There is a housing crisis in the province of monumental proportion, with a backlog totalling 797 932 units and an unknown number of houses needing rectification.

In response to a written question by the Democratic Alliance to the MEC for Human Settlements, Nombulelo Mabandla, the following information came to light:

A backlog of over a quarter of a million houses in the Amathole- and OR Tambo District Municipalities accounted for 58% of all housing backlogs in the province.

The concern is that many of the poorest inhabitants of the Eastern Cape live in these areas and are being marginalized by a disgraceful lack of service delivery in the province. The Alfred Nzo district shows a backlog of 87 204 units and the Nelson Mandela Metro 93 561.

Considering that the Department of Housing predicts in its Annual Performance Plan for 2009-2011/12, that it will complete 15 000 units in the province at the end of the 2009/10 financial year, it will take some 50 years to clear this backlog. (subs: 797 932 units divided by 15 000 units per year)

The increase in population and ever more demand for housing this time projection is conservative. Furthermore, the total of 797 932 units dates back to 2007, according to the MEC’s reply and from her department’s track record it can be assumed that this backlog is in fact even higher.

Housing excellence will only come about when individuals and communities have a choice as to where to build and how they wish to be housed. The current government policy of “one size fits all” is not the way to solve the gigantic housing calamity in which this province finds itself.

With the launch today (subs: Tues 8 Sept) of the Democratic Alliances’ new housing policy “Building Firm Foundations”, choice for individuals based on pro-active facilitation and assistance to realize these housing dreams, is the solution to our housing problems both provincially and nationally.

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

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