Premier and MEC continue to make housing promises they cannot keep

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

Note: The following member’s statement was made by Anthony Benadie MPL, Leader of the Official Opposition, to the Mpumalanga Provincial legislature, on 1 July 2014

Hon Speaker, we in the DA are extremely concerned at media reports that premier Mabuza and former Human Settlements MEC, Andries Gamede made promises to residents of Graskop that they would receive free houses in return for voting for the ANC.

According to these reports, the promise was made during a public meeting on April 26 and relates to 170 houses built by the Chinese government.

However on 7 August 2012, former human settlements MEC, Siphosezwe Masango, stated in this house, that the houses were built as part of a memorandum of understanding between the Thaba Chweu municipality and the Chinese government.

It was envisaged that the project, funded by the Chinese government would see low and middle income housing, with low income units handed over to beneficiaries, while middle income units would be sold to raise funds for further human settlement developments.

At no stage was the premier, MEC or provincial government involved in this project and premier Mabuza had no authority to make these ANC election promises on April 26.

As a result, residents are now demanding that the premier’s promise be fulfilled and that houses be handed over free of charge. If these houses are delivered in this manner, the already cash strapped municipality will suffer the loss of millions in potential income, denying residents with legitimate expectations of owning their own house, the opportunity to own property.

The premier has acted beyond his jurisdiction and coupled to the inability of the Thaba Chweu municipality to effectively administer a housing beneficiary waiting list, chaos will ensue about who the rightful beneficiaries of these houses actually are.

Hon Speaker, we call on the Premier, here and now to clarify categorically what he said to the people of Graskop, why he made promises he can’t deliver on and to provide clarity on the beneficiaries and sale of the Chinese funded houses.