Human settlements spends its budget but fails to deliver housing

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition

The Mpumalanga Department of Human Settlements continues to use its budget for other purposes instead of its most pressing obligation – the building of RDP houses.

During the 2012/13 financial year the department spent 97% of its R 1,179 billion budget yet only managed to achieve 39% of its targets, most of which did not fall under the housing development portfolio.  This is a repeat of the 2011/12 financial year where the department spent most of its R1,1 billion budget without meeting many housing development obligations.

Although the department keeps promising to address the shortage of houses and the ever-escalating housing backlog, every year it falls short of this promise. Furthermore it also contributes to non-delivery of basic services by failing to meet its target to increase access by 100%.

Most baffling is that while the department spends millions every year, thousands of people remain homeless or without decent housing – and yet no decisive action is taken against the department and those responsible for this state of affairs.  Despite promises by premier David Mabuza to address and rectify the situation, the housing crisis continues to deepen and is worse than ever before.

The department continues to blame most of its failures on the delayed appointment or inefficiency of contractors and service providers, but this is simply not acceptable any more. If this indeed the case then the department has to explain how and why it spent funds designated for housing development, given that the budget amount for this has been used. Surely if contractors are faltering, or are not being hired, these must still be available.

This state of affairs simply proves that the department, especially the housing development section, is poorly managed and that officials have no respect for deadlines. Not holding those responsible for this situation will simply result in the continued suffering of those most in need.