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Numsa in housing venture

HUNDREDS of Numsa members in Nelson Mandela Bay are set to benefit from a housing project following the handing over of R43.7-million worth of prime piece of land to its leadership.

Eastern Cape Department of Human Settlements MEC Helen Sauls-August handed over the 27 hectares of vacant land in Parsons Vlei to National Union of Metalworkers of SA [Numsa] general secretary Irvin Jim and Numsa Investment Company CEO Khandani Msibi in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

As part of the memorandum of understanding signed by Sauls-August and Numsa, the union would develop houses and upon completion hand over 110 units to the provincial Department of Human Settlements.

Numsa would build 700 houses during the first phase but “we intend to build 40,000 houses in the next five years throughout South Africa. We will build about 5,000 to 7,000 houses per province depending on the density of Numsa members [in that province]”.

Numsa would develop and sell the houses to their 1,800 members in the region,  “most of whom” did not own houses, Msibi said.

He said their members did not qualify for the free issued government RDP houses and housing subsidies from banks.

Jim said the project was aimed at “closing that gap through Numsa Investment Company". He said they had been trying to identify ways they could better the lives of their members since the union started the company in 1998.

Msibi said: “This is a pilot project. We believe that investment in property is the biggest investment every Numsa member should have”.

When asked who of the 1,800 members would benefit from the housing project and how, Msibi said: “We want to handle this in a consultative manner. In fact we are going to have a local shopsteward council in Port Elizabeth in June where we will discuss all these issues, such as who qualifies for these houses, when construction will begin, how we will allocate these houses. We want to ensure that we all agree on how the process should be handled”.

Whether a member qualified for the house or not would be determined by how much they earned, he said.

The pricing of the house would be influenced by its design and the material used to construct it, Msibi said.

“We will engage with Numsa members on all these issues at the local shopsteward council next month.”

Msibi jokingly said they were not hell-bent on developing “Numsa villages“, saying: “We want Numsa members to live with other people from all walks of life. We are not creating Numsa villages”.

Sauls-August said they were excited about this project as her department was the biggest winner in the deal with Numsa.

“We have signed a MOU [memorandum of understanding] with Numsa. They will make sure all the services, the bulk infrastructure, and the top structures are put in place [in the land]. And we have requested 110 houses from them [from this project]. That off-sets what [R43.7-million] we have paid for for the land because Numsa will be the developers of this project. We are very excited.”

Ref: The PE Herald

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