Honourable Speaker, Members of the Executive Council, Honourable members, officials and guests I greet you.
The provincial Department of Housing is failing the citizens of this province with housing delivery.
• There is a housing backlog of 750 000 units in this province.
• Only 79 397 houses have been built in the province since 2009
• Housing delivery has declined from 18 965 units in 2010 to a low of 10 784 units in 2010 to 16 726 units in the last financial year.
• There is still no formalised legislation in place to deal with the eradication of informal settlements.
This process started 3 years back.
• The department has underspent R291 million of its budget in the last financial year.
This is the second year in a row that the department has underspent
on its budget.
• The department continues to defy the housing Code by not developing Integrated Human Settlements
• There is a backlog in excess of 130 000 title deeds that need to be given to housing beneficiaries in the province.
• The province is lagging behind other provinces with regards to alternative building and housing supply solutions.
Speaker, the main causes of these problems are a lack of coordinated inter-governmental, departmental and sectoral cooperation between the Department of Human Settlements and sister departments.
The second main problem is the lack of discipline and consequences for poor work performance.
Other challenges include decreased funding for the department and a reduced equitable share allocation causing the department to be unable to recruit staff.
There is a 50% staff vacancy rate in the department at present.
It is anticipated that due to the declining population in this province from the 2011 census figures, the Equitable share is only projected to grow a mere 0.46 over the MTEF period.
Speaker, the problem of a lack of cooperative and sectoral governance is highlighted in the budget analyses of 2013/14 the PSAM (Public service Accountability Monitor) report on Human Settlements.
I quote from the report:
“There is also a need for strong inter-sectoral partnership between the departments of Human Settlements, COGTA and other key departments which have been established this financial year”.
It is of concern that at a recent committee oversight visit last month, the planned 900 houses for Hankey 900 Project eludes the residents of Stofville.
A 4 year delay due to bulk challenges highlights the need for effective departmental and sectoral cooperation.
Honourable Speaker from these engagements it will become apparent that citizens want a broad choice of housing options.
This is highlighted in the PSAM report and I quote:
“The department needs to begin using alternative housing options and typologies which address bulk infrastructure and funding challenges”
With municipalities as the drivers of housing development effective consultation needs to start at ward sector level through ward profiling and ward committees.
This information then needs to be incorporated into CREDIBLE Integrated development plans of municipalities and then fed through to provincial departments.
Honourable Speaker, this is where the housing provision is disjointed in the province.
There is lack of adequate base planning at municipal level and lack of adequate IDP public participation.
In many municipalities, ward based planning to identify housing and integrated human settlements needs are compliance exercises.
When the DA comes to power in this province we will implement the following measures to radically improve housing choice for citizens.
Firstly, under a DA administration:
1.) We will eliminate housing backlogs by ensuring a match between available skill capacity and financial resources. This will lead to a workable housing plan crafted with that speaks to these resources.
2.) The DA would create active citizenry by ensuring that ward based and sectoral plans of citizens at municipal level are elevated into CREDIBLE IDPs of municipalities.
3.) The DA would quicken redress and enhance opportunity by providing of sites with full municipal services. This would empower beneficiaries to decide how they wish to exercise their housing choice on their site and take active steps to ensure that this happens.
4.) The DA would introduce a suite of attractive financing and subsidy options to beneficiaries.
This process of active engagement and cooperation with citizens and government will broaden housing choice as dictated to by the citizens and not the state as is currently happening.
Speaker, I wish to highlight and example of how there is a lack of co-operative governance in this province.
I wish to highlight an event that occurred last week between the MEC and Honourable Trollip.
The Mayor of DA governed Baviaans informed Honourable Trollip that he had certain issues pertaining to “The Downs” housing project in Willowmore.
He further heard that the MEC had been invited to an ANC meeting and he and his Management were not invited to the meeting.
When the MEC and Honourable Trollip interacted on the matter the MEC stated that it was not important that the Mayor was not invited.
Honourable Speaker it is alleged that certain decisions were made by the MEC at that meeting which appeared to be biased and one sided.
The arrogance of the MEC to exclude the Mayor and his management shows that the MEC and her cohorts are not committed to Co operative governance.
Speaker, the MEC needs to take strong action against non-performance of employees in her department.
The lack of acknowledgement of recovery of monies stolen by employees is of grave concern.
In the PSAM report it states:
“By recovering this money, it can make a significant difference to the Human Settlement budget”.
Furthermore Speaker, the lack of regular performance appraisals of employees will continue to let the department in the lurch from one crisis to another.
In conclusion the Legislature better really start listening to and implement the housing aspirations of the communities of this province before our service delivery protests turn into ever violent riots.
Failure to do this is done at own peril.