South Africa can't give free housing forever: minister

19th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

South Africa cannot give free homes to the poor indefinitely, the housing minister said Tuesday, while presenting a budget for the scheme meant to give solid roofs to millions living in shacks.

"Current increasing dependency and pressure on the state are not sustainable for the country going forward," Tokyo Sexwale told lawmakers.

"Somewhere, sometime in the future there will have to come a need to have a cutoff point on the government's subsidised housing, where people can begin to do things for themselves."

South Africa faces a massive housing backlog with 2,700 poorly serviced slums countrywide, partly a reflection of apartheid-era injustices but also of the current migration toward cities.

The country's 2011 housing budget was increased by 38 percent to 22.5 billion rands ($3.3 billion, 2.3 billion euros).

Despite building millions of homes since apartheid, when blacks were forced to live on the edge of cities, housing remains a massive pressure on the state.

Authorities regularly battle protests in shantytowns by destitute black residents angered by rampant joblessness and poor amenities like water, toilets and electricity.

© 2011 AFP

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