“The department has noticed incidents in which people illegally occupy places of land, buildings and houses. Recent cases have been reported in Tshwane and Cape Town,” Sisulu said.
While acknowledging the challenges in the delivery of houses, Sisulu cautioned against the breaking of the law, as “this leads to forced evictions, displacement of people and delay in the implementation of housing projects”.
Townlands Housing Project to deliver 1 200 units
Meanwhile, Sisulu has recently visited three social housing projects in Tshwane, including one in Townlands which is expected to deliver 1 200 units on completion in 2021.
The social housing projects in Tshwane are some of the many across the country aimed at responding to the housing needs of households earning between R1 500 and R15 000 per month.
Good Practice Framework
The Minister was also informed that the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA) - an agency of the Department of Human Settlements, together with the National Association of Social Housing Organisations (NASHO) - has worked on a Good Practice Framework which provides a number of guidelines on what precautionary measures to put in place to ensure safety of people living in the social housing units.
The guidelines include education on Coronavirus, hygiene and regulations, disabling of biometric systems, clear communication of protocols during COVID-19 period, and provision of alternative vacant for isolation of infected tenants where possible.
Sisulu said that the department understands that some of the beneficiaries are going through financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19.
The department has advised on types of rental arrangements they can make with tenants who have lost part or all of their income due to COVID-19.
“We are also in discussions with funders to determine what loan reliefs they can offer to delivery partners who have depleted their reserves due to a decline in rental collections,” Sisulu said.
The Minister also called on beneficiaries to honour their obligations and pay rent.
“We can only build a nation and continue to deliver more of these social housing projects, if we work together,” the Minister said.