Speech notes by Sanele Magaqa MPL: Debate on the State of the Province Address: 28 February 2018

Honourable Speaker, six years ago the South African government adopted a blueprint for development, the NDP. The strategic goals as informed by the plan in Chapter 8, deals with integrated human settlement strategies, goals and time frames in forging a way forward to improve the lives of our people in this province. The pace and manner in which we commit ourselves to the realisation of Chapter 8 of the NDP leaves a lot to be desired.

We are slowly drifting away from implementing what is expected in that document.  In the Western Cape, we find meaningful engagement in the integration of human settlements with its priorities as highlighted under the leadership of Hon. Bongikosi Madikizela.

The State of the Province Address gave no hope to the thousands of Eastern Cape home seekers who have been waiting for decent shelter for years with no hope.  Old men and women have died waiting for a roof over their heads.  The vulnerable and destitute wait for years for the restoration of human dignity as stipulated in the Constitution of this country and that is a further violation of their human rights.  Whilst they wait, 18-year-olds and foreign nationals are occupying houses due to bad management and a lack of priorities.  The PREMIER has promised the prioritisation of the vulnerable and destitute. However, this does not manifest itself in reality. (Sbongile Mangali who is wheelchair-bound and Phumza Makeleni who is a physically challenged old woman was approved as beneficiaries years ago but until today nothing has happened.  The list is endless — apha next door BCMM).

The rectification programme, which is one of the biggest challenges facing the department is not mentioned in the SOPA address by the Premier. The national government has allocated a limited 10% of the conditional grant to deal with the huge rectification backlog, which means there is no hope for effectively dealing with the issue of rectification in the province.

According to the Division of Revenue Bill, the Human Settlements Development Grant is 14,78% less for the next financial year (2018/19).  We need to agree that the department is failing to address the huge backlog in the provision of integrated human settlements and rectification. We need national government intervention, particularly in the case of rectification.

The assessment compiled by the NHBRC identified the following units as requiring rectification:

  1. Alfred Nzo District  1 807
  2. Amathole 4 540
  3. Buffalo City  10 499
  4. Sarah Baartman  5 663
  5. Chris Hani 21 938
  6. Joe Gqabi 8 606
  7. Nelson Mandela  50 787
  8. OR Tambo 10 022

Total: 113 862

Only 223 houses were not to be demolished and the rest will be torn down.  The total expenditure was more than R44-million and the question of alternative accommodation is only reflected in the policy. There should be alternative accommodation provided when doing rectification. But you will find that we have not seen that in a number of regions.

The fight to win the backlog in issuing title deeds is far from over.  What is surprising is that all DA-governed municipalities are leading in this programme.  The lost hope of the beneficiaries under the previous administration in the Johannesburg Metro, Nelson Mandela Bay, City of Tshwane and the City of Cape Town is restored.  What matters to the beneficiaries is the ownership of the house, the title deed, not broken promises, year after year.

The Eastern Cape Government as lead by you, Mr Premier, have been asked that beneficiary lists be made public for a number of years in order to solve delays, manipulation of the lists and corruption — as we have seen in a number of cases by some officials at local level.  Unfortunately, Hon Premier, this issue it is not getting the attention that it deserves.  I am not sure whether you have lost hope in ever winning this challenge.  Ask advice from other provinces that are doing it better, such as the Western Cape under Hon. Helen Zille.

The housing issue is complex and needs to be addressed through a cumulative process of reform. There is tension between the need to address the housing backlog quickly and affordably, and the need to provide housing to create well-functioning, high-quality human settlements that that will offer greater opportunities for income generation and human development.

There is a need to find the correct balance between protecting property rights of vulnerable individuals; protecting state investments; allowing integration of state provided housing into the property market to stimulate the secondary housing market and ensuring locational flexibility for housing beneficiaries.

What we need is total change in how we approach housing in the Eastern Cape.