Speech notes by DA MPL, Kobus Botha – ECPL portfolio committee for Human Settlements oversight visit to Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and Chris Hani District Municipality

“The DA demands that ANC MEC, Helen Sauls-August, explain to this House why she is failing to arrest the reoccurring findings of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements year-after-year, budget-after-budget, election-after-election.”

  • DA announces a new way of doing business in Nelson Mandela bay housing department by introducing a 9 point turn-around strategy plan to fix Nelson Mandela Bay broken housing department
  • The DA has the right housing policies, the right mayoral candidate to fix NMB metro housing problem

Honourable Speaker, all protocol observed.

The people of this province require shorter turnaround time in the provision housing delivery!

Houses are necessary to protect our people from the elements and to provide safety, dignity and economic benefit.

The fact is; the ANC Government is struggling to keep up with the ever increasing demand in the provisioning of high quality low cost housing, the provision of quality mix-mode developments and in solving the associated complex challenges that comes with this service to the people.

The DA believes that our people need solid well-constructed houses in order to assist them on their life journey to self-actualisation.

We also believe that our people’s houses need to be integrated and included into our towns and cities main economic hubs of activity, instead of being excluded and placed on poor soil conditions, on the outskirts of the cities, in poorly built houses, far away from all amenities and at great financial cost to them.

The DA acknowledges that under President Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, millions of homes have been provided to ordinary South Africans.

But sadly, during President Jacob Zama’s administration we have noticed a decline in the provision of quality houses and increase in poorly built houses and blocked projects. Instead of accelerating housing delivery we have witness an increase in corruption regarding the awarding of housing tenders, shoddy or poor-workmanship, poor housing development planning and project management by officials.

The manipulation of housing lists, the sale of sites and RDP houses by self-serving officials and politicians is still prevalent.

The report presented by the Eastern Cape Human Settlements Portfolio Committee Members today, pertaining to their oversight visits to the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality and the Chris Hani District is still indicative of reoccurring findings that the portfolio committee members have identified in the past and presented to the MEC for corrective measures.

The MEC and her department are still struggling to implement and report back on historic House resolutions given to her in this regard.

The question that Members of this Legislature sitting must ask themselves is;

  • Why is the housing department not delivering adequate integrated quality mix mode housing developments that will address a variety of beneficiaries needs and contribute to the lowering of the staggering 600 000 provincial housing backlog?
  • Why is there still a lack of provision of bulk infrastructure such as tarred roads, sewage and storm water drainage, in the ground, before houses are built?
  • Why do we still experience housing related corruption?
  • Why is there so much contractor dissatisfaction with the department?
  • Why is the transfer of title deeds to the beneficiaries so slow?
  • Why is it that we are not seeing one, by the book, integrated RDP human settlement project with all the amenities in place to service a new community.

Honourable Speaker, the above boils down to bad political and administrative leadership.

Bad project planning, bad project implementation management, bad monitoring and bad compliance assurance to housing policy prescripts, regulations and housing related laws.

During our visits specifically to Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, we were met by very angry residents complaining over various housing woes.

Housing protests are now becoming a monthly occurrence due to the failures of the provincial department to deal effectively with especially Nelson Mandela Bay officials and associated problems.

Nelson Mandela Bay Metro officials have become a rogue force onto themselves.

Operating on their own accord, with their own selfish interest at heart and not the interest of the poor homeless people.

The cities people are being left behind in this battle for power and control over state resources by competing forces.

The part-time leadership and administration of Danny Jordaan has achieved little over the last 100 days since he parachuted into office.

With an outstanding housing backlog of 72 411 housing units and a further 40 000 units identified for rectification, people in Nelson Mandela Bay have every right to be upset with the ANC government.

This means that 49 000 back yard shack dwellers and 23 411 units in informal settlements are left in the cold while the ANC fight amongst each other for power, money and government spoils.

Plans to build 3 800 housing units this financial year are entirely insufficient, inadequate and unfair.

The minimum bench mark for a metro must be to at least build 15 000 completed, NHBRC compliant housing units per year.

Due to the metro’s inability to deliver and eliminate internal departmental strife between themselves and the Eastern Cape Provincial Housing Department housing delivery has slowed down.

The DA does welcome the National government interventions and support package in this regard to try and assist in this matter.

The vision for a better Nelson Mandela Bay can clearly not be delivered by the current ANC government.

