The Lufhereng Social Housing Project

By Phumzile Mahlangu

PhumzileThe launch of the Lufhereng Social Housing Project in Soweto last year gave effect to the promise of the Freedom Charter on housing. The Charter, which was drafted in 1955, states that “all people shall have the right to live where they choose, be decently housed, and to bring up their families in comfort and security”.

Completing this project was also a fulfilment of the right enshrined in our constitution that “everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing”. The project forms part of government efforts to redress the apartheid spatial planning and the housing backlog. It prioritises people living in informal settlements or backyard dwellings and integrates mixed-income groups as well as brings people closer to economic opportunities.

The project consists of 407 new face brick units, and three-storey walk-up blocks, of which 82 are single-bedroom units and 325 two-bedroom units. The Lufhereng is a mixed-use mega-housing development expected to accommodate at least 22,500 households. It is one of the biggest integrated initiatives undertaken in the City of Johannesburg.

The 2023 launch built on the successful launch of the restructured First-Home-Finance scheme, formerly known as the Help-Me-Buy-A-Home, early last year. The scheme, which is presented in partnership with development finance institutions, commercial banks, and other financing institutions, is a game changer as it allows those who are excluded by our mainstream financial system to qualify to buy a property.

These are middle-income earners who neither qualify for RDP nor bank-bonded housing. People who qualify for this scheme are those who earn between R3 501 to R22 000 per month.

To help public servants own homes, a memorandum of understanding has been signed between the National Housing Finance Corporation, an agency of the Department of Human Settlements, and the Department of Public Service and Administration to enable government employees to access mortgage finance from commercial lenders through First-Home-Finance.

Another project, that caters to middle-income earners, is the Sky City Housing Development in Alberton. About R610 million has already been spent on the project which comprises 5 827 residential stands and 534 high-density units. It also boasts a shopping centre, filling station, transport hub, and social amenities including schools and churches.

Through these schemes and projects, we are making strides in building a more cohesive and inclusive society. Our housing developments have created vibrant communities that have a range of recreational.

As government, we welcome the participation of all sectors of society in particular the private sector in these projects. By working together, we can ensure that the aspirations of our people to have access to houses and better economic opportunities as demanded in the Freedom Charter are realised.

Those who wrote the historic document, which was penned in Kliptown, Soweto, in 1955, taught us that to build a country that works for everyone is not only possible but each generation should play its part. We thank them for their courage and dedication that pushed this country forward in its march toward a democratic South Africa. 

Let us continue with their work to ensure that we have adequate housing, services, and transportation, which will contribute to building the South Africa we want as envisioned in the National Development Plan.

Phumzile Mahlangu is Assistant Director: Communication Resource  Centre at GCIS