Premier’s admission of failure will not solve housing delivery crisis

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition

The DA welcomes Premier David Mabuza’s admission that his cabinet has not kept its promise regarding the building of houses, but the question still remains – what is going to be done about it?

After recently being taken to task for failing on his promise to complete all incomplete houses within 100 days of his State of the Province Address, the premier admitted to the media that his government has failed its housing delivery mandate.

This became apparent during a recent visit to the Thembisile Hani municipality. The DA was astonished to see the number of people who are still homeless or living in unsafe structures after years of waiting for their RDP houses to be completed. Besides demonstrating the premier’s failure, this situation also cast doubt on whether the current government will ever be able to meet its housing delivery obligations.

Despite the premier’s pledges, the reality is that many people in Thembisile Hani have waited for more than a decade for their houses to be finished. Not even the fact that some beneficiaries of these houses are elderly or disabled prompted government to speed up construction.

An elderly woman of Vlaklaagte has been waiting for her house to be completed since 1999. She and her family continue to live in an eroding shack next to the incomplete unit which they have lost all hope of ever moving into.

Another example is the pregnant, disabled woman in Sun City C who together with her four children, have been living in a flimsy shack behind their incomplete RDP house. Besides not being finished, the unit was built with stairs which she never be able to use due to her disability. She claims government has known about this for years, but has not acted.

Sadly these instances are not unique, and similar situations are experienced throughout the province. Premier Mabuza’s admittance to failure is all good and well, but it is still only just talk. It is now time for action.

Access to basic housing is a basic human right and is essential in the war on poverty. As long as government denies people this, the chances to building a better, brighter future is jeopardised and people will continue to suffer.