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.