George Mari, MPP
DA KZN Spokesperson on Human Settlements
Ethekwini municipality must take full responsibility for the actions of close to a thousand frustrated shack dwellers, who this week began clearing land in Sherwood and Cato Crest with the intention of settling there. Their actions are a direct result of the municipality’s failure to deliver. Earlier this year, the DA in KwaZulu-Natal revealed that by October 2012 a paltry 30% of eThekwini’s targeted number of houses for the financial year had been built – just 1 268 homes. The municipality’s housing department had also been forced to reduce its original target of 3 950 houses to 3 613, with KZN Human Settlements MEC, Ravi Pillay openly admitting that the revised target would not be met by the end of the financial year. Five years ago the municipality was building 16 000 units per annum.
The DA is deeply concerned by this drastic drop in housing delivery levels. eThekwini housing officials have a massive challenge to deal with. The DA acknowledges this. However, we believe that a lack of capacity and political will lie at the heart of the problem. There are currently 636 informal settlements in KwaZulu-Natal – 484 are in eThekwini. There are more than 410 000 people living in 150 000 shacks across the city. There are also 11 000 families living in transit camps – some for as long as five years despite being promised homes. The situation has reached crisis level. R1 billion was recently allocated to eThekwini, specifically to deal with the housing shortage.
The DA calls on MEC, Ravi Pillay to intervene and to closely monitor expenditure so that money is properly spent. There must also be an immediate and concerted effort by the municipality to deliver and make good on its promises to so many people.