SA Affordable Housing November - December 2018 // Issue: 73 - Page 4

EDITOR’S COLUMN An industry that makes a difference Every home built is a new beginning for someone... By Warren Robertson S ometimes when dealing with this industry it’s easy to get caught up in the red tape, to look too hard at the details or get lost in the numbers. While peering at the budgets for the newest project it can be easy to forget just what a truly exciting and important industry we are all involved in – changing people’s lives. There is little doubt among anyone involved in affordable housing as to what a massive undertaking it is. In 2016, it was announced that 80% of South Africans live in some kind of formal house, depending on statistical accuracy that means at least 11 million South Africans still need a real home; a solid structure over their heads with four walls. And this is the task that our industry is trying to address. That numbers are scary – 11 million South Africans* currently live in informal settlements and need affordable housing. That’s 11 million lives, 11 million stories, 11 million people for whom having somewhere safe, warm, leak-proof and comfortable to retreat to each night is not guaranteed. Perhaps take a moment to think back on your own childhood, what was it like? Where did you live? Was school close by, or far away? Were the public places you went to safe? Could you play in a park or go buy groceries without being harassed? If the answer to any of these is no, then you already know what it feels like to crave a warm bed, a shower in the morning or have a well-lit desk to do your homework. But it goes even deeper than that. Each and every new home doesn’t just immeasurably alter the future for one family, but in the long term alters the future for our country too. Children who sleep well, eat healthily and who have the opportunity to study unhindered in secure homes, will learn better at school and ultimately go on to build a stronger future than if they are raised unsure of where they will sleep at night. Every hope we have for the future of our country rests on our ability to provide safe, secure and happy homes to those who have never had them. Whether we do that by building cheaper houses or by making finance easier for lower-income families to access, it’s not just about housing statistics, making a profit or maximising sales, we are giving people hope that tomorrow will be better than today and – by building homes – we are literally building the future strength of our economy and our country. Building homes we all know can be a tricky business but if we keep in mind that by building a better country, it can also be a source of strength when you are dealing with a difficult supplier, trying to fight through bureaucracy or sitting up late at night battling with the finances. – You aren’t just there to make a profit or pay your own rent, you are also there to make a difference in the various communities that you serve. Let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture. *Statistics South Africa: 14% of South Africans live in informal settlements (1 in 7), 7% live in traditional dwellings (like a tribal hut) and 78% in formal dwellings. According to Census 2011 the country’s population was 51.77 million; Stats SA’s 2017 mid-year population estimate puts that total at 56.5 million people and 21% of this figure is about 11 million people. SEND US YOUR NEWS, EVENTS OR PROJECTS EMAIL: | CALL: +27 (0) 11 579 4940 2 NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018