EC Department of Human Settlements fails to meet housing targets

According to the Department of Human Settlements, less people in the province will receive housing. The planned target for the 2018/19 financial year is at 8567 units in contrast to the 12 453 units that were constructed in the 2017/18 year.

The immense  reduction in the amount of housing units will pose a challenge in resolving the current provincial housing backlog which currently sits at over 600 000 units. This is bound to aggravate the current backlog due to the fewer houses that will be completed.

This is further compounded by cuts to the Human Settlements Development Grant which has been reduced from R2 239 316 billion in the 2017/18 year to R1 908 439 billion for the current financial year, a decrease which equates to 14,78%.

Given the budget cuts and reduction in housing targets, less people stand to benefit from government housing. Furthermore numerous people have been on the waiting list and they will now have to wait indefinitely to receive housing.

Housing output in the province has steadily declined and the planned target for the current financial year is the lowest anticipated output since the 2008/09 year where the number of units delivered was at 18,424.

Government continues to put residents at a disadvantage by failing to provide houses to the countless South Africans who still remain destitute more than 20 years into democracy. Taking into account the decline in housing delivery along with a growing population in the province, it appears unlikely that the current housing backlog will be alleviated.

The right to adequate housing is one of the most important of all basic human rights. Section 26(1) of the Constitution provides that everyone shall have the right of access to adequate housing. Accessibility means that government must create conducive conditions for all its citizens, irrespective of their economic status, to access affordable housing.

This reaffirms the DA’s belief that the ANC lacks the political will to restore the dignity of disadvantaged people through the provision of access to adequate housing. A DA-led provincial government would remain committed to ensuring that residents of this province experience the dignity of owning a home. — Sanele Magaqa MPL, Shadow MEC for Housing.