Stakeholders in the human settlement sector have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) committing themselves to women empowerment.
The Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA), South African Women in Construction (SAWIC) and Built Environment (BE) signed the agreement on Monday during International Women’s Day.
The agreement aims to advance the transformation agenda within the social housing sector, through empowering women to lead and manage accredited Social Housing Institutions (SHIs) and Other Delivery Agents (ODAs).
SHRA is one of the Department of Human Settlements entities, responsible for subsidised rental stock for low to medium income groups earning between R1 500 and R15 000.
Human Settlements Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu welcomed the signing of the MoU, and reiterated that the department’s ultimate goal is to ensure that women are supported to rise and succeed.
“Over the years we have strived to embark on initiatives aimed at unlocking the value chain and ensuring that our grants are gender friendly to encourage broader participation of women in the human settlements sector and built environment.
“I implore women across racial lines to progressively contribute towards building the country’s economy; women need to step up and make an equal contribution in industrial production as well as in the corporate workforce. Seize the economic opportunities presented in the social housing value chain,” Sisulu said.
The Minister also called on the parties to ensure that the MoU is fully implemented and does not become another document that does not yield any tangible results.
Other organisations that committed their support towards the successful implementation of the MoU, include the National Empowerment Fund, Women of South Africa, Black Business Council and the Human Settlements Development Bank.
Last month, Sisulu called for more private sector investment into social housing projects to assist government’s efforts in meeting the demand of social housing units.
Currently the SHRA has 52 projects in the pipeline which are expected to yield 21 000 units. This would require debt investment funding of R3, 6 billion.
“As the world commemorates International Women’s Day, let us all take up the heavy cudgel and fight against all forms of discrimination, chiefly violence against women and economic exclusion. Let it be in our lifetime that we made good on the baton passed on to us by our forbearers to transform and empower the lives of women and [the] girl child,” Sisulu said.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Interim Board Chairperson of SHRA Bathabile Dlamini warned against the empowerment of a few women controlled companies at the expense of the majority of other women.
“The opportunities are for everyone, let us not be greedy and only think for ourselves. As women we are known for caring and nurturing and let us put that into action through this MoU,” Dlamini said.