High hopes for housing list app

Human settlements minister Nomaindia Mfeketo launches the new app in Uitenhage
Human settlements minister Nomaindia Mfeketo launches the new app in Uitenhage
Image: Supplied

The government has a long way to go in terms of meeting the housing demands in the country, human settlements minister Nomaindia Mfeketo acknowledged at the launch of the Nelson Mandela Bay housing list app on Friday – a first in the country.

Speaking to a tent full of people outside the Uitenhage town hall Mfeketo said in the 25 years of democracy, the government had built more than four million houses but more needed to be done.

“We acknowledge the need to do more as the dream of providing housing security and comfort to more people continues to challenge us,” she said.

“But to overcome this challenge we need the efforts of society as a whole – business, NGOs, civic and religious organisations and government – to hold hands.”

Mfeketo said the launch of the electronic demand database system and the electronic land application management system was aimed at providing transparency and to stop corruption when it came to the housing list and speeding up land applications.

“Applicants will no longer travel long distances to visit municipal offices but instead will use data on their phones to access information. And it will protect applicants from individuals with selfish interests who would otherwise want to manipulate the system.

“The system will have builtin security systems and people will be able to check and update their own information and check their whereabouts on the lists.”

Mfeketo said this would reduce the corruption and tension associated with the housing list.

“Like all IT [information technology] systems, this system is based on a set of rules that must comply with a legislative requirement that allocates subsidies and proper IT governance,” Mfeketo said.

The second system was designed to reduce red tape and speed up land approvals.

Nelson Mandela Bay human settlements executive director Nolwandle Gqiba said the housing list incorporated all lists, dating back to the time of the land office.

“Nelson Mandela has a housing backlog of just under 100,000 but at the same time we’re going door to door to find more people. It’s the consolidation of all lists that had been submitted before in the HSS [housing subsidy system].

Human settlements political head Andile Mfunda said the metro was the first municipality in the country to launch the app.

The minister also handed out title deeds to residents who had been recipients of government housing.

One of the beneficiaries, Clifford Jonas, 84, said he had been living in his home for more than 40 years and had never fully felt like he owned his house.

“It’s mine now and I’ve got the papers to prove it. It has taken long enough,” Jonas said.

Zola Thethani, 79, said he had lived in his house since 1985 but was only getting a title deed now.

“I’m very happy but I just want to ask government to fix my roof because when it rains my house leaks,” he said.