The Jabulani Community Residential Units Housing Project was launched by the minister of human settlements, offering almost 2 000 new homes.

HE Jabulani precinct, a mere concept just a few years ago, is fast becoming a reality. The latest initiative to be launched is the Jabulani Community Residential Units Housing Project. Minister Tokyo Sexwale and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe launch the Jabulani housing projectThe R487-million community housing and RDP development was launched by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale and Premier Nomvula Mokonyane on Thursday, 29 March.

Also in attendance was the member of the Joburg mayoral committee for housing, Dan Bovu. The project is a partnership between the City of Johannesburg, property developers Calgro M3, the national Department of Human Settlements and the Gauteng provincial government. Located within the Jabulani hostel and only a stone’s throw from Jabulani Mall, the project consists of 1 919 rental housing stock and fully subsidised RDP housing units. The hostel is expected to be completely demolished to make way for more housing in the near future. The three-storey flats are complete and the only work remaining is installing water and sewer infrastructure.

Occupation of complete units is expected to start at the end of May this year. Speaking at the launch, Sexwale said he was “happy” with the project, which provided hope for the poor. “This hope goes with dignity. What we are seeing now is a new attempt and also a new strategy to offer people land. When we offer people houses, we also offer them land. It’s also about offering people property – an asset.” Hostel The Jabulani housing development offers excellent homes for low-income earnersThe housing development would not only benefit hostel dwellers in Jabulani, but homeless people in Soweto as well, said Sexwale.

“These flats are meant for the gap market, those people earning not more than R3 500 who cannot qualify for a government subsidy for an RDP house or earn too little to get a bank loan.” He had some advice for those who would benefit to get RDP flats, however, saying no-one was allowed to sell the property given to them for free by the government before they had occupied it for 10 years. “If you decide to vacate the property before the 10-year period has elapsed, give that property back to the government,” he said. Turning to the neighbouring hostel, Sexwale said the apartheid government used hostels as a key feature to discriminate against Africans who were not seen as permanent residents in urban areas.

Hostels were also anti-family in that women were not allowed to stay there. “We are providing affordable rental units and fully subsidised RDP family units of high quality, bringing the dignity of the hostel dwellers back.” The housing development was a response to rapid in-migration into Joburg and Gauteng as a whole, said Mokonyane. MMC Dan Bovu and Premier Nomvula Mokonyane at the launch”We are committed not only to doing away with the hostels but we are also formalising informal settlements around Gauteng at a cost of R8,5-billion. There are 18 of these projects across the province committed to changing the quality of life and revitalising our townships.” Jabulani The Jabulani Community Residential Units Housing Project is just one element of a huge economic and housing plan in Jabulani.

The precinct, which has been called Soweto’s Melrose Arch, includes housing, retail and community development components. There is already a huge shopping mall and a hospital; a theatre – the Soweto Theatre – is set to open in a few weeks’ time. Mokonyane said this beehive of economic development would change the face of Soweto. Besides at the Jabulani Hostel, the drive to replace old hostels with sustainable housing is going on in earnest at Diepkloof Hostel, where approximately 1 000 units have been completed. At least 500 units have been added to Meadowlands Hostel, while 405 units have been added to Orlando West Women’s Hostel and 500 to Dube Hostel.

The Mapetla, Nancefield, Liateng, Dobsonville and Klipspruit hostels will undergo similar changes. Approximately 2 191 units are planned for Mapetla Hostel, 1 987 units for Nancefield Hostel, 1 591 for Liateng Hostel, 1 166 for Dobsonville Hostel and 300 for Klipspruit Hostel.

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