Minister Kubayi hints at policy changes to respond to women’s home ownership

The Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi, has called for a policy review on joint home ownership to respond to particularly cases of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) or divorce in relation to fully government-subsidized homes, also known as Breaking New Ground (BNG).

Minister Kubayi said it was concerning that some women have been disqualified because their names are added as the housing beneficiaries alongside their partners, and this remains post-separation or divorce. The current government policy on BNG houses stipulates that government cannot grant a subsidy to the same person more than once.

“A government that cares has an obligation to respond to women’s pressing needs. This includes reviewing our policies in response to today’s challenges facing our nation such as GBV, which compels women to flee unsafe and abusive households to protect themselves and their children,” said Minister Kubayi.

“When you as women run to us, we must be able to provide. Those engagements have ensued to look at what we can do and how we can assist women, especially in response to cases related to GBV.”

In commemorating Women’s Month, under the theme: “Accelerating Socio-Economic Opportunities for Women Empowerment”, the Minister commended women’s contribution to housing the nation through the provision of sustainable human settlements, while also acknowledging the remarkable work by women in the sector to ensure that “we leave up to the ideals of the Freedom Charter that there shall be houses, security, and comfort”

The government, through the Department of Human Settlements, has over the years created over 3 million housing opportunities. This has provided decent and affordable housing to millions of South Africans.

“Behind every housing unit that this government has delivered, there is a woman. Women have played several roles in our housing projects. Their contributions speak volumes. They have assisted us to deliver on our mission which is to improve the quality of household life”, added Minister Kubayi.

She paid tribute to a generation of women who broke barriers for future generations and laid the foundation to fight for gender equality, for women to be treated with the respect they deserve, to have opportunities and make a contribution to the best of their ability in all spheres of life.

While women have played an active role in the sector, there is still extensive work to be done in coordinated fashion to ensure that women enjoy equal economic opportunities as their male counterparts.

“We must be deliberate about transformation. I call upon Provinces to use this month to reflect on how much has been done to enable women to access at least 40% of work opportunities. Let us use this month to change the status quo. We must walk tall in their footsteps and wage the struggle for gender equality with courage and determination,” said Minister Kubayi.

It is amongst these reasons that the Department of Human Settlements will this month convene a Women in Human Settlements Indaba to discuss opportunities aimed at empowering and increasing the economic participation of women in the sector. The Department will also highlight some of the opportunities, interventions by government and strides that have been made to advance women’s interest – with particular focus on access to market, finance and leveraging on innovative building technologies.

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