‘Sexwale urges engineers to share ideas on clearing housing backlog’

Engineering News, 20 October 2010

The Department of Human Settlements (DHS) would need to engage with construction companies if it was to meet the challenges faced by the sector and deliver the expected 220 000 housing units a year, by 2014.

Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale said on Wednesday that there were currently 8 700 human settlement projects under way in South Africa.

“Construction is happening,” he reiterated, and added that if the so-called ‘Human Settlements 2030′ vision was to be realised, “massive” construction sites would have to be established throughout the country. This would create employment and involve the youth.

Delivering a keynote address to officials gathered at the DHS and Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) ‘Knowledge Week 2010′, Sexwale emphasised that corruption needed to be tackled. He urged delegates to discuss the issues thoroughly and come up with relevant ideas to solve the problems.

“R1,3-billion I have lost, that was used to build houses that are falling apart,” said Sexwale, commenting on money lost through shoddy construction, often linked to tender irregularities.

To meet its goal of eradicating the housing backlog in South Africa, the DHS would also need to acquire some 6 250 ha of land, and provide about 600 000 new ‘gap fund’ loans for people who did not qualify for subsidies but still needed assistance.

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New Report – “World Disaster Report 2010: Focus on Urban Risk”

For the first time in the history of mankind, more people live in an urban environment than a rural one and in just 20 years, over 60 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities and towns.

A fortunate minority will live in places like Turin, Tokyo or Toronto, where if your home catches fire or floods, you can call for emergency help and expect to collect on the insurance. Everyone in the house or apartment probably has their own space and clean water is on tap. You are connected to the sewage system and your garbage is collected.

A slum household is one where all of these things are absent. There is neither water nor sanitation. The living space is cramped and comprises poor quality building materials. And the inhabitants have no security of tenure. Read more…

The World Disasters Report 2010 features:

  •  Urban disaster trends
    and early action
  •  Avoiding the urbanization of disaster risk
  •  Starting over: community rights and post-disaster response
  •  Urban violence
  •  Urban risk to health
  •  Urbanization and climate change risk
  •  Urban governance and disaster risk reduction

Plus: photos, tables, graphics and index

Published annually since 1993, the World Disasters Report brings together the latest trends, facts and analysis of contemporary crises – whether ‘natural’ or man-made, quick-onset or chronic.

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