2019/20 KWAZULU-NATAL HUMAN SETTLEMENTS BUDGET VOTE
Debate by: Mbongeleni Joshua Mazibuko; IFP MPL
Member: KZN Human Settlements Portfolio Committee
Friday, 26 July 2019
KwaZulu-Natal Legislature; Pietermaritzburg
Hon. Chairperson and Hon. Members. At the outset, I wish to register that – for the sake of millions of the people of KwaZulu-Natal – the IFP will adopt this Human Settlements Budget.
Secondly, we wish to add our voices in congratulating Hon. Mrs. Peggy Nkonyeni on her deployment as MEC for Human Settlements.
Hon. Chairperson; we share the Hon. MEC’s observations regarding an ailing economy in our country which has imposed on government serious fiscal consolidation. It does not augur well for service delivery that the 2019/20 financial year sees the highest budget cut of R735 617 million to the Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG).
Further cause for concern is that Program 1, Administration, has been allocated more than R239m while Program 3 Housing Development, has only received about R99m. We understand that the issue of consultants also contributes to this situation. Our view is that if there is a need for consultants, they must have specific timelines and they must transfer skills to government officials.
However, we applaud and welcome the MEC’s determination to execute the mandate placed on her shoulders regardless of the state of the economy. In particular, we have taken note that the MEC has boldly spelt out targets and timeframes.
We all wish her to succeed for the sake of our Province. We therefore pledge the IFP’s patriotic support for as long as she is not deviating from the mandate. Likewise, we pledge the IFP’s voice of disapproval whenever she strays from that mandate.
Hon. Chairperson; the MEC’s address reiterates what the 2019/20 Annual Performance Plan of her Department spelt out when it highlights undertakings which inter alia are commitments to:
An enhanced service delivery model which advocates for district based decentralization for improved service delivery.
Enforcing good governance and applying consequent management to eliminate fruitless expenditure of state resources
Strengthening Monitoring and Evaluation
Regarding the district-based decentralization, the IFP is humbled to note that the Department has heeded our voice of reason. Because, it is well-known history that it is the IFP that has always been the champions of decentralization. So clearly, our prodding and contributions in this House are not in vain
On Good Governance, Consequent Management and Monitoring and Evaluation
Hon. Chairperson, we cannot agree more with the commitment to Good Governance, Consequent Management and Monitoring and Evaluation. It is on these key areas that most government programs sink or swim. As the MEC says, the focus must be on quality control Department always places an emphasis on quality control
It is a fact that on top of the ailing economy, our country, including our Province, faces the scourge of fraud, corruption and lawlessness. Some of these evil acts manifest themselves in that “some households earning between R800 and R3500 (are) exploited by higher income earners.” Others fall victim to unscrupulous rich people who buy low-cost houses and rent them out to the poor. And some among the needy rent out their houses and go back to informal settlements
This calls upon this Department and government in general to take the curse of fraud, corruption and lawlessness as an extra-ordinary crisis that calls for extra-ordinary and urgent measures. Otherwise, the MEC’s noble objectives will not be achievable.
In the same vein, we must condemn lawlessness manifest in land invasions, illegal occupation of houses, rent boycotts as well as destructive and violent protests. Our submission is that government must be tough with anyone who engages in these unlawful acts regardless of who they are.
Everyone in our country is enjoined to act within the confines of the constitution.
HOUSING PROJECTS DO NOT REDUCE INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS
The IFP appreciates also the MEC’s honesty in indicating that, despite the amounts money that the department has ploughed into service delivery, indications are that “housing projects are not reducing the percentage of households in informal dwellings.”
Indeed, this calls for deeper thinking and more initiatives to address these challenges.
Expropriation of State-owned land
One of the hindrances Hon. Chairperson, is the shortage of land. The IFP also applauds Department’s APP which commits the Department to the release of state land for residential purposes. This commitment vindicates the one made by national Minister for Human Settlements, Hon. Lindiwe Sisulu when interviewed by SAFM about two weeks ago. In that interview the Minister stated that her Department is seriously considering the route of expropriating all State-owned land for purposes addressing the shortages in housing delivery.
I am tempted to believe that both MEC Nkonyeni and national Minister Sisulu may have had a glimpse of the IFP’s 2019 Election Manifesto because the matter of expropriation of state land is among the first commitments we made; for indeed state-owned land is a low-hanging fruit and it needs no amendment of the Constitution.
We welcome the commitment to eradicate transit camps. For indeed it is unfortunate that they are still a feature of our geography. Some of these communities have been in these camps since 2010 when our country was preparing for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Some were duped into believing that their stay in these camps was temporary, yet they are still languishing in these conditions.
I THANK YOU