M. Joshua Mazibuko MPL
Hon. Speaker and Hon. Members.
*Enquiry into Housing Corruption*
The good work of the MEC and his Department in trying to fulfil their mandate IS threatened by the persistent cancer of fraud and corruption that has seemingly become South Africa's second nature. Throughout our Province, there are voices decrying some government officials, some public representatives, including councillors and some private, rich syndicates that have illegally enriched themselves and their cronies through low-cost-housing.
Yes some attempts have been made by government to deal with this curse but we have not yet dealt it a fatal blow. For this reason, the IFP today wishes to call on both the Hon. MEC and Hon. Premier to seriously consider urgently instituting a public, comprehensive and wide-ranging commission to investigate the scourge of fraud and corruption in all aspects of housing delivery in this Province. It is the IFP's considered position that this one step that can help root out this cancer.
Disturbances that regularly erupt among hostel communities are of great concern. Right now, several people have lost their lives at the Glebelands Hostel. Among other things, these disturbances are caused by the very inhuman and intolerable conditions in which these communities find themselves daily, which also provide a fertile ground for criminal elements and bullies to harass and torture peace-loving hostel communities.
While sending in police reinforcements is commendable, it is not a permanent solution. The permanent solution lies in the government's zealous execution of their commitment to transform and improve hostels such that they engender human and peaceful co-existence among those who reside there.
Hon. Speaker, while we note the Department's determination to eradicate transit camps in the next financial year, it is very unfortunate that they are still a feature of the democratic South Africa. It is not surprising therefore that in areas like Isiphingo, there are public protests and allegations of Military Veterans who are invading and taking over houses meant for these communities.
The IFP condemns the reported illegal take-over of houses. However we understand the frustrations of Military Veterans because - like all other communities - they have been waiting in vain for promised houses. Therefore, all said and done, government must shoulder the blame for these very unfortunate developments and must be seen to be quickly dealing with them.
*Housing Development Agency*
It is unfortunate that the government nationally has taken a step backwards by centralising funds in the Housing Development Agency. We are not convinced that the HDA will manage to do justice to the responsibilities of fast delivery of decent shelter to deserving South Africans. That job can best be done at a Provincial level.
*Unfulfilled 2012 Ladysmith Promises*
Hon. Speaker, we noted that the Department has ring-fenced R158m+ to repair areas affected by disasters, including those in Ladysmith.
We hope that this time, they will accelerate speed to honour this undertaking.
Because our information is that, since the 9th of December 2012, communities of Acaciaville, Moddelkloof, Steadville, Umbulwane, St Chads, Meenaplace and Gazzaplace in the UThukela District have been waiting for promises to be fulfilled, as they had been given the impression that their plight would soon be a thing of the past. About R96m was allocated to deal with that situation. It is also reported that even Dunlop Ladysmith did make a very significant contribution towards that cause.
Yes, a few contractors did start working, only to stop later. Believe you me; since then, nothing has happened.
*Brackenville Housing Problems*
Hon. Speaker, the community of Brackenville in Umhlathuze has similarly been waiting for decent houses since 1994. Among them are the elderly and widows.
This happens while there are reportedly about 53 pieces of state land lying fallow there. We understand the MEC once visited this community. Yet up until now, they too are still waiting hopefully for deliverance.
*Failures Of Harry Gwala Municipality*
Likewise, another painful example of unfulfilled promises can be seen in the Harry Gwala District where communities of Ofafa in Vukani clan under Inkosi Ndlovu; communities of Bhobhobho and Njane are all waiting for the promises of houses made by H.W. Mayor Mluleki Ndobe; which are yet to see the light of day.
*Development of Rural Areas*
Hon. Speaker, we were concerned to learn that there are concerns within government that the Department seems to be paying more attention to rural areas.
Truth be told, unless this government takes seriously the question of transforming into economic hubs and fully-developed areas where people can live with dignity, this Department will never meet its mandate to eradicate informal settlements. Because as long as these areas are not developed, cities like Durban and Pietermaritzburg will always grapple with multitudes who flock into them in search of better living conditions.
It is therefore for this reason that the IFP calls on government to abandon elitist tendencies which look down upon the rural and instead channel more resources into rural development.
Hon. Speaker; let me state that - despite the shortfalls we have highlighted - we, as the IFP, support this budget because we believe that the poorest are dependent on it. We are doing this while knowing that we have a government that is quick to promise, especially during elections, and very sluggish when it comes to honouring promises.
I thank you.
Mr Joshua Mazibuko, 083 992 6135