R220m set aside to remove asbestos roofs in Eastern Cape, Free State and KZN
A total of R220m has been set aside for the removal of asbestos roofs in government-built houses, says human settlements minister Mmamoloko Kubayi.
Asbestos roofing was banned by government in 2008 due to the material's links to cancer and chronic lung disease.
Kubayi this week tabled the department's R35bn budget for 2023/2024 in parliament.
She said asbestos was an “apartheid relic” that still weighs heavily on the health of poor households.
“We must eradicate asbestos as a priority,” said Kubayi
Asbestos roofs removed in the past financial year include 1,500 in Seshego, Limpopo, and 2,100 in kaNyamazane in Mpumalanga.
“The department is committed to the eradication and correct disposal of asbestos roofs and walls in old township properties in all nine provinces.
“A total budget of R220m has been allocated to the provincial human settlements development grant business plans in the Eastern Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal to implement 27 projects to remove asbestos roofs,” said Kubayi.
Former ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule faces corruption charges related to a multimillion rand Free State asbestos eradication tender awarded during his tenure as premier.
He will appear in court in April 2024 when the R255m corruption case goes to trial.
Kubayi said another priority for the department was the eradication of mud houses, which has been allocated a budget of R1.7bn.
Mud houses' structural integrity is compromised and they are on land unsuitable for settlement. They collapse under the weight of heavy rain and floods.
The minister said since last year, five provinces have implemented the programme to eradicate mud houses. A total of 8,262 houses were demolished.
She said seven provinces planned to demolish 11,791 houses with this year's budget.
“We will introduce remote sensing through satellite technology and other modern technology applications to help us locate and get a total count of mud houses. This means we will have to acquire the skills to capacitate our department to use these technologies.”
Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.
Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.