No free housing for anyone younger than 40: Sisulu

Anyone younger than 40 will not get a free house from the government, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said on Tuesday.

"Anybody below the age of 40 will need to understand that they are not our priority unless they are special needs or are heads of child-headed households," Sisulu told reporters in Durban.

"Our intention in giving free houses was to right the wrongs of the past and make sure that we can give our people dignity. And that group of people is not the people below the age of 40," she said on the sidelines of the 6th Planning Africa Conference.

She said the government had "received a lot of flak" for not providing free housing to young people.

She said that the message to young people needed to be clear -- that they would not receive free housing. She said the government had made this clear, but many young people still had expectations of free housing.

"I don't know of a country that gives free houses to young people. Free housing in a few years will be something of the past. You [the young people] have lost nothing [to apartheid]."

She told journalists: "Now if it is not clear, say it in every language. None of you are ever going to get a house free from me while I live."

She said government free housing projects were not sustainable. They were aimed at helping those who had suffered under apartheid. She said that within the next few years there should be no victims under the age of 60 without housing.

She said many of those who had suffered under the policies of apartheid were likely to be caught in a poverty trap. The free housing offered by the government would help those.

Sisulu said a central database of people who were entitled to free housing and those who had received housing was being created to resolve problems.

While the government would not provide free housing, it would still provide affordable housing to the young or assist them with financing.

She said there were major problems regarding the sales of free housing received from the government. The department was aiming to liaise with the department of justice to set up special tribunals that would prosecute people who sold free government housing or rented out housing they had received from the government.

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