Ermelo to see construction of 360 social housing units

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GK CRONJE

25 February 2022

While the concept is sound, the additional burden that these units will place on the already dilapidated sewerage and electrical infrastructure of Ermelo has raised red flags with residents and businesses alike.

Suzuki Ermelo (WEB) 22 September 2020.jp

It has been announced that Ermelo will form part of an extensive housing construction project that will see social housing units being constructed, promising over 1000 employment opportunities. Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, revealed the projects that will roll out over the next two years, starting in the financial year 2022/23. The Ermelo project has been dubbed as Willow Creek development, and will, according to the department, be situated in the CBD. Additionally, 492 units are planned to be rolled out in Govan Mbeki Local Municipality. Social housing units (SHU) is a rental or co-operative housing option for households earning between R1 501 - R15 000 per month.

SHU projects require management by an institution, which should be an accredited Social Housing Institution, and projects are developed within areas that contribute to spatial, economic and social development. Through this subsidized programme, individuals can gain access to a rental house or apartment. Government funding is provided to SHU institutions to manage the rental units. Occupants are expected to pay a reduced rental amount, based on their household income, to the appointed institution.

“Social housing is financed with a combination of government funding, debt and equity, making this sub-sector more dynamic and attractive for public-private partnership. These developments aim to increase the supply of rental housing in central locations for low- to middle-income earners,” said Kubayi-Ngubane. According to the minister, SHU solutions are government’s most promising programme that will help to disrupt the apartheid spatial development and make cities more inclusive.

The Willow Creek moniker has been scurried around various developer’s hands since 2015, and if this project is related to the same as above, the housing development would be situated in the wetland between Wes Street and President Fouché Avenue. This is, however, conjecture. The Tribune ePaper repeatedly attempted to contact the Department of Human Settlements to clarify the project’s details, but were referred from person to person, and from department to department, each representative claiming that “it’s not their department” and that they could not provide any information regarding the project. Feedback had been awaited from Charlotte Porter from the department, who would refer the right representative for the department. She, however, failed to reply with the requested information.

Additional enquiries lodged with the department’s Paul Mnisi, which had promised to provide a full scope of project as soon as possible. While the concept is sound, the additional burden that these units will place on the already dilapidated sewerage and electrical infrastructure of Ermelo has raised red flags with residents and businesses alike. Updates on the project will be provided as and when information is received from the department.