By James Masango MPL, DA Spokesperson on Human Settlements:
The DA in Mpumalanga is questioning the response from Human Settlements MEC, Violet Siwela, that it will take 13 years to deliver the 147 000 housing backlog in the province. The DA believes, based on our own calculation that it will take the Department 20 years to eradicate the backlog.
The MEC stated this during a sitting of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature this week, at the Ehlanzeni District Council Chambers.
Looking at the department’s performance over the past 3 financial years, 13 years is definitely not enough time to address the backlog. Over the past 3 financial years, the department had planned to deliver 34 097 housing units, but managed to deliver 22 537 at an average of 7 512 housing units per financial year.
Now, considering this average yearly performance, with the backlog in mind, the department actually needs 20 years to completely eradicate this current backlog, meaning some residents on the current housing waiting list will only receive housing in 2035.
This does not take into account a growing population that will most certainly add to the housing units needed.
Looking at the department’s Annual Report for the 2014/15 financial year, breeds no confidence in the department addressing this backlog any time soon. The department:
- Underspent on its Housing development grant by R70.3 million.
- Returned R127 million back to the provincial revenue fund, and
- The Auditor General found that significant important housing delivery targets were not reliable because he was unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence for them. In addition, significantly important targets were not valid, accurate and complete when compared to the source information or evidence provided. This was due to the department not adhering to the performance indicator description.
Effectively, this means that the AG cannot even verify the delivery of houses as reported by the department.
The DA will keep the pressure on MEC Siwela, to ensure that the department is spending all the funds allocated to them. The residents of Mpumalanga need this department to succeed.
The DA believes that every South African family should have access to adequate shelter and supports the interpretation of section 26 of the constitution which requires that this right must be ‘progressively realised’.
The DA will also continue holding the executive to account and to ensure that residents of Mpumalanga receive the quality basic services and dignified human settlements they deserve.