DA has solutions for continued under-spending on housing grant

Dacre Haddon MPL

Spokesperson on Housing

The annual- and financial oversight reports of the Department of Human Settlements for the 2012/13 financial year will be debated in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature today.

The Eastern Cape Department of Human Settlements underspent its housing development grant funding by R219 million in the 2012/13 financial year.  It was the second consecutive year that the department underspent on this grant..

In the 2011/12 financial year the department underspent this grant by R400 million, yet built more houses that year.

In 2012/13, the department had constructed 11 250 housing units against a target of 16 726 units, spending 89% of its budget of R2, 57 billion.

In the 2011/12 financial cycle the department built 14 499 units, spending 82% of its budget of R2, 14 billion.

This clearly shows that the province is building less housing but spending more money.

During the debate on the annual- and half yearly report of the Department of Human Settlements in the Provincial Legislature today, I will on behalf of the DA be proposing the following solutions to ensure better spending of the grant:

•             That the department develops a plan on land acquisition and development;

•             Immediate employment of architects, land surveyors and town planners. Currently there are no architects and engineers (vacancy rate 100%) while there is a 71% vacancy rate for town planners and quantity surveyors;

•             Investigate and beef up the SCM (Supply Chain Management) division where there is a high staff turnover; and

•             Deliver the full annual target of title deeds to beneficiaries by entering into partnerships with public and private institutions to better deliver these deeds to beneficiaries.

The curtailing of housing opportunities due to an inability to spend allocated grant funding is criminal.

A house and a title deed are redress mechanisms that lift people from poverty to opportunity.  A title deed allows a beneficiary access to capital.

The DA will not allow the inefficiencies of the Department of Human Settlements to deny individuals the empowerment opportunities to own a house and lift themselves out of poverty.

This is a non-negotiable.