DA approaches Public Protector and Auditor-General over Zonder-Water Housing Development Corruption

By Kingsol Chabalala MPL, DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Evaton:

The Evaton community has today taken their plight regarding the corruption at the Zonder-Water housing project to the Emfuleni Human settlements offices in Vereeniging.

They have instituted a sit-in at the Human settlements office and are demanding answers regarding this stalled housing project.

Work on the Zonder-Water housing development began in 2011, but came to an inexplicable halt in March 2013.

For the past two years, the construction company that won the tender to carry out work on the project, Rirothe Construction, has not been on site.

The budget for this development was set at R5,5 million, but despite their having been no activity on site for the past two years, R5,1 million has already been paid to the construction company.

Of 935 homes to be built as part of the Zonder-Water housing project, only 256 have been constructed – despite 92% of the budget having been paid to the construction company.

Rirothe Construction was contracted to build 256 houses, but another 100 was added to the order. These they could not complete due to not being paid by the department.

The community is claiming now that Mister Kabila Makhangane, who employees the current contractor working at the site, is an employee of the Department of Cooperative Governance a Traditional Affairs (COGTA).

Questions needs to be asked over why the department of human settlements paid over R5 million to the construction company despite the houses not having been completed and why no action has been taken against the company in light of its non-performance to date.

The DA has submitted complaints  regarding the project to both the Auditor-General and  the Public Protector, who have confirmed that they will investigate the matter.

It is critical that anyone guilty of corruption and financial maladministration must be held accountable

The DA is committed to bringing change where it governs. Change that stops corruption and starts service delivery.

Gauteng Housing MEC to explain delayed occupation of completed hostels

By Mervyn Cirota MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Housing:

The DA calls on Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo to urgently explain why four completed Soweto hostels have been left unoccupied for four years and subsequently vandalised.

According to reports residents have been waiting for four years to occupy completed Soweto hostels in Mzimphlophe, Dube, Meadowlands and Diepkloof.

It is alleged that the department requires beneficiaries to earn at least R 3500 monthly and have pay R 750 monthly rental, which many residents say is too high.

It is further alleged that beneficiaries were placed in temporary shelters without to access to decent housing, water, sanitation and electricity. Access to housing is a basic right and failing to deliver on this necessity as a result inefficient management violates people’s dignity.

Instead of leaving housing units empty and at risk of vandalism, the Department of Human Settlements should reduce minimum salary thresholds so as to give the most vulnerable access to housing.

The DA will engage with the Human Settlements portfolio committee to find a viable solution for the beneficiaries of the four hostels.

Human settlements department reallocates Kameeldrift housing funds

By Adriana Randall MPL, DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Taemane:

In a recent written response Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo revealed that R10 million earmarked to relocate potential Kameeldrift beneficiaries in Tshwane was re-allocated to other projects.

According to the MEC, the R10 million would only make provision for 483 stands, despite a departmental study calling for 1050 stands.

Last week community members took to the streets to protest over the continuous delays of the township’s development, which started in 2007.

The Kameeldrift project needs be prioritised especially since pre-planning has already taken place and initial funding for the development has already been spent.

To hold it off simply due to a shortage and reallocation of funds may only result in further dissatisfaction.

Gauteng’s population is rapidly expanding, and government needs to be more proactive to meet peoples’ needs.

At the very least, the department could have completed the project in phases, giving residents some form of relief.

The Constitution clearly states that everyone has a right to have adequate housing, and the state must efficiently use its available resources to realise that right.

The DA will therefore submit written questions to MEC Mamabolo ask what steps the department will take to meet beneficiaries’ needs, as well as for timelines and deadlines for the project’s completion.

ANC Councillor awarding RDP houses to his cronies but neglecting the poor

By Charlotte Senosha DA Councillor; Mogalakwena Municipality:

Today the DA has written to the Speaker of Mogalakwena Municipality, Andrina Matsemela, to summon ANC Councillor David Langa of ward 11, to appear before the Ethics Committee to explain his interference in the allocation of RDP houses in his ward.

It is alleged that this councillor has interfered on the RDP housing lists and has prioritised his cronies, relatives and those affiliated to the ANC and has opted to neglect those who are desperately in need of these houses and have been waiting their fair turn in the list queue.

