2022/23 Budget Vote 8: Department of Human Settlements

May 11, 2022 | Press Releases

2022/23 BUDGET VOTE 8: DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS
Debate by:
Mbongeleni Joshua Mazibuko, IFP MPL
Wednesday, 11 May 2022

 

Hon. Chairperson, Hon. Members, and our esteemed guests. The recent floods, which devastated KwaZulu-Natal, will go down history as one the worst crises that has ever befallen our Province. Multitudes lost all that was dear to them – their loved ones, hard-earned possessions, sources of livelihood, bodily and spiritual health etc. As the IFP, we join many men and women of goodwill who beseech the Self-Existent for His unequalled mercy, restoration, and wisdom.

FLOODS HIGHLIGHTED HOUSING CRISIS
These floods, Hon. Chairperson and Hon. Members, highlighted the very serious crisis of housing or human settlements, in South Africa.

Linda Givetash highlights this issue in the “Deadly floods in KZN shine spotlight on SA’s housing crisis, by referring to Thulisile Ntobela, whose house “was among the 87 homes that vanished in seconds when the ground, over-saturated with flood water, crumbled at the informal settlement of eNkanini in Durban.”

Givetash also reveals that “nearly 13% of South Africa’s 59 million people live in informal settlements, according to 2019 government statistics.”

“Despite more than three million government houses being constructed since then, the shortfall has ballooned to 3.7 million homes, according to the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa….”

Another article indicates that “South Africa’s housing crisis is described by some as a “ticking time-bomb” (and it) grows louder in the eThekwini Municipality every year – with an estimated one million people in need of government-assisted housing.”

It further states that “according to city documents, the eThekwini Municipality has a backlog of more than 440 000 houses to build. However, between 2016 and 2019, they managed to only build an average of 4 000 houses per annum.

It goes on: “This means at the current pace it is building homes, it would take the City more than 100 years to clear the backlog if it had to include building the infrastructure around the houses.”

Unfortunately, “most of the backlog is experienced by low-income households who earn less than R 3 500 per month.”

ON TEMPORARY HOUSES
Hon. Chairperson, I wish we could welcome the MEC’s assurances that Temporary Houses for the victims of flood will not turn into permanent transit camp. But past experiences based on the broken promises by your predecessors, who are ANC leaders, make us take your assurances with a pinch of salt. Ordinary people who were dumped in the transit camps were given the same assurances. But some infants who occupied these transit camps with their parents are now adults. But the prophesied day of leaving Transit Camps has never come. Just one example. Residents of a Transit Camp in Gwala Road in Lamontvile were placed in the Transit Camp in about March 2020. They were assured that they would never stay there beyond six months. We are now in the second year. When the floods raged, these residents, on their own, without any government assistance, fled to the nearest place of safety, Wemmer Hostel Hall. They told me that Wemmer residents and even the Ward 75 Councillor welcomed them with open arms. They stated unequivocally that ever since they occupied that Hall, they have never received any government help. They live because of good Samaritans. Among these good Samaritans was the IFP, whose NEC charged its President and leaders to visit these areas. Their story is long and painful; I cannot exhaust it here.

CAUSES OF THE CRISIS

Fraud and Corruption
Hon. Chairperson and Hon. Speaker, the largest parts of the causes of the crisis our people find themselves in, should be laid at the governing party’s door.
One of the causes of the crisis confronting our Province, is highlighted by Clive Ndou in an article of 2 May 2022 entitled:

“KZN government accumulates R48 billion in irregular expenditure,” which stated: The KwaZulu-Natal Legislature’s select committee on public accounts (Scopa) has called for an emergency meeting with provincial departments after billions of rands could not be accounted for.”

“The departments, which by March had accumulated R48 billion in irregular expenditure, want the Provincial Treasury to condone some of the irregular transactions.”

It later says:
“In the case of the provincial human settlements department’s irregular transaction of about R400 million, the provincial treasury declined to condone the amount as there was proof that the transaction could be as a result of criminal conduct by the department’s officials.

“A submission from Human Settlements amounting to R394 939 383 has not been considered as the forensic investigation report provided indicates that these transactions, resulting from deviation from the normal SCM (supply chain management) competitive bidding processes were subject to fraudulent, corrupt, and criminal activities.”

“It has been recommended that the department follow the relevant steps required in terms of Treasury Regulations 4,5 and 12 to address this irregular expenditure,” the provincial treasury said.”

