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The HDA has released land in the North West Province in record time. It took only four months to release land to upgrade the Rooigrand informal settlement.

The settlement is located on state land known as the Remaining Extent of the farm Rooigrond 135 JO, between Lichtenburg and Mafikeng towns of North West Province. It consists of informal and permanent housing structures with informal streets and is home to more than 3 000 households.

The major road (R556) to Mafikeng town passes both the Rooigrond Correctional Services facility and the settlement. A high school known as Madiba High School is situated in close proximity to the settlement. What characterises this settlement is the fact that there have been too many service delivery protests which, in turn, prompted the Province to put in place decisive action to improve the living conditions of the inhabitants of the settlement.

The development of the settlement was hamstrung by the fact that the land on which the settlements is located, was state-owned.

After many unsuccessful attempts by the Mahikeng Municipality and the Province to secure release of the land for human settlement development, the Agency was approached by the MEC to facilitate the release of the land to the Municipality to enable detailed planning and services provision, including tenure upgrading on the settlement.

In February this year, the Agency formally requested the National Department of Public Works for release of the land and after some engagements with the Department, the Minister of Public Works formally approved the release and donation of the 324ha of land on 31 July 2014 for human settlement development purposes. This was a significant achievement as it only took a period of four months for this land to be released, in comparison to other land acquisitions that can take anything from two to five years to be released.

The Minister also issued a Power of Attorney, to facilitate planning on the settlement while the land transfer process is under way.
The significance of this release is the fact that the lead time relating to the release of this property is commendable, and also the fact that immediate access to the land is granted for planning and services provision purposes. Both National and Provincial Human Settlements Portfolio Committees have already visited the settlement.