Premier’s housing road-show will not bring relief

James Masango MPL

Spokesperson for human settlements

Premier David Mabuza’s promises of a drastic turnaround in housing delivery in Mpumalanga are not properly thought through, nor are his delivery targets in any way realistic. In fact, it is rather obvious that this costly and unnecessary road-show is more about empty pre-election promises than a commitment to providing quality housing to Mpumalanga’s people.

Media reports quote the premier as saying that contractors would be forced to work night and day to ensure that over 7 000 homes be completed by the end of March. This promise is absolutely absurd, as neither the department, nor any of its contractors have for years managed to achieve their construction targets.

Furthermore, the premier should also pay close attention to contractors’ complaints of delays in payments, specifications and appointment letters by the department. And while he’s at it, he should take a moment to explain how government intends to recover payments made to contractors who have defaulted on their contracts.

But, what premier Mabuza and close political ally and former HOD David Dube should explain, is why the latest Provincial Budget and its Outcomes for the Period ended 31 December 2012, shows that the Department of Human Settlements is well on track with the spending of its R1,02 billion Housing Development and Implementation budget.

The truth of the matter is that premier Mabuza last year squandered a golden opportunity to show his commitment to housing in the province. Instead of taking decisive action against non-performing senior and middle management officials, he redeployed them to other departments, promoted Mr Dube to the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature, and made a mockery of government’s service delivery programme. And now the premier places the blame at the feet of contractors, when departmental officials should be taken to task

Housing delivery in Mpumalanga is a shambles, and the premier can promise as many RDP houses as he likes before the State of the Province Address, but there is quite simply no conceivable way for him to deliver.

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