26 May 2018


THE OFFICIAL BOKONE BOPHIRIMA GOVERNMENT NEWSPAPER

Home ownership for low earning public servants within reach

by: Kagiso Metswamere   date: 02 february 2018

Public servants who earn inadequate salaries to can afford to buy houses have been advised to apply for the Government Employees Housing Scheme (GEHS). 
The GEHS is an agency of the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and assists government employees to access funding from SA Home Loans (SAHL).
It has become a norm that many public servants only afford to buy or build houses with money they get from their pension funds once they retire from service. This means that pension fund that is meant to make their lives comfortable in old age, now goes towards something they should have done while still working. But while still employed, these public servants often do not qualify for bank-issued home loans and housing subsidies offered by government.
Speaking on Tuesday at the Community Development Workers’ (CDWs) Consultative Engagement in Mahikeng, Senior Manager in DPSA, Russel Mamabolo, said government understood that there are low earning public servants who struggle to secure financing to own houses. 
“Government came up with this scheme because it would like to see most of its employees buying they own homes and not renting as a result,” he said.  
GEHS was meant to help an estimated 1.3 million government employees who earned too little to qualify for a bond from commercial banks. The DPSA initiated the scheme in 2015.
Mamabolo said the DPSA was before 2015 already helping home owners with a subsidy of R900 per month -  now at R 1200 a month - which he acknowledged was not enough for those who do not qualify to get home loans.
He advised Community Development Workers to seek more information about the scheme for themselves and spread information to other public servants in their communities. This information is available on websites of government departments, call centres and offices. 
He also explained different options of the scheme which include individual-linked savings facilities (ILSF), non- mortgage housing loan (unbonded) and mortgage-based housing loan (bond).
“Our scheme is eager to help our public servants with financial applications, negotiating favourable lending terms with financial institutions and facilitate access to housing subsidies. 
We will be more than happy to see more people in the province utilising our scheme because our aim is to remove the difficulties our public servants go through, especially when dealing with financial institutions,” he said.
Community Development Worker from Raboloka village from Madibeng Local Municipality, Mmabatho Luther, said she is happy that the scheme will continue to benefit most of them who do not qualify for bonds from banks.
“This information is important to us who are working on low levels of government because we are always struggling to get bonds for our own homes. We hope that our government will continue to look more on our salary levels and come up with initiatives that will make our lives easy,” she said.