During an oversight visit to Kwenaite village in ward 11 in Bakenberg, the DA met with families who have watched Langa’s relatives jump the queue.

One family has more than ten family members and is sharing a dilapidated two room house which is on the verge of collapsing.

Another family has nine family members who share one shack, while two of the children are disabled.

All these families have been long applying for RDP houses, while the councillor’s family, pals and comrades get houses before the needy residents.

Click here to see pictures.

The councillor may even have gone so far as to remove their names from the municipal housing database.

The DA urges the Speaker to accelerate the process of investigation and disciplinary action in this matter.

The DA also calls on the municipality to urgently meet with the Ward 11 residents and to open the Housing List up to public scrutiny so that every applicant has a fair chance at obtaining a house they can call home.

Niekerkshoop housing waiting list must be disclosed

By Ismail Obaray MPL Constituency Head of Central North, Northern Cape:

The DA has today written to Northern Cape MEC of COGHSTA, Alvin Botes, to urgently conduct an investigation into the allotment of RDP houses in the Siyathemba municipality.

Resident’s allege that the municipality is not sticking to its official housing waiting list when it allocates houses.

Allegations include that the Siyathemba municipality is overlooking citizens whose names have been on the housing list for years. At the same time, politically connected persons have apparently leapfrogged to the top of the list, and at least four such recipients were handed the keys to their new houses on Friday.

We particularly want Botes to scrutinize and publicize the Siyathemba housing waiting list to ensure that the housing allotment process has been fair and transparent. If it has been tampered with, then this fraud will necessitate criminal charges being laid and investigated.

The DA believes in a free and fair society and that all housing programmes should ascribe to these core values. Where the DA governs we have opened housing waiting lists, to be transparent, and for recipients to track their housing handover date.

In the City of Cape Town, the DA has taken this further by launching an online housing waiting list available for everyone to see via the internet. This guarantees transparency and accountability in the awarding of RDP houses.

The Northern Cape would do well to open up to the public and take people into confidence, rather than keeping recipients in the dark.

In this regard, the DA will also request the MEC to publicize the changes to criteria for housing beneficiaries, as he has previously made reference to. He needs to clearly explain how the changes will affect the persons on the old housing waiting lists.

DA to engage with Mamelodi’s Stoffelpark residents over unexplained evictions

Media Advisory:

On Sunday, 19 July 2015 DA Gauteng Constituency Head for Taemane, Adriana Randall MPL, and DA Tshwane Shadow MMC for Housing, Cllr Elmarie Linde will meet with residents of Stoffelpark in Mamelodi over their unexplained eviction to Pienaarspoort. Following the engagement, the DA will collect signatures for a petition demanding an explanation for the eviction and relocation for submission to the Gauteng Human Settlements and Cooperative Governance MEC Jacob Mamabolo.

Date:    19 July 2015

Time:    11:00

Venue:  Stoffelpark Soccer field.

Directions: Take Solomon Mahlangu off ramp towards Mamelodi. Turn right into Tsamaya road pass the Mahube shopping centre towards Stoffelpark. Drive over the bridge into Stoffelpark and continue 500m to the open field (Soccer field).

There will be opportunities for interviews and photographs. Members of the media are welcome to attend.

Broken promises haunt informal settlers in Mogale City

By Alan Fuchs MPL, DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Mogale City:

In May 2013, at the State of the City address in Mogale City, Mayor Calvin Seerane indicated that about 25% of Mogale City’s residents lived in informal settlements.

Based on an estimated population of 362 000 people living in Mogale City at the time, the number of people living in informal settlements equated to 90 000.

The Mayor went on to say that the council had completed an informal settlement register which indicated the number of shacks and inhabitants in informal settlements.

This register indicated that there were only 40 000 people living in informal settlements. The large discrepancy between these numbers needs to be explained by the Mayor.

Mayor Seerane went on to say that via the site and service program, the municipality will provide basic infrastructure like electricity, roads, water and sanitation and allocate sites to deserving families who will in turn build temporary shelter for themselves whilst waiting for construction of houses by the provincial government.

The Mayor also said that through this program “…places like Tudor Shaft, Soul City, Makhulugama and others will cease to exist by the end of this political term (2016)… we have already identified land in Kagiso Extension 13 to deal progressively with the housing needs of the Tudor Shaft/Soul City community”.

