Section 2 of the Housing Act compels all three spheres of government to prioritise the needs of the poor in respect of housing development. Millions of poor South Africans are looking to the Government to provide them with adequate housing to restore their dignity and that of their families. Shelter, a basic human right, is the very area in which the ANC government is failing dismally.
Human Settlements departments in most provinces are crippled by corruption, fraudulent housing allocations and the mismanagement of public funds. The money spent does not match the number of houses built.
At a housing project in Thabong (G- Block) in Welkom, Free State, no work has been done except for digging of trenches for a contract which was awarded in 2014 at a cost of R220 million. People were moved from the site to create space for construction. They were settled in a space where there are no toilets, no water and without electricity where they remain to date. This project was awarded to Mrs Nozuko Mbalula and Hlaudi Motsoeneng through their Mbuma and MM Development Trusts. Imali yona imkile ngexa abantu abahluphekileyo besajonge enkalweni ukuza kukaNxele.
In the same province, in Vogelfontein in Bethlehem, an RDP Project remains incomplete without toilets and electricity. Residents, including children, are exposed to serious health hazards while R70 million was paid to Unital Holdings, linked to Ace Magashule’s daughter, by the Provincial Department of Human Settlements.
The DA has laid charges with Bethlehem SAPS for an investigation to be undertaken. We now bring these issues to the attention of Minister Mfeketho so she can act. Aba bantu batya imali karhulumente ebimele ukuxhamla abantu abangathathi ntweni kufuneka baphoswe kwesimnyama isisele.
Performance of the department in dispensing title deeds is shocking. The Western Cape Government is the front runner in giving its citizens title deeds. On the 09th May 2018, we attended a ceremony wherein the people of Delft could not hide their joy when their dignity was respected through the handing over of title deeds by the Western Cape Human Settlements Department.
We however cannot say the same about 84-year-old Maome Makgala from Ficksburg, Free State, who has a title deed which indicates that her house was built in 2004. Guess what, akanayo indlu uhlala emkhukhwini. Ndinayo iaddress yomkhukhu ahlala kuwo.
There is a need for a credible National Database of housing beneficiaries which is transparent and accessible to the public. In its current form, it is manipulated and helps only those with money and those who are connected. In Unit P, just outside Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape, RDP houses are sold by officials known to the community. Others paid money but never even got those houses. In the same project izindlu zakhiwe emgxobhozweni. Xa kunetha amanzi ayangena ngaphakathi.
Elsewhere in the Eastern Cape, opposite Phakamisa Township, the ward councillor is giving houses to friends and relatives. Rightful beneficiaries from Zwelitsha have been crying with no help. We are in possession of a list of these individuals whose dignity has been sold off by the elite. This all points to the flawed housing beneficiary lists which do not benefit the poor.
The North West Province voluntarily returned R300 million which they felt they would not be able to spend. They went on to claim that they had no beneficiaries to build houses for. This is despite the fact that South Africa has a housing backlog numbering in the millions. In certain projects, units stand unoccupied for so long that renovations are necessary before the units can be occupied. Kutheni abantu benganikwa izindlu zabo xa zigqityiwe ukwakhiwa? There is simply no political will or commitment to serve the poor in the North West province. The resignation of Supra Mahumapelo unfortunately won’t be enough to address the depths of the rot in the government of that province.
In Mpumalanga, Steve Tshwete Municipality, we visited Rockdale housing project where houses stood vacant so long they were eventually vandalised. Beneficiaries like 43-year-old Ms Siphiwe Nhari took occupation of her house forcefully with no basic services. She had to pay money for water connection which is not up to standard. Some houses are occupied by employees of the contractor while rightful beneficiaries are still waiting in shacks with no basic services. Certainly Ms Siphiwe Nhari is one of those who do not have a good story to tell.
Where we govern in the Western Cape, we deliver. Even though we chase a moving target of informal settlements to formalize, we do our best to provide citizens with respectable houses. No wonder the Western Cape got the Govan Mbeki award as a top performer. We will continue on this path until all South Africans are able to benefit from our DA’s service excellence.