Marikana Housing Development Project Oversight Visit

Media Advisory:

Tomorrow, 14 January 2016, Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister for Human Settlements, Makashule Gana MP, will conduct an oversight visit to the Marikana Housing Development Project, and will brief the media on the real housing situation in Marikana, North West.

The Minister of Human Settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu, handed over houses to community members last week, as part of the ANC’s 104th year celebrations.  Since the handover, there have been protests in the area with community members alleging that the beneficiary list was not compiled in a transparent manner. Police were called in to manage the situation.

The land was donated by Lonmin following the 2012 massacre; however, there is evidence that the mineworkers are not benefitting from the project.

Mr Gana will be joined by the DA Member in the NCOP for the North West, Herman Groenewald MP, and Councillors in the area.

The event will take place as follows:

Date: Thursday, 14 January 2016

Time: 10:30

Venue: Marikana Police Station, North West.

There will be photo and interview opportunities.

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Gauteng housing MEC out of touch with department’s promises

By Lebo More MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Petitions and Cooperative Governance:

Thousands of Gauteng residents will not realise their dream for decent housing due to the false promises made by MEC of Human Settlements Jacob Mamabolo.

The department of Human Settlements continues to degenerate with no effective leadership, planning and transparency.

Consequently, MEC Mamabolo fumbled on information contained in his department’s annual report for 2014/15 financial year.

The annual report indicates that the department built 52 houses in Sokhulumi Village, Tshwane, yet this is not the case.

In a written response to a DA question, the MEC said that the 52 housing units were actually completed in Ithembalethu, Krugersdorp.

In fact, a mere 26 slabs have been completed in the Sokhulumi Project. Contractual disputes have delayed the project with the contract valid until March 2016.

After the DA verified the true state of affairs, MEC Mamabolo suddenly retracted and argued that there was an error on the annual report.

It is clear that the MEC statements are hopelessly out of touch with the truth, which begs the question whether he is aware of what goes on in his department.

While the people of Gauteng are in desperate need for the delivery of decent housing, the ANC-run government continues to deliver sanitized speeches promising unrealistic goals.

The DA is determined to bring a reliable and responsive government to the people of Gauteng.

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Gauteng needs more housing and less promises

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

Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Jacob Mamabolo, has proved beyond reasonable doubt that he is failing to deliver on his mandate to handle the Gauteng housing backlog which now surpasses over 1 million.

In his political report for 2015 Gauteng Premier David Makhura, admitted to the shortcomings of the human settlements department in delivering housing opportunities for the residents in the province.

Under Mamobolo’s leadership, the human settlements department has cracked and failed to reach many of its priority targets and policies which include:

  • The non-delivery of RDP houses;
  • Inability to roll out in-situ upgrading programmes; and
  • The failure to consolidate social housing programmes as well as planning of the mega city.

The number of people living in shacks and informal dwellings has not reduced since 1994 and one in five residents in the City of Johannesburg still live in an informal settlement.

After 21 years of a democratic dispensation, residents in Alexandra, Dube, Diepkloof, Daveyton and Brandvlei to name a few, still struggle to access basic housing.

This is indicative of a disintegrating leadership that is completely out of touch.

Gauteng residents also still await the MEC’s promise to initiate an investigation into the R 2.6 billion in irregular expenditure incurred by his department.

MEC Mamabolo lacks transparency and fails to be held accountable by the residents of Gauteng, thus corroding the public’s trust and hope for decent and sustainable housing.

The MEC must clean up his act and start exercising decisive leadership that will see the living conditions of the people improve.  It is high time that he deliver on his promised mandate before taking oath of office.

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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.

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DA debates Gauteng 2014/15 Human Settlements Annual Report

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by the DA’s Fred Nel MPL and Lebo More MPL during a debate on the 2014/15 Annual Report for the Department of Human Settlements.

Speech by
Fred Nel MPL

“Gauteng housing requires radical makeover”

  • The current format of RDP housing contributes towards urban sprawl and increased infrastructure maintenance costs for municipalities.
  • Currently the department is unable to administer, roll out or effectively monitor its purpose and function as provided for in the Constitution and the Housing Act by providing housing for the poor and the establishment, development and maintenance of economically viable communities.
  • Gauteng requires sound policies implemented in a well-managed and responsible manner, address spatial development inequalities as a result of our past, and promotes economic growth that creates jobs.
  • Gauteng’s rapid urbanisation requires the creation of densified communities, private sector incentives and proper social and economic integration.

