Housing boom for farmworkers

Sakhile Mokoena

Sakhile Mokoena

Mpumalanga will spend about R21million to build proper houses for farmworkers in seven of its municipal areas.

The MEC for local government and housing, Candith Mashego-Dlamini, said the government was taking service delivery to the farms and was targeting both farm dwellers and labourers.

"The R21million has been set aside for these Agrivillages where 444 families of farmworkers will be housed in the 2007-08 financial year," the MEC said when presenting her budget on Thursday.

The land for developing these Agrivillages has been made available by the Department of Land Affairs, which bought the farms while others have been donated by private farmers.

The farms are situated in the Thaba Chweu, Umjindi, Nkomazi, Steve Tshwete, Emakhazeni, Delmas, Govan Mbeki, Lekwa and Msukaligwa municipalities.

Mashego-Dlamini also announced that for the 2007-08 financial year her department had set aside R126million to build formal settlements in the province. Pilot projects had been set up in the Lekwa, Emalahleni, and Mkhondo municipalities.

"However, it should be noted that the target for eradicating informal settlements in the country is 2014. The department has also set aside R56million to service 3138 sites in the three districts."

Mashego-Dlamini said informal settlements were increasing at an alarming rate and were disrupting service delivery in the province.

Mashego-Dlamini said informal settlements were mushrooming in every municipality and officials were unable to curb the illegal occupation of land because of their inability to enforce various laws and by-laws.

A 2005 survey reported that the province had 88397 informal households.

Mashego-Dlamini promised that she would do everything in her power to eradicate informal settlements and replace them with formal settlements.