Government is currently in talks with the private sector to introduce a new housing scheme for public servants who fall under a pay bracket that cannot afford a home loan or qualify for low-cost housing.
Public Service and Administration Minister Collins Chabane announced this when briefing journalists prior to tabling the Budget Vote for his department in Parliament, on Thursday.
His announcement comes after Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu also alluded to holding similar talks with banks to cater for the working class in the same pay bracket outside the public service.
“We have reached a point where we think government will have to intervene …
“There is a housing subsidy now but the problem persists, and we have to tackle the problem differently. That is where the issue of the housing scheme becomes important for us.
“For us, the task was to explore the possibility of setting up a housing scheme. We have done all the paper work and the number crunching. We have looked at the various models and we think we are ready to finalise it,” he said.
Minister Chabane said this plan had already been discussed with labour unions, and that it would, once is finalised, form part and parcel of future wage negotiations as far as the housing allowance was concerned.
He said while public servants get paid a housing allowance, it was still not enough for them to get decent accommodation.
“There is a problem, and the problem is that a majority of public servants – particularly at lower [salary] levels – are not able to access bonds in the markets. They are not able to access low-cost housing.
“Let me give you an anecdote. I am sitting as a public service employee. I am a clerk, and I have to process low-cost housing for those who can’t afford. I process a house for people who are not working, and I go home and sleep in a shack.
“This category of people has a housing subsidy but this housing subsidy cannot translate into a house,” he said.
He said the housing market was not friendly enough to afford people at that level an opportunity to own a house.
The minister said for this reason, there was a need to find a formula in the form of a scheme to help this category of people afford housing.
“I think we are at a point now where we can provide a solution to the problem,” he said.
Source : SAnews.gov.za