The full speech can be obtained here.

 

Speech by

Lebo More MPL

“Non-delivery leaves Gauteng residents destitute”

  • The Department needs to produce the list of beneficiaries of over 50 houses it claims to have built in Sokhulumi. The department’s annual report says that the houses had been built, but when the portfolio committee went there it didn’t see any.
  • The ANC itself admits that: “we promised people in the beginning of the financial year, through annual targets, that we will uplift you – yet we have failed to achieve these promises”.
  • Gauteng’s people need hand-ups and not hand-outs.

The full speech can be obtained here.

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DA debates Gauteng 2014/15 cooperative governance Annual Report

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by the DA’s Fred Nel MPL and Lebo More MPL during a debate on the Gauteng Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements Department.

Speech by
Fred Nel MPL

“Local government is the engine room of service delivery”

  • No performance assessments were done during the year under review.
  • The ICT strategy remains uncompleted and as an important backbone of modern strategic implementation.
  • Intergovernmental relations remain an area of lip service rather than concrete implementation of the legislative framework.
  • Too many of the department’s strategic objectives are dependent on outside bodies, mainly municipalities, to implement.

The full speech can be obtained here.

 

Speech by

Lebo More MPL

“Gauteng COGTAHS department asks more questions than provides answers”

  • Paying service providers within 30 days is still a problem that needs to be sorted out.
  • Small and emerging businesses find it tough to survive in an environment where they are expected to continuously render services whilst payments are forever delayed.
  • The DA believes in a government that is efficient. A government that responds to the needs of the people.

The full speech can be obtained here.

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ANC’s housing motion an insult to the people of our province

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

TODAY’S ANC motion is an insult to the people of KwaZulu-Natal.

The insensitivity around the housing backlog, allocations corruption and the pain that people in our province feel around housing is clearly a non-issue to the new ANC government, under parachute Premier Honourable Zikhala.

The ANC government is out of touch with the people if it can come into this House and congratulate itself on its housing delivery record.

Just this week the DA received a parliamentary reply from MEC Pillay about the Inkanyezi Housing Project begun in 1997.  I had asked when the project would be complete.  The reply was full of excuses about why it has taken so long with assurances that a new contractor will be appointed next year.  I also asked who would allocate the individual houses.  The MEC basically told me he did not know. Eighteen years down the line and the MEC cannot even tell us when a basic housing project will be completed.  And then he comes here so that we can congratulate him.   There is a litany of other failed projects in this department

The situation in the KZN Human Settlements department is so bad that even the MEC has no confidence in his own department. He has used his position as the political executive head of both Human Settlements and Public Works to shift projects from the former to the latter when it comes to rectification of pre 1994 stock.  Clearly Human Settlements lacks the capacity to do the job.

The MEC also knows that he has no faith in his HOD and that there is nothing he can do about it. That is the consequence of cadre deployment.

The department’s reputation has also been tainted by recent high profile litigation around its heavy-handed tactics and the open eviction orders it wants to impose on the people of KZN.  The DA will never support land invasions. But we will also never allow the government wide-ranging powers which are open for abuse and allow it to simply remove people overnight.  Every eviction must treat victims with the dignity that every South African deserves.  Just because people are poor, doesn’t mean their rights are disposable.

At the last meeting of the human settlements portfolio committee, uMvoti Mayor Cllr Thamsanqa Ngubane didn’t bother to arrive to report on municipal housing projects because he was too busy running around getting the ANC’s new parachute premier elected. I shudder to think what is happening on these projects when he so blatantly puts the ANC ahead of the citizens of his municipality.

The DA is aware that the MEC is unlikely to hang onto his job once the parachute Premier reshuffles the KZN cabinet and that he will probably be placed in a different ministry.

My message to the MEC today is – never forget that you have failed to fulfil the one big promise you made to the people of KZN, that of a proper and credible housing waiting list to finally sort out the allocations mess that you have left unchanged.

You promised it in your budget speech, yet you have not said another word about it since.  No doubt the elections will come and go with the ANC breaking yet another promise to the people of KZN.

