Moving from quantity to quality

In the first decade from 1994, the Gauteng housing department's priority was to build houses very quickly to house hundreds of thousands of people, to provide them with decent shelter and access to basic services.

In the first decade from 1994, the Gauteng housing department's priority was to build houses very quickly to house hundreds of thousands of people, to provide them with decent shelter and access to basic services.

Then, the focus was on numbers, targets, and even bigger numbers, of how many people were housed.

This took place from 1994 to 2003. The housing department serviced 295218 stands, built 193360 new houses and transferred 219679 houses, thereby creating 500000 opportunities and impacting directly on more than 2,5 million people.

But in 2004, the national Housing Department took stock of the kind of service that was being rendered.

From these reviews, conducted not just by officials, but with input from other departments and other relevant structures and institutions, a new plan emerged. This much better plan is called Breaking New Ground.

Through this strategy, the national department moved from chasing numbers, targets and figures to quality services.

Gauteng housing MEC Nomvula Mokonyane said: "In terms of the new strategy, housing had to be more than just eradicating the backlog. It had to be an expression of the new society that we are trying to build. A society responsive to the needs of its people, and delivering according to the needs of the people."

In September 2004, cabinet approved the adoption of the Human Settlement Plan, which aimed to break new ground in the delivery of housing in South Africa.

This strategy determines that sustainable human settlement must be developed to accommodate the people of South Africa with various housing needs in quality housing environments.

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