Hlanganani Gumbi, MPL
DA KZN Spokesperson on Human Settlements
AN oversight visit by the DA to Northern Zululand has shown that this is KZN’s forgotten territory, with horrendous housing delivery failure as a result of corruption, inadequate border control measures, poorly resourced SAPS stations and a myriad other issues which make every day life harder for these communities.
The three day trip, which took place at the weekend, included DA Deputy Federal Chairperson and Human Settlements Shadow Minister, Makashule Gana, MP and myself.
We conducted a series of key oversight visits to housing projects, the local SAPS, Home Affairs, Border Posts and a school in the Phongolo area. A number of pit stops were also made to listen to community members issues which the DA will take to the heart of the provincial legislature and national parliament.
The following discoveries were made on the tour;
Ncotshane Ward 10 Housing Project (Phongolo)
– The community allege that former IFP Mayor Mr Bhekinkosi Mncwango gave himself an RDP house and now rents it out
– A number of houses remain incomplete after six years with no roofs and walls missing
Response: Questions to be submitted to KZN Human Settlements MEC, Ravi Pillay.
Onverwatcht Border Post (Phongolo)
– Severe staff shortage with four SAPS Officers per shift. This includes administrative officers and is before sick or other leave considerations
– No specific Ebola screening measures in place yet.
DA response: Questions to be submitted to the Minister of Police.
Mboloba Border Fencing (Phongolo)
– No SANDF found on site despite fence being almost non-existent
– Shortage of SANDF personnel on to deal with illegal immigrants coming into South Africa
DA response: Questions to be submitted to the Minister of Defence.
Home Affairs Office (Phongolo)
– No immigration officers at all. We were told there are only two in the entire region.
– Just six staff members servicing between 300 and 400 people a day
– Inadequate office space with no working air conditioners
DA response: Questions to be submitted to the Minister of Home Affairs;
Phongolo Police station:
– A case of child mutilation is held back from finalisation as SAPS waits on forensics in Pretoria
– Lack of immigration officers makes it difficult for SAPS to successfully arrest and convict illegal immigrants
Response: Questions to be submitted to the Minister of Police.
A public meeting was also held in Ward 3 in Nongoma which led to concerns over areas without access to water and electricity. Further complaints were raised about not having a bridge to cross a river in order to get to town. As with many communities, there were also major concerns expressed about unemployment and poverty. The DA will table parliamentary motions on these issues in the provincial legislature.
A meeting also took place with ex-ANC members in Mvulazi ward 8 during which problems at Ngadumbili Primary School were discussed. A decision was taken to conduct an immediate unannounced visit which established that there is currently no school hall, library, Science laboratory or computer room. The DA will submit parliamentary questions to KZN Education MEC, Peggy Nkonyeni, in a bid to resolve these serious issues.
This oversight visit to Northern Zululand is the first of many such trips that the DA will undertake in a bid to address the many challenges these communities are faced with. This will include exposing housing projects and other failed initiatives within this area.
As part of our oversight role we will submit parliamentary questions, table parliamentary motions and write letters of motivation to the relevant authorities. In short, we will do whatever it takes to improve peoples’ lives and give them opportunities to prosper by holding government to account on their responsibilities.
The DA in KZN is committed to doing everything possible to ensuring that government housing and other projects intended to benefit the people are not compromised by corrupt individuals or organisations.