Based on questions I asked in the Gauteng Legislature, MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Jacob Mamabolo, indicated that of the 112 informal settlements identified on the 2013/14 Informal Settlements Upgrading Plan, only 1 project has commenced.

It was also indicated that the relocation of Tudor Shaft & Soul City would not be complete before the 2019/2020 financial year.

Thousands of informal settlers have once again been relegated to a life of misery and hardship, without electricity, clean water and dignified sanitation, because politicians in the council have been sitting on their hands and sleeping on the job.

This is a perfect example of people being manipulated by broken promises.

Surely a time will come when these people will say that enough is enough and vote for a different political party.

The DA looks forward to that time, as we will show residents that they will not be taken for granted where we govern – that we will provide a dignified life for all.

DA submits PAJA to obtain documents on dodgy asbestos eradication contracts

By Leona Kleynhans, DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature:

The DA instructed its legal counsel to proceed with an application under the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA) (Act No 3 of 2000) to access all contractual documentation and any other relevant information pertaining to a contract between the Free State Provincial Department of Human Settlements and Blackhead Consulting (Pty)Ltd.

The DA has reason to believe that the contract awarded to Blackhead Consulting (Pty)Ltd, for the identification and eradication of asbestos roofing of houses built in the Free State prior to 1994, is irregular.

In our application, we also requested the Head of Department for Human Settlements, Mr Nthimotse Mokhesi, to undertake in writing that he will place a moratorium on all immediate and further financial payments to Blackhead Consulting(Pty)Ltd.

Failure to do so may result in the DA approaching the High Court to obtain an urgent interdict against the department to prevent the release of such payments.

It is alleged that almost R100 million has been made in payments to Blackhead Consulting (Pty)Ltd to date.

The DA wants to know exactly what work this company has done to justify these payments.

We urge Human Settlements MEC, Ms Olly Mlamleli, to ensure Mr Mokhesi make all information available to us as soon as possible.

End corruption on housing allocation lists: DA

By Mervyn Cirota MPL, DA Gauteng spokesperson for Housing:

Incompetence and illegal practices by officials of the Ekurhuleni housing Department, has caused 133 residents and the Ekurhuleni Concerned Residents Association (ECRA), to launch a high court application to compel the department to rectify the misallocation of homes.

Although these persons are registered as owners and are billed for services, they remain living in shacks without water, sanitation or electricity.

According to reports, corrupt officials are allegedly distributing homes to persons not reflected on the lists.

People should not be forced to turn to the courts to have their rights upheld, as the principle of putting people first through Batho Pele is supposed to be ingrained in the minds of all government officials.

Despite the denials of MEC Jacob Mamabolo, the lack of accountability on local and provincial spheres of government is a clear indication of a downward spiral in the delivery of quality and decent housing to those who need it most.

The revelations in the department’s fourth quarterly report that Gauteng needs a further R58 billion to repair poorly constructed housing, and that that the provincial housing backlog has reached 800 000, clearly indicates a fundamental crisis in Housing delivery in the province.

The DA has on numerous occasions called on the MEC to initiate a multi-party committee to investigate  the entire rollout process of state-subsidized housing in the province, and in particular the alleged corruption and incompetence in the allocation process.

The DA will continue to highlight corruption and ensure that the freedom of Gauteng residents is realised with fairness for all.

Answers needed over reported expropriation of flats in Friendship Town, Ekurhuleni

By Mervyn Cirota MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson: Human Settlements:

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng will submit urgent questions to clarify reports of intended expropriation of three blocks of flats in Friendship Town, Ekurhuleni.

Reports suggest that the flats, currently privately owned, were to be expropriated by the province’s Human Settlements department.

The DA will request MEC Jacob Mamabolo to explain:

  • What was the motivation is for this proposed expropriation?
  • Why procedural requirements were not followed?
  • What does the department intend to use these flats for?
  • What is the department’s current policy on expropriation?
  • Is it the department’s policy to become a landlord?
  • What further plans, if any, does the department have to expropriate other buildings in the province?

Expropriation of privately owned property may have serious repercussions for the property market and the private sector.

It appears that the department may be revising its initial decision to expropriate this property and instead buy it directly; either way, an urgent explanation is needed from officials in the department.

Residents of these flats should not be made to live in uncertainty and the MEC needs to reassure them of the security of their future.