Will Gauteng’s mega cities reduce massive housing backlog?

Mervyn Cirota MPL

DA Gauteng spokesperson on housing:

The DA questions the validity of Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s assertion that mega cities will bring an end to the province’s housing crisis.

During an address to a mixed gathering of politicians, academics and the private sector this morning, the premier suggested that the introduction of mega cities – which is now official government policy – would drastically reduce the provincial housing shortfall of over 700 000 units.

The mega cities project is one of a myriad of new ideas that have been introduced in the past 20 years – none of which have enjoyed much success

While the DA has no objection to this ambitious concept, which will consist of 15 000 to 60 000 housing units per city, government will have to prove that it actually has the capacity to deliver on the premier’s pledge.

Despite promises of private sector involvement and reducing red tape in granting the necessary permits, neither the premier nor human settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo have addressed the department’s existing delivery challenges and backlogs.

While the premier may display the passion and belief that a new era awaits the housing crisis in Gauteng, he needs to prove that government’s lack of delivery capacity is a thing of the past, and that private sector involvement is not merely a flash in the pan.

The MEC admitted that corruption and the failure of providing bulk infrastructure was endemic but gave no solution to the problem, despite his undertaking to restore confidence in the construction industry within a year.

While the premier is clearly determined to sell his vision of mega cities, he now carries the expectations of millions of people to deliver.

Hopefully, this is not yet another bridge too far for a provincial government with a track record of being long on promise and short on delivery.