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Vacant buildings and land to be used for gender-based violence sites, student housing, among others, in eThekwini

Former Department of Social Welfare building. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

Former Department of Social Welfare building. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Dec 14, 2021

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DURBAN – Vacant buildings and land within the eThekwini Municipality are expected to be used for gender-based violence sites, student housing, waste management bureau and advertisement and revenue generation.

That was according to Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia de Lille in response to a parliamentary written question from the IFP’s Khethamabala Sithole.

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Sithole had asked De Lille how many buildings and vacant land in the eThekwini Municipality area were owned by her department, how many of those were unoccupied and what plans were in place to utilise them.

De Lille said in the eThekwini Municipality said there were 1 083 buildings and 96 vacant land parcels owned by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure and the total number of the specified buildings and land parcels that were unoccupied and vacant was 102.

“The plans by the department are to use some of these for gender-based violence sites through Social Development; student housing; Waste Management Bureau through the Department of Environmental, Forestry and Fisheries and advertisement and revenue generation,” De Lille said.

In October, Human Settlements and Public Works MEC Jomo Sibiya said dilapidated government properties in eThekwini and KwaZulu-Natal were already being converted into social housing, while others were donated to communities for use.

This was after ActionSA called for the buildings to be turned into social houses for middle-class and student accommodation.

Sibiya responded by saying ActionSA was calling for something his department had already started doing.

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Meanwhile, in another written parliamentary question, EFF’s Mothusi Montwedi asked De Lille on what policy did she rely on in the leasing of state buildings for residential andor business purposes and how consistent was the application of the policy in each province.

“I have been informed by the department that the government Immovable Asset Management Act 19 of 2007 provides guidance in respect of the disposal of immovable assets. The National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure Immovable Asset Disposal Policy, which was approved by the minister on May 30, 2013, is used when leasing state-owned buildings for both residential and/or business purposes,” De Lille said.

She added that the 2007 Business Processes for Property Management, developed in terms of Public Finance Management Act of 1999, is used by all provincial regional offices to ensure consistency. In addition,the revised circular 135 of 2020 on letting of state-owned properties further ensures consistency.

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