Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, says she believes she is up to the task to head the merged portfolios.
Speaking to Bongani Bingwa, the minister says merging human settlement with water and sanitation makes a lot of sense.
The one deals with the infrastructure that we need for human settlement and the other one deals with the end product. We should have done this a long time ago, but we have done it now.— Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister - Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation
She says the housing backlog will not keep up with supply in the foreseeable future because the continent is experiencing rapid urbanisation.
We just have to plan for it and prepare for it, this is what we are planning to do which is prepare for rapid urbanisation. People are moving into the city where job opportunities present themselves. We are also experiencing rapid migration from other countries and we will have this for the next 10-12 years.— Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister - Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation
She says her stance on illegal occupations is that they are illegal and shouldn't be happening.
However, illegal occupations happen, and we need to face reality. The options that municipalities have is to make sure that the matter is taken to court. To get a court eviction for anyone who has illegally invaded the land, whether it is private or state land.— Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister - Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation
She says, however, there are problems associated with evictions.
Illegal occupations happen around the most vulnerable time for any family, they occur in winter, and that gives a terrible impression of government when we evict people in winter. What we are doing now is investing in satellite technology that will assist in monitoring vacant spaces because we can't just stand by and allow illegal evictions.— Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister - Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation
Sisulu adds that the government has limited resources that have to be spread across many departments.
We get a fraction of those resources, and we are only able to build so many houses per year. The demand will always outstrip what we can provide. But that doesn't give anyone the right to occupy the land illegally. The solution we are trying to do now is we now have an instrument called expropriation of land in a draft bill and we are hoping to fast track this so that government can expropriate land that belongs to the state first and foremost.— Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister - Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation
Listen below to the full interview: