Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu wants land expropriation to prioritise human settlements, so her department could start building communal urban areas which would fulfil government’s integrated settlements and economic development policy.
Sisulu was delivering her human settlements department’s budget vote in the National Assembly on Tuesday, when she mentioned these plans to expropriate abandoned land.
“We would like to expropriate these in order to create social housing,” Sisulu said.
The minister explained that they were particularly looking at state-owned abandoned land.
She explained that if the land expropriation bill was to be adopted, they would like to take advantage of one of its clauses, which highlights “abandoned property” and land owned by the state-owned enterprises.
“We would also like to be given first preference to all state land in urban areas to create human settlements where we will be able to create communal urban areas, including parks, sports centres, multipurpose centres and economic areas for small business opportunities,” explained Sisulu.
“The draft legislation determines that no land will be expropriated for any other reason, except for the public interest.
“I cannot see that there is any greater public interest than what we represent at human settlements. It should, therefore, be possible for us to be the first to benefit from this legislation.”
Sisulu also hopes to see the definition of abandoned land to include hijacked buildings – “where the owner had abandoned the land”.
The minister wants her department to get special treatment so they can create human settlements and places of employment.
She stresses that the human settlements transformation could no longer be deferred, especially with their concept of creating integrated functional and inclusive settlements.
Their aim is also to share common elements of quality infrastructure, economic production, inclusive quality family homes with access to social amenities, recreation and schools.
They also plan to revive inner cities of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Germiston, Durban, East London and Bloemfontein.
“These are priority spaces that represent the finest opportunity for spatial transformation and consolidation through renewal programmes and harnessing the inherent economic momentum within the cities,” explained.
She explained that the prioritised spaces represent an opportunity for transformation and consolidation through “renewal programmes and harnessing the inherent economic momentum with the cities”.