MEC must take responsibility for RDP home fiasco

THE MEC for Human Settlements, Helen Sauls-August blames delays in the verification and relocation processes for the losses and damage to RDP houses. The MEC must stop shifting the blame and take political responsibility for the beneficiary-list manipulation by ANC councillors and some officials that causes delays in the occupation [of houses] by rightful, deserving beneficiaries.

A lack of transparency frustrates intended beneficiaries and leads to public protest, illegal occupation or theft.

The fact that some people resort to looting vacant RDP houses, as happened in Mdantsane last weekend, will only add to the past five years of decreased housingdelivery output figures in our province.

By the end of the third quarter of the 2013/2014 financial year, the Eastern Cape Department of Human Settlements had only managed to achieve 40% (7 898 units) of their 2013/2014 housing output target of 18 900 units.

Since 1994, the government has driven large-scale delivery of state-subsidised homes to low-income families across the country and nearly two million subsidised homes have been built. It is a notable achievement by any measure. But getting a state-subsidised home has now become a political process and councillors play a powerful role, often deciding who gets housing and who do not, making the housing system particularly vulnerable to maladministration, corruption and fraud.

The MEC must table a report on what it will cost to rectify the vandalism and theft of state housing projects in the province.

While there is corruption, maladministration and fraud involved in housing allocation, there is also confusion and anger among the intended beneficiaries over the housing waiting list system, databases, selection criteria and the allocation process itself. — Kobus Botha, MPL, DA Shadow MEC for Human Settlements, Bhisho