COMMENT ON 2010 POLICY SPEECH FOR DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING

The 2010/11 Housing Policy and Budget speech presented to the provincial legislature yesterday (subs: wed, 24 March) is scant on detail. While the budget allocation of R1.86 billion shows a solid 25% increase on the previous year, details are vague relating to funding implications of some areas in the budget.

Of particular concern is housing rectification. While the previous year’s target of 3 712 houses was exceeded by 116 units, we are not told exactly how many units in the province need rectification. Information states that in excess of 19 000 units provincially need rectification.

With this financial year’s target set at 4 280 houses we are not informed as to what the on-going costs to finalise this project will be. Of further concern is the ever-increasing demand to empower and train emerging building contractors and the shortage of housing inspectors and on-site supervision. Quality control must be rigidly enforced to ensure that the rectification nightmare is not perpetuated.

With regards to Breaking New Ground little attention is given to how the coordination between the various phases of government will work in order to achieve sustainable human settlements.

What is the plan regarding current RDP projects into BNG settlements? As this is the new government position with regards to housing, the lack of detail must beg the question whether the province does indeed have an implementation plan in this regard.

The achievement of only 66% of the set housing building target for the last year despite intervention of assistance from the National Department of Housing still highlights the serious capacity challenges within the department.

The department needs to move away from building rows of “matchbox” RDP houses to affording beneficiaries with tenure by giving them a serviced site.

By so doing the limited budget will be able to offer a little to more people than more to fewer people and empower and give choice to beneficiaries as to how they would like to develop their own housing needs.

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