Human settlements MEC must come clean on poor housing delivery

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition

Note: The following member’s statement was made by James Masango to the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature during its second sitting of the Taking Legislature to the People outreach in the Govan Mbeki municipality on 6 March.

During the past 5 years Mpumalanga Department of Human Settlements has consistently failed the housing needs of the province’s citizens by failing to meet its delivery targets of 10 000 houses per annum. Of the 50 000 houses they should have built, only 23 000 are standing today.

This department is more successful at handing over incomplete houses than building proper ones. And when they are complete, they are either of sub-standard quality or not connected to any municipal services, and in many cases both.

While the department regularly blames contractors for their shoddy workmanship, for leaving construction sites, or simply not starting, the fact is that that the department is responsible for housing delivery, and should have the necessary oversight mechanisms in place to ensure that houses are completed, connected and fit for occupation.

Not only is the department failing to oversee the construction of housing, it also cannot manage its finances as many contractors claim not to have been paid. One wonders then, how the millions meant for building RDP houses are being spent, because the decent housing never actually materialises.

The Honourable MEC now has the perfect opportunity to explain to the people of Bethal whose houses got damaged by severe storms in 2008, why the department has still not repaired any. The MEC should also explain those other houses in Bethal that were abandoned mid-construction while people live in dilapidated shacks waiting for RDPs.

And finally, the MEC should explain why the department shows so little regard for people’s dignity when beneficiaries in Leslie received houses in 2012 without being connected to the sewerage reticulation network.

What is clear is that this ANC-led government is completely insensitive to the needs of the people, and that only a DA government puts the people first – because where the DA governs, life is better.