Mbabane Is Struggling To Meet Housing Demand

The Chief Planning Officer at the Municipal Council of Mbabane Wandile Thwala says they are approving about 40 building plans a month, which indicates the high demand for housing in the capital city.

Thwala disclosed this during the commemoration of World Habitat Day, held at The Royal Villas in Ezulwini. This year’s theme is ‘Resilient urban economies. Cities as drivers of economic growth.’

The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Housing & Urban Development Dr. Simon Zwane also launched Urban October Eswatini, which will be marked by various activities and engagements that will be done to encourage more efforts towards making human settlements and cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.

Thwala, speaking on behalf of the Chairperson of the Local Association Authorities Managers Association of Eswatini,Lungile Dlamini who is also the CEO of the Municipal Council of Manzini noted that towns are faced with the question of how they can remain resilient in the face of challenges, such as urbanization.

“One of the challenges faced by towns is urbanization as most people migrate to urban towns in search of jobs and a better livelihood. In Mbabane for instance, we are approving over 40 building applications per month, and most of them are housing related.”

He said as people migrate they need housing, and as it stands the demand for housing is extremely high.

“We have noted that most people are building rental units due to the shortage, which is commendable because the demand gap needs to be filled.”

According to the United Nations Population Fund 2022 (UNFPA), Eswatini has a population of 1.2 million of which 43% are children below the age of 17 years. It is safe to say that according to these numbers, urban migration will continue to surge.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Eswatini Housing Board, Mduduzi Dlamini also speaking at the aforementioned event noted that the challenge with urban migration is that most people are migrating to peri-urban areas.

“Peri-urban areas are a direct consequence of no jobs and unaffordable housing, and this challenge is likely going to persist because the economy is not inclusive. The unemployment rate currently stands at around 25%, and the situation is probably dire if we focus on population groups. In actual fact, the average minimum wage in the country is E1 500,” Dlamini notes.

Thwala further noted that without proper planning urbanization can lead to unintended consequences which include crime, among others.

Share With Friends