Letter to the Editor – ANC self-congratulatory motion distasteful to opposition and KZN public

By Hlanganani Gumbi, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Human Settlements:

DURING the final debate of the year in KZN’s Legislature last week the ANC self-congratulatory motion about having the best housing department in the country was distasteful to the opposition and public.

In my response I expressed the DA’s unhappiness with the motion because of the many challenges that still exist within housing in our province.  I stated that the topic was insensitive to KZN’s people.  I also said that instead of doing serious work in the legislature to improve housing delivery the ‘new’ ANC – led by parachute premier Sihle Zikhalala – was playing opportunistic politics ahead of next years’ local government elections.

KZN’s Human Settlements department has a litany of slow-moving projects from as far back as the 1990’s which remain incomplete.  Just last week MEC Ravi Pillay confirmed he was unable to say when the 1997 Inkanyezi housing project would be finished.  Instead, he tried to pass the buck to the IFP government which first initiated the project.

The progress of these projects is not helped by the indifference of some officials.  At the last meeting of KZN Human Settlement portfolio committee uMvoti Mayor and ANC KZN Youth League Chairperson, Councillor Thamsanqa Ngubane didn’t bother to arrive to account for housing projects occurring in his municipality. Yet he had more than enough time to mobilise around the removal of Premier Senzo Mnchunu as ANC Provincial Chairperson – another example of putting the ANC before the people.

But where MEC Pillay and his department have truly let down the people of KZN is through the failure to sort out the province’s housing allocations mess by implementing a credible housing waiting list. The MEC promised he would do so in his budget speech. Since then he has not updated the public, only doing so during last weeks’ debate on Friday when the DA forced him to.

The MEC’s position is rumoured to be under threat but he needs to focus his attention on the performance of his department and not the internal machinations of the ANC and his cabinet colleagues.