Report indicates persistent housing delivery irregularities in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro — Taking Legislature to the People

The annual Taking Legislature to the People is being held in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro (NMBM) from 20-23 October, at the Missionvale Campus of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.  

Below is the speech delivered by Kobus Botha, Shadow MEC for Human Settlements, speaking on the report for housing  in NMBM.

Honourable Speaker, all protocol observed

 The City of Nelson Mandela Bay is well known as the “The Friendly City” but it is also known as the “The Windy City”.

I like the latter, as I believe that the winds of change are blowing through this city and that after the 2016 elections we will see a new DA government swept into power.

Our mayoral candidate, Athol Trollip, through his campaign to visit 60 wards in 60 days is bringing hope, and his vision of a caring, inclusive, safe, forward thinking and well run municipality is blowing strongly through the city.

We need a caring, honest and efficient DA government that is focused on reducing the huge housing backlog in Nelson Mandela Bay without any corruption.

Currently there are a housing backlog of 72 500 units of which 49 000 are back yard shacks and 23 500 the dwellings from approximately 105 informal settlements scattered in and around the city,

Adding to this huge housing shortage is the rectification of 40 000 ‘wet-and-defective’ houses built pre- and post 1994 that will cost the city an additional 4 million rand.

Rectification is mainly due to shoddy workmanship, corrupt, greedy under performing contractor’s double dipping for more money to pay-off there connected government cronies.

The department would have to deliver 231 NHBRC compliant and completed units per month to reach the current yearly target of 2 778 units.

While we welcome the yearly target we believe based on historical performance of this department that this is a pipe dream.

By making such a pronouncement one is creating hope among beneficiaries and communities that will in all likelihood not materialise.

I have been reliably informed that the constructions of 231 houses per month are not taking place.

Instead a meagre 40 houses has been built per month which totals 449 houses for the past six months.

Instead of building a caring, safe, inclusive, forward thinking and well run city that creates a conducive environment for economic acceleration the ANC government accelerates corruption in housing delivery.

Our DA government believes that housing delivery is a critical component in redressing the legacy of apartheid inequalities in order to restores people’s dignity.

A DA government will build better quality houses to help the poor people of this city.

Increasingly studies have pointed out that the link between well located constructed houses, in a well-planned and integrated manner, with sustainable municipal services, do add value to healthy human development to attain self-actualisation.

A house must become a home. Quality housing settlements will also enable families to spend more time and resources on medical care, nutritious food, and clothing, transportation to, and from, work and quality day care services for their children.

Of equal importance is for the people of Nelson Mandela Bay to understand that it is healthy for political parties to compete with each other in-terms of offering voters policy alternatives and political choice.

Political parties and their members must also come to understand, that the winning political party that takes government control, must respect and follow the prescripts of the Constitution of SA.

Loosing political parties on the other hand, must peacefully accept the election out-come, and raise their concerns through the correct channels and not by violent and destructive means.

The winning political party will have to ensure that better integrated housing is delivered with improved quality and in volume in a short space of time.

The question voters should ask themselves before the elections in specific relation to housing delivery is;

Did the ANC government deliver a holistic housing programme that is conducive to improving the quality of their well-being and prosperity?

Or, did the ANC just build house to achieve targets with little regard to the quality of houses in order to win votes.

The multi-party portfolio committee on human settlements has tabled its report here today through the chairperson for you to hear our perceptions of what we have encountered here in NMBM.

I am sure that you will agree that the report doesn’t paint a good picture of ANC housing delivery in this metro.

The report speaks of a serious sickness, called corruption, but it also speaks to many reoccurring findings that the ANC MEC Helen Sauls-August and her predecessors have failed to address in the past.

The ANC has failed to effectively and significantly reduce the massive 600 000 provincial housing backlog and the 72 500 housing units backlog here in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.

The uncaring ANC government have also failed to build houses for the people living in 105 informal settlements in and around the city.

This failure by the ANC to address people’s concerns resulted in numerous sporadic incidents of illegal land invasion across the city and an escalation in service delivery protest marches this year.

Communities themselves have voiced their anger through violent protest at bad service and housing delivery.

People are fed-up, staying in shacks and bad conditions; they are fed-up, with corruption in housing, they are fed-up with unfair treatment when it comes to beneficiary allocations.

Honourable Speaker, it is visibly clear that houses are being built, but I cannot agree that this haphazard delivery has holistically improved the people’s lives of Nelson Mandela Bay.

In fact some of the housing projects are nothing more than glorified slum cities as in the case of Chetty, Missionvale, Daleview and Khayamnandi.

A lack of toilets, roads, pavements, streetlights and refuse removal will pose greater problems in the near future in these communities.

Voters must ask themselves how it is possible that bad service delivery and corruption can occur on such a large scale without immediate detection and intervention.

Corruption thrives where temptation meets permissiveness: where institutional checks on power are missing, where decision making is vague, where civil society is disempowered and lied to and where control mechanisms in departments are not implemented but eroded by politically aliened cadre deployees The ANC allows this!.

To substantiate my statements, one only needs to read the Eastern Cape Auditors Generals report that highlights deficiencies with the housing department’s financial controls.

To add more impetus to my statements the National ANC Minister for Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu, in a vote of no confidence, paid R 4. 6 Billion rand to the Housing Development Agency to build houses till 2019. Why?

Because she cannot trust her own ANC politician’s and officials with the money.

How does the ANC Minister expect us, to trust the NMBM ANC candidates at the next election, if their own comrades don’t trust them with our money, or is it just another political trick to gain votes? Only time will tell.

Honourable Speaker, the DA is convinced that the extent of the housing challenges are not only from the enormous size of the housing backlog, corrupt politicians, officials and the desperate and impatient homeless people desperate for housing.

But it also stems from the extremely complicated huge bureaucratic, administrative, financial and institutional frameworks that exist in this municipality and the provincial department that delay and constrain delivery.

A DA elected government will review the current organizational structure.

We will cut onerous red-tape processes and replace them with the latest technology to increase efficiency, openness and transparency in our housing delivery cycle.

We will step-by-step identify dysfunctional aspects of work flow, procedures, structures and systems and we will realign them to fit current realities and then implement the new changes.

In order for the DA to do the above and to put in place a responsive, caring and results driven government the people of the city must vote for change.

For change to take place in your ward, in your life and in your children’s lives, the people of Nelson Mandela Bay must go and register and vote for change.

On election-day one needs to wake-up early, and go to the right voting station and vote for change, vote for freedom, fairness and opportunity,

Vote for a new government, a DA government, because we will fix this broken administration in this metro to serve you.

It is your right to vote for whom you want to, it is your right to borrow your vote for five years to a new DA government and if we don’t deliver, you take your vote back, at the next election and vote for another political party of your choice.

A vote for the DA government is a vote for leaders;

  • That loves people and cares for your well-being.
  • That listens, responds and treats you with respect.
  • That delivers quality and affordable municipal services.
  • That punishes corruption, not reward it, like the ANC.
  • That is a friendly, open and transparent municipality in all our business dealings.
  • That serves you with pride, and not expecting you to serve Politian’s and officials.
  • That has been tried, tested, trusted and who are ready to govern.

Honourable Speaker, on behalf of the DA, we support the content of the report as a fair assessment of the sad state of affairs what we found here in NMBM housing.

The Metro needs a new government, with a new vision, where housing is delivered in a well-coordinated and ordered manner.

I thank you.

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