Premier’s silence on housing promises is questionable

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition

Mpumalanga Premier DD Mabuza continues to keep the public in the dark regarding the progress made in housing service delivery despite his promise to address the slow pace of RDP housing construction.

Earlier this year the premier made two promises relating to the completion of housing, both of which he has failed to give feedback on and confirm whether they were infact kept.

The first promise was made following a housing sites tour during which the Premier expressed dissatisfaction regarding the slow pace of housing construction. He mostly blamed the contractors for this dilemma and gave them 100 days – until March 25 – to complete the 7 000 houses which were scheduled to be finished in the 2011/12 financial year, vowing to take action against contractors who did not comply.

Just over a month after that, on March 1, Mabuza reiterated his concern regarding incomplete housing during his State Of the Province Address (SOPA). During his speech, as well as at a press conference thereafter, Mabuza announced that the completion of ALL incomplete houses in the province had been prioritised and would be done within 100 days – therefore by July 9.

With housing at such a crisis point in the province, the DA fails to understand why the Premier has not provided the public with a progress report relating to these promises.

Given that the initial promise was due to be fulfilled by March, the Premier’s silence is questionable. In view of this, the DA wants to know whether in fact the Premier has kept his word. We want to know exactly how many of the houses related to this commitment were finished and have been occupied and where exactly these units were built.

We also call on the Premier to provide a progress report relating to the completion of ALL the incomplete units in the province as per his SOPA promise. Given that the deadline for completion of these units has also passed such a report should be readily available.

Given that the lack of housing is a burning issue in Mpumalanga – in fact one on which many service delivery protests are based on – the Premier’s failure to disclose this information indicates that his promises have not been fulfilled. His silence again shows that neither he nor his cabinet are committed to making life better for the people of this province by meeting their basic human rights.