Address by H.E. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa at the Albert Luthuli Housing Project, Chief Luthuli Sports Field, Gauteng, 22 July 2007

Salutations

Programme director,
Minister of Housing, Ms. Lindiwe Sisulu,
Premier of Gauteng, Mr. Mbhazima Shilowa
MPLs, MPs, Mayors, ABSA Management,
Family of Inkosi Albert Luthuli,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen.

Introduction

Today, we remember the 40th anniversary of the passing of a great leader, Inkosi Albert Luthuli, who stood for human rights and freedom for all.

Inkosi Albert Luthuli is the greatest son of Africa. He joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1945. In 1952 Chief Luthuli was one of the leading lights behind the Defiance Campaign - a non-violent protest against the pass laws. The Apartheid government was, unsurprisingly, annoyed and he was summoned to Pretoria to answer for his actions. Luthuli was given the choice of renouncing his membership of the ANC or being removed from his position as tribal chief (The post was supported and paid for by the government). Albert Luthuli refused to resign from the ANC, issued a statement to the press ("The road to Freedom is via the Cross") which reaffirmed his support for passive resistance to Apartheid, and was subsequently dismissed from his chieftaincy in November.

"I have joined my people in the new spirit that moves them today. The spirit that revolts openly and broadly against injustice."

At the end of 1952 Albert Luthuli was elected president-genera of the ANC. In 1961Chief Albert Luthuli was awarded the 1960 Nobel Prize for Peace (it had been held over that year) for his part in the ant-Apartheid struggle

This Housing Project, named after him, symbolises his solidarity with the poor and marginalised. Today the community of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council, and in deed the whole of South Africa is adding to the list of those who recognized his contribution to the struggle for freedom, his love for humanity.

He always had a dream for our land; he wanted nothing but the best.

When he was conferred with a Nobel Peace Prize in 1961. The "true patriots of South will be satisfied with nothing less than the fullest democratic rights". I am sure his spirit lies amongst us celebrating our democracy.

Meaning of the Housing Project

Today also marks an important day in the building of sustainable human settlements, which contribute to our struggle for a better life. We have built this mixed housing project to respond to the needs of our people and to enhance their comfort.
I, therefore, take this opportunity to say siyabonga to the Gauteng Department of Housing, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality and ABSA Bank.

You are all commended in your quest for innovation in terms of excellent service delivery. I also want to commend the housing department's continued innovative spirit in the quest of improving housing delivery in South Africa. The Gauteng Department of Housing has to date established 13 mixed housing projects, which steadily ensures that we undo the Apartheid's legacy and encourage social cohesion.

This Housing Project will provide quality and affordable homes to people who most need hope and a sense of dignity.

Breaking New Ground Policy

Ladies and gentlemen, this democratic government is committed to building sustainable human settlements as defined in the comprehensive Breaking New Ground Policy. The objectives of this Policy are mainly to:

  • create integrated communities;
  • do away with an apartheid system of spatial planning based on race and wealth;
  • bring housing settlements closer to places of work; and
  • thus lessen financial spending on transport.

There are other benefits and advantages to this sort of mixed income housing development.

  • creates opportunities for the poor to be integrated into the mainstream of housing market; and
  • cross-subsidization of basic services and savings on infrastructure development.

This Policy falls in line with government's Program of Action (PoA) to strive and work for the attainment of 'a better life for all'.

Second economy intervention

The poorest of the poor rely on government to deliver on their aspirations. We recognise, as government, that we have to move faster to address challenges of poverty eradication and second economy interventions. We also acknowledge that not everyone who is benefiting from projects such as the one we are launching today is financially well-off.

It is for this reason the Albert Luthuli Housing Project is important in deepening and broadening housing to the lower and middle income groupings.

Moreover, this is in line with our pledge to Target 11 of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Seven that aims at improving the living conditions of at least 100 million people by the year 2020.

To this end, I am sure you will agree with me that this Housing Project forms part of our efforts to eradicate the housing backlog and contributes towards enhancing economic development. To date, government has built 2.4 million houses in the last 12 years providing a roof over eight million people. This is no small achievement by any known standard! However, we are committed to ensuring that we meet the MDGs and provide even more South Africans with a roof over their heads.

Public-private partnerships (PPP)

An important and critical milestone in the delivery of mixed tenure housing by the private sector and exemplifies the capability of public private partnerships.

The development of affordable housing is a priority of the Social Contract between government, civil society and business.

A Social Contract, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Financial Sector Charter (FSC) between government and business refer to a supply of credit to the lower income groups. It refers to provision of sustainable funds and subsidies to the marginalised who would otherwise not have access to housing finance.

We welcome the commitment of R24 billion by 2008 made by the 4 main banks to finance the low-income market. This is sure to accelerate housing delivery. That achieved will truly be one of the best contributions towards shared growth. Without private sectors' contribution towards those who experience economic exclusion there is no shared growth.

As long as the poor workers live far from their places of work, spend more time and greater portions of their meagre wages on transport. Yet the rich spend less money on transport as they generally live closer to their places of employment. We will have growing inequalities and not shared growth. That is not the vision of Albert Luthuli.

Conclusion

An integrated housing and human settlement programme provides relief and hope to our people. It marks a significant effort at building sustainable communities.

In honour of the man after whom this Housing Project is named, Inkosi Albert Luthuli, let us recall what he said about the poor and marginalised: "In economic matters (they) will be satisfied with nothing less than equality of opportunity in every sphere. To compromise would be treacherous to democracy" We are not there yet we need a national consensus a shared dream to achieve the vision of Inkosi Luthuli. I believe we can and must not look back. We have a worked hard to create an enabling environment

I thank you.

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