George Mari, MPP
DA KZN Spokesperson on Human Settlements
Housing delivery in Ethekwini has been dealt yet another blow with the revelation that just 30% of the targeted number of homes for the current financial year had been built by October 2012.
The damning figure forms part of a recent parliamentary reply to the Democratic Alliance by KZN Human Settlement MEC, Ravi Pillay. The response also reveals that the department’s original target of 3 950 was reduced to 3 613 and that only 1 268 homes were completed by the end of October 2012. In the same reply, the MEC admits that the municipality will fail to meet the revised goal. The response gives the current backlog in eThekwini as an estimated at 408 271 at the end of June 2012 – a figure the DA believes could be much higher.
Housing delivery within eThekwini is going backwards. Meanwhile the shortage is getting worse. Five years ago the municipality was building 16 000 units per annum. Now all the municipality’s housing department has to show, eight months into the financial year, is some 1 200 homes. The department has cited compliance issues raised by the Auditor-General during 2009/10, amongst others, as reasons for delays, adding that the momentum is expected to pick up shortly. This is simply not good enough.
The DA believes that a lack of capacity and fitness for purpose lie at the heart of the problem. This must be addressed urgently. The removal of former eThekwini housing head, Cogi Pather has aggravated the problem.
This department needs a wake-up call. I will be meeting with eThekwini Municipal Manager Sithole at the end of this week and one of the issues I will be raising is housing delivery The DA will also call on MEC Pillay to intervene and ensure that those tasked with fulfilling this crucial mandate are capable of doing so. If not, they must be held accountable and heads must roll.