MEC MUST ADDRESS HOUSING ISSUES

While the Democratic Alliance applauds Housing MEC Nombulelo Mabandla for her efforts to visit housing projects in the Transkei this week, she needs to provide the public with answers to serious issues. The management of the Provincial Housing Department needs a major overhaul if this province is to succeed with effective housing delivery.

MEC Mabandla needs to come clean about the wasted expenditure and the amounts involved. The public has a right to know how many blocked projects there are, how many units are affected and in what areas. The MEC needs to break her silence regarding how many contractors have been charged for fraud and poor workmanship. How many contractors, if any, have been blacklisted? The public needs to know why no action has been taken against fraudulent government officials. A case in point is the R86 million tender for 2 500 houses in Duncan Village which was awarded to a construction company whose bid was R15 million more than its closest competitor. (Daily Dispatch, 4 August 2009).

With an estimated provincial housing backlog of 800 000 units, it would take over 50 years to house the province at today’s ambitious annual target of 15 000 per annum. However, the department finds itself in a situation where it is spending millions to fix an estimated 20 000 broken homes whilst the recipients are expected to live in cardboard units.

I have today requested my DA Housing colleague in Parliament, Mr. Butch Steyn, MP, to ask the Minster of Housing what action, if any, will be taken to sort out the housing mess in this province, with specific reference to blocked projects and houses standing empty.

If the ruling party is serious about housing, the MEC and the Minister of Housing should no longer accept shoddy workmanship by fraudulent contractors, whilst officials should know that there are consequences to their actions. Furthermore, the shortage of project managers must be addressed urgently.

Government’s role is to facilitate housing delivery – not provide it – as the ANC is unsuccessfully trying to do. In order to facilitate better housing delivery the Democratic Alliance believes that communities must have choice and opportunity to build their own houses. This can be achieved by giving serviced sites to beneficiaries to do with how they want to.

The accessing of loans from pension contributions should be encouraged to allow people to secure a deposit on a site or building. By so doing, communities will create effective human settlements and the problem of random rural housing projects standing uninhabited and abandoned due to lack of municipal services will be over.

The “In Situ” upgrades of informal settlements into respectable and dignified habitable communities through community committees is another solution the DA has to alleviate the housing problems.

By promoting densification in cities and towns will attract citizens to migrate nearer to their work and social amenities thus creating an efficient integrated transport structure for these communities.

For further information, please contact Dacre Haddon MPL on 079 694 3788