The Metro needs a new government, with a new vision, where housing is delivered in a well-coordinated and ordered manner, unlike the projects seen by the portfolio committee members in Chetty, Missionvale and Joe Slovo where people live in the water filled houses and muddy, dusty gravel roads with non-functional basic services.

The people of Nelson Mandela Bay are frustrated and neglected and have become the victims of a deaf and blind ANC government that has turned its back on them by only delivering broken promises of a better life.

Amidst all this misery there is hope; there is an alternative, a government ready to govern.

The people of NMB have a golden opportunity to make democracy work for them, they can use their vote, and choose a new political party, with a new vision for the metro, come 2016 local government elections.

The DA is the only rainbow nation party that represents all the people of SA, for which Nelson Mandela stood for, it is the only political party big enough to take on the ANC, it is the only political party where a majority of people have voted out the ANC for bad governance, and voted in the DA, for good, clean governance, and that is in the Western Cape.

The DA in the Western Cape is fixing the ANC’s mess, day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month, year-by-year, and election-after-election with the help of voters and that’s a good story to tell.

The DA in the Eastern Cape Province has produced the best fit for purpose mayoral candidate for Nelson Mandela Bay voters in Athol Trollip.

He has vast experience in leadership and governance.

Under the leadership of Athol Trollip, and other competent leaders, the DA will be able to fix and implement a turn-around strategy for the metro that will bring a vision of hope and prosperity to the cities citizens and remove the mood of despair.

The difference between DA governance and the ANC’s governance is clearly visible in the Western Cape where the DA governs with and for the people, with workable DA policy solutions.

Our commitment to the people is demonstrated via our good, clean and people first governance approach.

The DA government is professional and places its citizens first, that’s why the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements has been delivering excellent performance, exceeding its service delivery target of 17 583 housing opportunities in the 2014/2015 financial year, with a delivery of 18 817 housing opportunities and also achieving a clean audit from the Auditor General for the said financial year.

This without any corruption, intimidation and bribery!

The outstanding performance in both service delivery numbers and financial accountability was only possible through putting the people’s needs first, followed by effective service delivery, rather than greed or party political factional self-interest.

The ANC National Minister with her Department officials acknowledged this excellence of the DA Western Cape through awards at the 2015 Provincial Govan Mbeki housing awards that were held at the Lagoon beach Hotel in Cape Town on the 23 April 2015.

Honourable Speaker, the difference between a DA government and the ANC in NMB is simple; the DA promises a no nonsense approach to service delivery.

We want good quality, corruption free government services, and we want it now!

We don’t want to wait another five years for broken ANC political promises, and therefore the DA has a plan to fix the broken ANC housing department in the metro.

Our turnaround plan will put a stop to failed RDP projects in Nelson Mandela Bay as follows:

  1. We will conduct immediate forensic investigation audits on all supply chain anomalies and institute immediate prosecution of any official or politician found to be side-stepping due process.
  2. We will screen every contractor and SMME to guarantee qualifications, capabilities and competence and prevent unsuitable contractors getting tenders.
  3. We will implement a zero-tolerance attitude towards political interference.
  4. We will have an immediate ban on government officials from doing business with the NMB government.
  5. We will work according to strict standard operating procedures with the Provincial Government, and National Department, to ensure no deviations and no withholding of housing funds.
  6. We will create an environment where freedom, fairness and opportunity will be the order of the day and not favouritism for pals, family and corrupt officials politically aligned to party factions.
  7. We will explore the provision of housing with alternative building technologies with the inclusion of renewable energy sufficient innovations.
  8. We will open up the beneficiary administration process to be transparent, we will prioritize the elderly, the vulnerable and destitute and other marginalised groups irrespective of political affiliation.
  9. We will ensure that strict planning and project management protocols are adhered to as to stop current RDP housing slums.

This is our promise to the voters.

The DA is set on winning Nelson Mandela Bay at next year’s elections with the help of the voters, and we will restore service delivery, and we will improve the lives of all the residents.

We will build solid well-constructed houses with areas of recreation and other amenities.

We will create a safe environment where people can work, play, relax and raise their families in peace and comfort.

The DA demands that the ANC MEC, Helen Sauls-August comes and explains to this House, why she is failing to arrest the reoccurring findings of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, year- after-year, budget-after-budget, election-after-election!

I thank you.

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