Today’s ANC motion is indicative of a party out of touch with reality.

The citizens of this province know that they cannot depend on the ANC and that it will take a DA government to fix up your mess.

The DA is committed to a credible housing allocation policy, processes and lists that are open, accessible and trusted by the public.   We are committed to speeding up delivery by holding contractors accountable for their work, holding the department accountable and getting rid of the practice of cadre deployment which is crippling our housing department.

The DA will put the people first and not the party.

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ANC not empowering housing beneficiaries in FS – 63 500 title deeds outstanding

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

The below member statement was delivered by Leona Kleynhans (MPL) during a sitting of the Free State Provincial Legislature today.

 

According to a reply I received from the MEC of Human Settlements, Olly Mlamleli, the department has a backlog of 63 501 title deeds which still need to be registered in the Free State Province in the name of housing beneficiaries.

According to the Annual Performance Plan of the department the target of these title deed registrations for the current year was set at 6  895 over three different programmes. It is a real shame that from April to November 2015 the Department managed to only register 663 title deeds.

At the current rate it will take the Department almost 48 years to register all the title deeds in the names of beneficiaries in the Free State.

A full title deed on a property is one of the most effective ways to economically empower our people. It gives them a foothold in the property market and allows them access to financial services, which goes a long way towards creating prosperity.

This ANC-government in the Free State is not committed to empowering our people by giving them full ownership of the properties they live in.  The ANC-led government under Premier Ace Magashule would rather have the poorest of the poor remain so, completely dependent on handouts and scraps. This is the story of a careless government.

The DA has always been committed to empowering our people through ownership of tenure because we know that it is possibly one of the best measures government can take to redress the legacy of Apartheid and to economically empower our people.

The DA’s commitment to economically empower our people is seen in the performance of the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements which during the 2014/15 financial year managed to transfer full ownership of property to 31 350 beneficiaries in one year.

The message is clear. If the people of the Free State want ownership of the houses they live in, they will have to reject the ANC government and vote in the DA.

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Gauteng shack fires an indication of poor human settlements policy

By Mervyn Cirota MPL, DA Gauteng spokesperson for Human Settlements:

The recent shack fires which has caused the displacement of 2500 people in Kya Sands and Cleveland south east of Johannesburg is a clear indication of poor human settlements planning by Gauteng Department of Human Settlements.

The Provincial Government’s inability to implement stringent policies for in-situ upgrades of settlements and planned relocations has resulted in overcrowding in many of our provinces informal settlements.

Illegal electricity connections remain the major cause of fires, and blazes are difficult to control because informal settlements do not have proper access to roads for fire departments nor are there any municipal fire hydrants.

MEC Jacob Mamabolo’s recent visit to affected areas was a knee jerk reaction, and he provided no long-term planning, nor short term assistance such as emergency shack fire kits provided by the City of Cape Town.

The recent fires should serve as a learning curve to the MEC and the department to ensure that all residential areas are equipped with fire hydrants and proper roads to ensure access.

Until such time as people’s living conditions are improved, they remain vulnerable to avoidable risks.

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Joburg’s R64 million housing project of shame

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

Thousands of Joburg residents on the housing waiting list remain stranded at alternative camp sites in Reyashoma and Alexandra due to the ineptitude of the City of Johannesburg’s officials to have them placed.

A total of 232 social rental housing units were built in the north of Johannesburg to the tune of R64 million, and Gauteng Human Settlements MEC, Jacob Mamabolo, must urgently explain why they have been left unoccupied for three years.

According to a statement by the City of Johannesburg, these flats have now been vandalised to such an extent that they will now have to be upgraded at further cost.

Access to housing is a basic human right as enshrined in our Constitution. The City of Johannesburg has continually failed to deliver on this mandate to have residents placed in housing units that are serviced, and uphold the dignity of the city’s most poor and vulnerable residents.

Instead of leaving housing units empty and at risk of vandalism, the City of Johannesburg needs to fast-track delivery to beneficiaries and monitor housing projects in order to prevent their decay.

I will ask MEC Mamabolo to account for the non-delivery of housing units to Joburg residents and what lack of oversight there might have been in preventing the human settlements departments of both in the city and the province to deliver on its mandate.

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