More than 300 municipal councillors, traditional leaders and officials from various Eastern Cape municipalities were awarded certificates upon successful completion of Human Settlements Management short learning programmes undertaken at Nelson Mandela University over the last two years.
Partaking in these short learning programmes was part of a capacity-building initiative commissioned to the university by the Eastern Cape Department of Human Settlements and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.
Mandela University houses the Chair for Human Settlements and introduced a four-year professional Bachelor of Human Settlements Development qualification in 2014, and continues to offer skills programmes to practitioners in the human settlements sector.
This, as the institution’s contribution to the agenda of the National Department of Human Settlements for creating a knowledgeable, skilled and professional workforce for the effective implementation of the human settlements development programmes across the three spheres of government and its agencies.
Present at the certification ceremony yesterday (25 April) was the Deputy Minister for Human Settlements, MP Ms Zou Kota-Fredericks, and representatives from the provincial and municipal human settlements directorates.
Addressing attendees to the certification ceremony, minister Kota-Fredericks said in line with government’s imperatives to provide not only adequate housing, but also integrated and sustainable communities, there was a need for a better capacitated workforce.
“This necessitated different human capacity; requiring people who understand housing and sustainable human settlements in the context of the policy environment, the business aspects, financial issues, construction issues, environmental impact, social development, geographical location, information and communication,” she said.
“Thus, amongst the best decisions we’ve ever taken as this government, was to partner with this University to establish the Chair for Education in Human Settlements.”
Minister Kota-Fredericks said establishing the Chair was critical for spearheading one of the institutional research themes of the University, Human Settlements Development and Management to generate, transfer knowledge and develop skills and competencies towards improving management of Human Settlements Development Processes that will support the delivery of services and houses.
This, while contributing to the new and improved human settlements, especially in low income areas, and thus improving the quality of household life and communities thereby making a positive impact on society.
Prof Sijekula Mbanga, who occupies the national research Chair for Human Settlements, said in response to the national challenges around the development of integrated sustainable human settlements, the University would continue crafting programmes to capacitate the existing workforce while encouraging youngsters to take up studies in the field.
“The Chair has been playing an instrumental role in supporting the establishment of a South African Professional Council for Human Settlements and ensuring cooperation with other African universities in locating the human settlements sector professionalisation programme within the operational plan of the Agenda for Africa Development Vision 2063,” he said.
“The Chair has also fostered strong relations with the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on evolving a South African 10-year Roadmap for Science, Technology and Innovations for Sustainable Human Settlements.”
Some of the Human Settlements Management Short Learning Programmes that the councillors, traditional leaders and municipality officials have participated in include Sustainable Human Settlements Planning, Land Policies and Legislation, Informal Settlements Upgrading Theories and Practices, Property Law and managing public participation in housing and human settlement developments.
Key programmes planned for the future at the University include the introduction of a one-year Higher Certificate in Human Settlements Development (targeting those already in employment); a Master of Human Settlements Development and a Doctor of Philosophy in Human Settlements Development.