Minister to set up task force on state land for housing


By Matthew Hirsch, GroundUp

Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa has instructed the ministers of human settlements and public works respectively to investigate claims by housing activists that land be transferred to communities, presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya confirmed.

In August, GroundUp reported that activists from Ndifuna Ukwazi and other organizations marched on the president’s Cape Town residence to demand that the State Land Disposal Act of 1961 be used to make state land available for housing.

It gives the president the power to donate, sell, lease or exchange any piece of government land in the country. The activists have already identified 32 pieces of land in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape that they believe can be used for housing.

Frustrated by the lack of response from Ramaphosa and the office of the president, the activists wrote an open letter about this last month.

However, Magwenya says the inquiries were only received on 30 April.

“It seems that these e-mails did not reach the appropriate office in the presidency and did not receive the necessary attention.

“The President instructed the Minister of Human Settlements and the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure to set up a joint task force to address the issues raised by Ndifuna Ukwazi.”

In addition to Ndifuna Ukwazi, organizations that are involved in the campaign include Indomba Yabahali, Inthouyu YaseMatyotyombeni, Reclaim the City, Housing Assembly, Surplus People’s Project, Abahlali baseMjondolo (KwaZulu-Natal) and the Inner City Federation (Johannesburg).

Mpho Raboeane, acting director of Ndifuna Ukwazi, says they plan to make more presentations to the presidency soon.

“Ensuring right of residence will change the playing field for South Africans in general. With security, people can start investing in their home and use it as a way to gain access to the formal economy,” she said.

  • This report was originally published on GroundUp and is used with permission.