Department of Human Settlements (DHS) made a commitment in 2004, sixteen years ago, to “Remove barriers to Housing Trade” in their ‘Breaking New Ground’ document.

Image credit: Bread of Life Voice

Image credit: Bread of Life Voice

This commitment was to amend Section 10A of the Housing Act, 1997 from an eight-year period, to five years. This refers to the sale of government-subsidised property, which prohibited the sale for eight years.

The recent Transaction Support Centre: Lessons learned, a CAHF and 71-point report, contains a recommendation that,” revise or remove Section 10A and Section 10B of the Housing Act.1997”, which indicates that DHS has simply not done anything about their own law, in spite of their commitment to do so.

There is no justification that, with the acute housing shortage South Africa has, that the very department tasked with ensuring housing for all cannot address their own commitments.

Furthermore, in the same document of 2004, DHS committed to “Enhancing access to title”. The CAHF report suggests this is still a problem and DHS’s “to establish a high priority focus to complete registration of transfer…” clearly has lost momentum if indeed there was any momentum!

Okay, much of the implementation relies on our dysfunctional municipal authorities, but DHS should still stand in the dock for not making the changes they said they would in 2004.

So where to now? What makes this worrying is that the ‘Breaking new Ground’ document has pride of place on the department’s opening website page.