18 May 1997


8 May 1997


MAJOR BOOSTS FOR HOUSING DELIVERY



Real progress is being made by the ANC in delivering on its commitment to house
the nation. The Housing Minister, Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele, has announced a
series of major initiatives that will not only help to achieve the target of
a million new homes to be built or under construction by 1999, but will
also accelerate the drive to sweep away the legacy of Apartheid in housing.




Housing the Nation - Facts and Figures



  • Over 555 000 subsidies have already been released

  • 192,815 houses have already been built or are under construction

  • 805 subsidised housing projects have been approved

  • Most subsidies are granted to people earning below R800 a month.




Major New Initiatives



NOMVULA



  • NOMVULA is a computer-based data collection and monitoring system,
    updated every 24 hours with information collected by dedicated staff in
    every province

  • It produces reliable, up-to-date figures on subsidised housing and
    house construction progress in every locality, every region, and every
    province in South Africa

  • The construction approval process has been broken down into 15 milestones,
    and NOMVULA tracks every project against these milestones, identifying
    blockages so that they can be removed, providing an early warning system
    to alert national and provincial housing departments of problems, and giving
    automatic prompts to provincial housing officials to take action at certain
    stages of the approval process

  • Housing officials will now visit every project at least three times
    during the construction phase to check on progress and quality

  • NOMVULA has helped to cut the time it takes from project approval to
    the delivery of the first home from 24 months to just seven months.




APPLICATION PROCEDURES



  • Applications currently take between six and nine months to process,
    and every province uses a different application form - one provincial form
    is 27 pages long

  • A new, nine-page, standardised application form is being made available
    to provinces to speed up the application process.




RURAL HOUSING INITIATIVES



  • In rural areas, particularly the former self-governing territories
    and the former TBVC states, where freehold ownership is uncommon, occupational
    rights will now be considered as providing sufficient security of tenure
    to access housing subsidies

  • The Rural Housing Loan Fund has been established to open up access
    to housing finance for rural communities.




CAPACITY BUILDING



  • A housing task team has been put in every province to increase expertise

  • A two-year training programme is to be launched to offer intensive
    training of councillors and provincial and municipal housing officials,
    to equip them with the skills to advise stakeholders on all matters relating
    to housing.


EXTENDING HOUSING FINANCE



  • The National Housing Finance Corporation has been established
    to raise funds in the financial markets and channel it into socially-desirable
    housing finance

  • The NHFC has made funds worth R122.4 million available for housing
    improvements

  • Approval has already been granted for 118,000 families to access credit
    facilities over the next four to five years

  • 135,000 families stand to benefit from funds worth R250 million which
    the NHFC is planning to approve

  • NHFC plans to grant facilities or facilitate funding to the value of
    R1.2 billion to eligible housing institutions to construct, acquire or
    upgrade 50,000 housing units and make available additional housing units
    in the market

  • The Mortgage Indemnity Fund was established to indemnify accredited
    banks against losses, to encourage banks to resume lending in areas where
    they have stopped and to mediate in disputes between government and private
    sector housing finance. It has already granted over 90,000 new loans worth
    R6.2 billion; has solved major bond disputes in two areas, agreed to mediate
    in 13 other disputes and has been asked to mediate in ten others

  • The National Urban Reconstruction and Housing Agency has issued
    guarantees valued at R19.4 million for bridging finance to 30 projects
    in six provinces, for the construction of more than 11,844 houses with
    a total value of R197.3 million.




SUPPORT FOR BOND DEFAULTERS



  • Servcon manages some 14,000 repossessed properties on behalf of mortgage
    lenders. Since June 1995, over 3,500 Servcon clients had signed agreements
    to buy back their homes, and almost 4,000 had signed rightsizing agreements
    to allow them to relocate to more affordable properties

  • Around 10,500 non-performing loans have been taken over from the banks
    and absorbed into the Servcon programme so far in 1997

  • The Department of Housing has made a further R50 million available
    to Servcon to be used to acquire right-sizing stock, to create affordable
    accommodation.




REGULATION



  • A Bill will be drafted to end self-regulation by the building industry,
    and give statutory recognition to the National Home Builders Registration
    Council (NHBRC)

  • Statutory recognition will protect consumers against shoddy workmanship
    and unscrupulous builders

  • The Bill will ensure every builder accessing credit or building houses
    using Government subsidy will have to be registered with the NHBRC.




ADVICE SERVICES



  • The Department of Housing helped secure R1 million in USAid for the
    Housing Consumer Protection Trust

  • The Trust runs advice centres offering consumers expert advice, information
    and legal assistance on housing issues

  • It also runs South Africa`s only toll-free housing advice telephone
    service, offering consumers advice on a range of housing issues. The number
    is 0800-111-663.




DRAFT HOUSING BILL



  • Proposes to give provincial and local government the power to administer
    national housing programmes

  • Proposes to give municipalities the powers to plan, budget, manage,
    administer and maintain housing provision once capital investment has been
    made

  • Proposes guidelines for the accreditation of municipalities, and the
    introduction of a competitive element in the tendering process for infrastructure
    and house building contracts.




Housing the Nation is not just a slogan - it is a reality.

Index

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