S.Africa's budget highlights urban and housing development - CNBC Africa

S.Africa's budget highlights urban and housing development

Financial

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The assignment this year of the human settlements function to metropolitan municipalities is a vital intervention. PHOTO: Getty Images

“Our development plans focus on overcoming the spatial fragmentation of South Africa’s built environment, improved public transport and accelerated investment in human settlements,” Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday at the presentation of the 2014 National Budget. 

“An integrated city development grant has been introduced to strengthen long-term city planning and encourage private investment in urban development. It will amount to 814 million rand over the medium term. The assignment this year of the human settlements function to metropolitan municipalities is a vital intervention in accelerating housing investment and integrated urban development.” 

According to the National Budget, which was presented to Parliament in Cape Town, spending on housing and community amenities increased from 132.1 billion rand in 2013 to 142.9 billion rand in 2014. 

As a result of this, local government and community development will receive 80.3 billion rand expenditure, housing development will receive 34.8 billion rand and water supply will receive 27.8 billion rand. 

“Over the next three years, national government will allocate 105 billion rand to municipalities for free basic water, sanitation, electricity and refuse removal services. In rural districts, Minister Gugile Nkwinti’s development initiatives are gaining momentum and water supply and sanitation programmes are in progress,” Gordhan said. 

“Three point nine billion rand has been allocated to capacity building programmes over the MTEF, targeted at small towns and rural municipalities. Special initiatives include: 3.7 billion rand in conditional grants to municipalities, 857 million rand for the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency [and] 276 million rand for the human settlements Upgrading Support Programme in 53 municipalities.” 

Other special initiatives also see a new grant of 300 million rand a year to assist metropolitan municipalities in managing the human settlements function and a further 180 million rand as part of the human settlements development grant earmarked for settlement upgrading in mining towns.

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