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Covid19: Government has R300 million available for rent relief assistance

Government housing in Langa, Cape Town. (Getty)

  • R300million was made available for rental assistance during the nationwide lockdown.
  • Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Pam Tshwete said Covid-19 had disrupted budgets in all departments.
  • The provincial emergency grant was increased from Rand 377 million to Rand 672 million.

The government reallocated R300 million for rent relief assistance to social housing institutions during the nationwide shutdown.

This was revealed on Wednesday by the Department of Human Settlements in a hybrid session of Parliament’s portfolio committee on human settlements, water and sanitation.

The department also presented its adjusted budget for fiscal year 2020/21.

READ | SA facing the double storm of Covid-19 and hunger

Deputy Managing Director Joseph Leshabane said an additional R300 million has been reallocated to provide debt relief to borrowers in the affordable rental housing sector in the form of a grant to National Housing Finance Corporation.

“We have introduced two specific additions to our entity transfers. We are introducing an allocation of R300 million for affordable rent relief and another R300 million for affordable rent relief for tenants who do not stay. in social housing. This is a work in progress, and we will come back to the committee once this framework is finalized, “he said.

Leshabane said more money had been allocated for emergency housing.

“What you will see is the provincial emergency grant which has increased from Rand 377 million to Rand 672 million.

“Again, this is a very important adjustment because for us emergency housing under these circumstances has become quite central in the modernization of informal settlements,” he said.

Disturbances

Leshabane also added that consultations with the National Treasury are ongoing.

“On our schedule, we are on schedule to finalize our consultations, including the Treasury, by the end of this month.

“I say this because we now need to go back and review all the relief measures that are now available for households, UIF and other issues.

“Then we had to reconcile all of that to avoid a double-dipping scenario; it turned out to be much more intense than we had originally planned, but we have the proposal and the project is on the table. There is still work to be done. ,” he said.

READ | Lockdown: Dlamini-Zuma asks SCA for leave to appeal High Court ruling

MEPs also voiced concerns about the reduction of R377 million in the land title restoration grant.

Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Pam Tshwete said Covid-19 had disrupted budgets in all departments.

“We have to do things differently in the future because of Covid-19,” she said. “We take note of the fact that some budget cuts will have a negative impact on us.

“We fully understand that such cuts were made necessary by Covid-19 and we will do what we can with what we have. We spend what we are given.

“We will be monitoring municipalities and provinces, particularly on the issue of title deeds. We know that provinces do not always use this grant.”

The committee also called on the department to speed up the modernization of informal settlements.


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