Billions needed to address farmworkers' housing issues

The human settlements and agriculture depts and members of the private sector have met to find a solution to ongoing housing issues facing farm workers.

Farmworkers process rooibos in the Cederberg region. Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN

CAPE TOWN – Western Cape Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela says it's time questions are raised about how to actively improve the conditions for people living on farms.

The provincial Human Settlements and Agriculture departments and members of the private sector gathered in Stellenbosch on Monday to find a solution to ongoing housing issues facing farmworkers.

Madikizela says government has not done enough to ensure land is set aside for this vulnerable group.

The MEC says it would take billions to assist all Western Cape residents in need of decent living conditions.

He adds it's become increasingly difficult to supply free houses because of the state of the economy and has also blamed South Africa's recent downgrade to junk status by two credit rating agencies.

“We have a population that is growing faster than the economy.”

The MEC has highlighted the plight of farmworkers who earn more than R3,000 and do not qualify for a housing subsidy, but also cannot qualify for a home loan.

He's called the summit to engage with farmers and other employers around employer-assisted housing.