Nepotism
The second demon, which worsens the housing crisis, is described by Mr. Sbu Zikode of Abahlali Basemjondolo as follows:
“The sad reality for many of our members is that they will never get houses because unless you are close to the ruling party or close to a branch in the ANC, you must not expect anything. The promise of free houses in facts creates a dependency on the government and that is something we do not want. There are many people that are willing to build their own houses but are not given the opportunity to by this government,” he said.”

ANC’s Untrustworthiness and Broken Promises
Hon. Speaker; the Hon. MEC’s slogan, “acting with speed” which he broadcasts with zeal, are good music to the ears. To be honest, I read sincerity in his statements, even in the Portfolio Committee. However, experience does not allow us to believe that these will materialise. We are not casting aspersions on him as a person. When we notice that he belongs to the ANC, then we become sceptical.

Lest I am accused of unjustly attacking the oldest liberation movement in Africa, allow me Hon. Speaker, to revisit history.
a) In 2006, the ANC’s Local Government Election Manifesto declared that:
“Our programme aims to:
Accelerate service delivery so that:
• No community will still be using the bucket system for sanitation by 2007.
• All communities will have access to clean water and decent sanitation by 2010.
• All houses will have access to electricity by 2012.
• There (will be) universal provision of free basic services.”

b) In their 2014 National Election Manifesto, the ANC said:
“In the next five years, the ANC will ensure (that) all South Africans live in decent conditions in suitable human settlements.”
c) In 2014 the ANC promised to massively expand the extended public works programs (EPWP) to create six million work opportunities. Only 4,522,288 EPWP opportunities were created in the five years, from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2019, according to the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure.
d) In 2014 the ANC declared that they would eliminate the backlog of title deeds. That year the backlog was estimated to be between 900 000 and 1.5 million. By the end of the term, only 279 821 backlog title deeds were issued, according to the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.

The same promise returned in its 2019 Manifesto, when the ANC again promised to “address” the remaining backlog.

It is against this background that we take with a pinch of salt the MEC’s catchy phrases and statements uttered with confidence. His predecessors were as convincing as he is.

Housing Crisis
Hon. Chairperson; it is within this context that we are confronted with problems such as those at Nonoti, Gwala Transit Camp and Transit Camps in general. According to our information:

a) Nonoti Mouth
A housing project of 1000 low-cost houses was begun in 2015 at Nonoti Mouth but not a single house has been built. Roads, streetlights, a reservoir, water lines and a hall were built, but have not been finished up to now.

b) Hyde Park Mixed Mode Project for 400 Units
At Hyde Park R15 million worth of land was purchased from a farmer for R50 million. To date it is not developed.

c) Rocky Park Housing Project
The mixed mode flagship project was started about 11 years ago, with a projection of 776 houses, at a cost of R330 million. Only about 100 sub-standard houses were built. Simsi, the primary contractor disappeared, and so did the money.

d) Rocky Ridge Farm
In March 2021, the Human Settlements Department bought a farm for R45 million. Strangely, the same farm was sold by to a person for R3 million. That person sold it to Dolphin Coast Consortium for R9 million. The Consortium sold it to the Department for R45 million. But according to an evaluator, the current value of the farm is R18 million.

All this in the midst of the crisis that threatens to plunge our country into the bottomless pit.

SOLUTION IS REVITALISATION OF ECONOMY

Hon. Chairperson and Hon. Members. As I have indicated in this House before, the reality is that the MEC, just like the whole ANC government, will never ever eliminate informal settlements and general people’s sufferings. The solution lies in the government committing itself to executing a consistent, aggressive, radical, and sustained agenda to drastically resuscitate economic growth and sustainable employment opportunities so that citizens are able to build their own houses. In addition, the urgency facing the government is political will to execute a consistent, aggressive, and radical agenda to enable rural areas to germinate as industrial, economic, and financial hubs where our people can see opportunities for economic empowerment. But as long as rural areas remain islands of poverty and underdeveloped – without tarred roads, without a sound and smooth transport system, properly-equipped clinics, and hospitals; water, sanitation, electricity; and without any chance of attracting industries and companies – we will never be able to stop our people from flocking to the cities and towns to look for opportunities of a better life.

CONCLUSION
Hon. Chairperson, Hon. Members, and our guests; on behalf of the IFP I express gratitude to the MEC, the entire management and staff of this Department; and I also wish to declare that we totally support this budget in the interest of ensuring service delivery to the residents of this Province.

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