Housing beneficiaries left wanting due to outdated municipal systems

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition

A lack of control and administration systems to manage housing beneficiaries will only aggravate Mpumalanga’s alarming housing backlog which is currently at crisis point.

The provincial department of human settlements admitted to the portfolio committee on human settlements that there are no monitoring systems to manage neither beneficiary applications nor waiting and deregistration lists, as these are done at municipal level where there is a serious lack of oversight.

According to the department, municipalities do not have the capacity to effectively compile and execute beneficiary lists which are still being done and kept manually. To make matters worse, many are discarded when new councillors take office.  This unsurprisingly has not only led to a hoard of complaints from housing beneficiaries, but also to a massive backlog in the handing over of title deeds.

The DA finds it absurd that government entities are still using manual database systems in the 21st century. Furthermore, it is intolerable and distressing that councillors are allowed to simply disregard previous lists based on biased opinions and political and personal benefit.

In 2009 national government publicly announced that the housing beneficiary list crisis would be addressed through the National Housing Needs Register to which all municipalities had to adhere to. This would be the only official register from which prospective beneficiaries would be drawn to ensure credibility and accuracy. From the department’s most recent reports it seems as if Mpumalanga did not follow this mandate.

The DA will write to Human Settlement MEC, Andries Gamede, requesting an explanation into this matter as well as what the department intends doing to overcome this predicament. We also want a report on exactly how many beneficiaries are believed to have been affected by this problem.

The DA believes the only way to rectify the problem, is for provincial government to implement an open and efficient beneficiary administration system. A standard, transparent and fair selection process must be employed across all municipalities and a municipal database support programme must be created. This programme will establish an up to date, public housing demand data-base that is synchronised with all relevant stakeholders.

The provision of housing is fundamental for poverty alleviation and every South African must be given a fair and equal chance to acquire it and secure the opportunity of a better and brighter future.

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