Janet Semple MPL
Spokesperson on Housing
The Gauteng Local Government and Housing Department’s continued failure to address the dire situation in Boksburg North amounts to promoting lawlessness and harbouring drug lords and prostitutes. Despite repeated requests by the DA for intervention, department-owned houses in 14th Avenue, Boksburg, remain vacant.
The DA in Gauteng condemns the department’s inability to address this situation in the strongest terms and believes that without urgent action Gauteng Local Government and Housing MEC Ntombi Mekgwe herself must be held accountable for the flagrant disregard for the law.
The department’s culpability in allowing the situation to reach this point leaves the DA no choice but to escalate this matter to the Public Protector. The Public Protector, in terms of section 6(4)(a) of the Public Protector Act (No 23 of 1994), is empowered to investigate maladministration in connection with the affairs of government and undue delay by any person performing a public function.
It is not acceptable that Ekurhuleni by-laws, particularly with regard to health and illegal land use, are not being enforced due to negligence by the provincial department. This has had a knock on effect resulting in the decline of property prices in the area as it has essentially turned in to a slum.
The DA first raised this matter in July 2011 with then MEC Humphrey Mmemezi, who has since left the department in shame. I highlighted the severity of the situation and the urgent need for this matter to be resolved. I have yet to receive any correspondence regarding this matter.
Earlier this year I asked Gauteng Infrastructure Development MEC Qedani Mahlangu what action her department has taken regarding these degenerating properties. In her recent reply she indicated that as of yet there has been no decision taken by the department, however they were busy drafting a property strategy for the province. There are no indications of how long this very vague process may take.
It is evident that nobody in the provincial government possesses the political will or desire to address this urgent and escalating humanitarian crisis.
I hope that the Public Protector’s investigation into the conduct of both departments and MEC’s in this saga will finally result in the matter being settled once and for all.