Friday, February 12, 2010

Zuma pledges to assist poor with housing - A new Bloemfontein!

New opportunities for business to be part of the economic transformation agenda were offered by President Jacob Zuma last night in a proposal that private banks become intricately involved in a R1 billion housing-for-the-poor plan while releasing thousands of hectares of state land for this purpose.

The president also proposed a separate electricity agency that would buy from independent power producers (IPPs) and end Eskom's monopoly on power purchases.

In a business-friendly opening of parliament speech - his second - he called on business and private citizens to become involved in assisting the poor and marginalised. Zuma was also candid about the government's failure to provide permanent job opportunities.

He acknowledged that during the recession about 900 000 jobs were lost. "Many of those who lost their jobs were the breadwinners in poor families."

He argued, however, that his pledge in his last State of the Nation speech to provide 500 000 job opportunities had almost been met. "We are pleased to announce that by the end of December, we had created more than 480 000 public works job opportunities, which is 97 percent (sic) of the target."...

- Business Report

...Voicing concern over the many South Africans who earned above the threshold for housing grants but could gain bank loans to build houses, he said they would be supported by a R1bn "guarantee fund" where the government would underwrite loans to lower income families.

He said the state would garner about 600 000 hectares - about the size of Bloemfontein - for low-income "and affordable" housing.

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