The Department of Human Settlements determines finances, promotes, communicates and monitors the implementation of housing and sanitation programmes in South Africa.
Government has set itself the target of making a positive impact on the quality of life of 500 000 households by 2014, by upgrading informal settlements. The upgrade will provide households with security of tenure and access to essential services in sites that are close to BUSINESS AND GOVERNMENT MUST WORK TOGETHER
CONNIE SEPTEMBER, MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS
I wish to congratulate everyone who has been nominated in the various categories; recognition at this level is an important means of showing confidence not only for the business sector but for Brand South Africa.
As we approach the 20th year of democracy in our country we look back on the strides we have made as a nation.
Yes, some of the time we have faltered but the general consensus remains that we have much to celebrate.
The consensus is also that business, like government, still has a bigger role to play in our country’s development. As Minister of Human Settlements, I know that our department is heavily reliant on the private sector to assist in delivering on our mandate.Ladies and gentlemen, I am therefore pleased that this ceremony brings together the public and private sector.
It is in spaces such as these where collaborations must start that can deal with the challenges facing us as a nation. As the Minister of Human Settlements, my first question would probably be, “how are you assisting your employees in becoming homeowners?”.I would admit that the reason for the slow uptake of assistance programmes is that, as government, we are often weak at communicating very crucial information to our communities. It is here where you, as business can assist. Through your HR functions, you can assist us in giving this information to employees.
One of these programmes is the Finance-Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP). Through FLISP, an equitable contribution can be made by government and employers for employees who are earning too much to qualify for government subsidised houses, but too little to qualify for a bank mortgage. This is but one of the many ways in which we can form partnerships in order to expedite housing delivery in our country. We do have examples where business has, as the saying goes, come to the party.
Recently Lonmin donated 50 hectares of land to the Provincial North West Department of Human Settlements and the Municipality of Rustenburg. On this land, the government will be able to build a different mix of housing opportunities not only for miners, but for the greater community of Rustenburg. This is exactly what we mean by effective partnership in the delivery of human settlements.
A major challenge we face is the issue of unemployment, especially of young people. Young people need an opportunity to gain work experience and it is to the private sector that government is looking to be creative in absorbing large groups of unemployed matriculants and graduates.
We have a plan for our country that will take us to 2030. I wish to appeal to you to embrace this comprehensive plan that will assist in creating the type of country we wish for those that must still follow. Ladies and gentlemen, government values the contribution you are making towards creating a better South Africa and a better Africa. We thank you for being our ambassadors to the world.
I thank you all. Connie September, Minister of Human Settlements Keynote address at the 11th National Business Awards.