned high-density apartments and office blocks, run along commercial lines, have the potential to meet housing demand.

Third of black South Africans own second home
Research by Economists.co.za chief economist Mike Schussler for Sake24 has revealed that black ownership of South Africa's primary residential market amounts to a surprising 41.7%, while white ownership is at 43.8%, coloured ownership at 8.3% and Indian ownership 6.2%.

Land for housing developments to be released in the second half of the year
Land earmarked for state-funded housing developments would probably be released in the second half of the year, Department of Human Settlements operations chief Neville Chainee said yesterday. Estimates put SA's housing backlog at 2,1 million, affecting 12 million people.

R58bn to fix sub-standard low-cost houses
Effective rectification of badly built low-cost houses would require R58-billion - that is not for building, just rectification, according to the director-general of the Department of Human Settlements, Thabane Zulu.

Evictions for Commonwealth Games in India violated human rights
A report released earlier this week by the NGO Housing and Land Rights Network states that forced eviction of people from their homes because of the 2010 Commonwealth Games seriously violated their rights and even led to the deaths of some people.

Housing backlog of one million in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe has an urban housing backlog of one million, a Parliamentary report has said. The estimated backlog is contained in the latest report of the Parliamentary Committee on Women, Youths, and Gender and Community Development.

Cities and Climate Change: An Urgent Agenda
Cities and Climate Change: An Urgent Agenda discusses the link between climate change and cities, why cities should be concerned about climate change and adopt early preventative policies, and how the World Bank and other organisations can provide further support to cities on climate change issues.

Durban families caught in crossfire over ownership and management of building
Fifty-eight families, including 40 children and babies, living in West Point Lodge in Margaret Mncadi Road, Durban, are struggling after being left without water and lights since Tuesday, despite their willingness to pay for the service.

Ghana railway dwellers under new threat of forced eviction
Amnesty International has urged the Ghanaian authorities to halt the eviction of thousands of people living next to railway lines in the capital, Accra amid new fears that they are facing imminent forced eviction.

Slow state spending endangers growth and service delivery
Government spending, particularly capital spending, has been slowing, a sign that budgets are not being spent and as sure an indication as any that social delivery in the key areas of education, health, roads and housing is not happening as fast as it needs to.

Blow for housing delivery in Free State
Premier Ace Magashules' brainchild and pet project, Operation Hlasela, received a major blow this week when the Department of Human Settlements withdrew millions of rand meant for low cost houses, owing to the province's inability to spend it.

Underperforming provinces may lose part of housing grant
Four provinces face the prospect of losing part of their yearly human settlements grant after failing to meet monthly delivery targets for low-cost housing, the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) stated on Tuesday.

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