Human Settlements Budget Tabled Before Kwazulu-Natal Legislature By Hon. MEC Ravi Pillay
Debate by: Hon. MJ Mazibuko; IFP MPL
Tuesday, 19 April 2016
KwaZulu-Natal Legislature; Pietermaritzburg
Hon. Speaker and Hon. Members; as a matter of principle Inkatha Freedom Party does not oppose budgets tabled before this House. This is so because we are a party concerned with ensuring that delivery takes place and in time. Within this context we lament that the Human Development Grant has been reduced.
The MEC and his officials have been able to do the best out of the worst situation. This primarily because of the IFP which has provided vigilance to keep them in check.
CONCERNS OVER CORRUPTION
What always concerns the IFP; Hon. Speaker, is whether or not every cent tabled by any ANC Minister will do what it is intended to do. Because experience has taught us that some of that money ends in the pockets of cronies and pals.
We however do not doubt the commitment by the MEC Ravi Pillay to ensuring that the tax-payers’ money is used to develop the tax-payers. Hence we applaud the partnership his department has entered into with the University of KwaZulu-Natal to collaborate in the fight against corruption. We are only praying that the MEC’s good intentions materialize. For experience has taught us again that the ANC government is able to produce brilliant plans. However they dilly-dally when leadership responsibility calls on them to decisively implement those plans.
SHIFTING WAITING LISTS
Hon. Speaker, it is true that millions have been provided with the shelter above their heads; and we applaud the Department for this. On the other hand, it is also true that many more multitudes still wait for the day when their long-wait for the houses will end. Many communities have for years had their names in the ever-shifting waiting lists. What worsens the situation is that in some cases, Municipal officials compile new lists even before those names in the old lists have received their houses. This then leads to situations where some have to watch helplessly as those who are connected get houses despite being new in the lists.
Thus allegations that were made to the effect that some houses are being sold by some officials in that flag-ship project, Cornubia, are some of the pointers to the effect that there is a deep-rooted problem. Hence we commend the department’s commitment to delve into any allegations to find the truth.
HOUSES WITHOUT BULK SERVICES
Hon. Speaker, while other multitudes have received shelter above their heads, some among them have not seen justice fully done with regards to the houses they have. The eZimeleni community in Umlazi is a case in point. This community has received houses. However, they do not have access to water, toilets and electricity. How on earth, can we call this the realization of the objective of human settlements? This is clear evidence that the MEC’s colleagues are failing to come to the party and play their role. Ne other matter which serves as evidence, is the issue of the graveyards that are running scarcer by the day. I fail to understand why, when a new development is brought up, no provision is made for the graveyards because everybody knows that the residents will die at some point.
Mind you, the same ANC government told the people of South Africa in their 2006 Manifesto that by 2010 “all households will have access to clean running water;” and that by 2012 “every house will have access to electricity.” Indeed we are dealing with the government whose trustworthy rating is very low.
Again in eThekwini Municipality, there are cases where owners of ex-R293 houses are still waiting for their title deeds. In some cases, the Municipality tells owners that they will get their title deeds from their Councilors. Obviously this is now an election ploy to dupe people into believing that the ANC-government has managed to equal the IFP record as champions of delivery. But what is worse, even those referred to ANC Councilors are still waiting.
Hon. Speaker, another concern is that, the 2016/17 Appropriation Bill painted a picture which bluntly told us that government is slowly finding itself moving to the situation where it will be impossible to sustaining the current model of housing delivery. First because of the current economic situation; secondly because no one can accurately prophesy what the future holds with regards to the economic situation. On the other hand, the needs of the poor do not pause when the economy is battered by storms. They needs grow almost day-by-day. Then one wonders if the government honestly believes that it will continue to do justice to the commitment they made to millions of South Africans that they shall provide free-houses? If not, is it not time for bold, decisive and futuristic leadership to chart a new way forward?
What makes the situation more complex now is the statement made by Dr Primrose Thandekile Sabela in her document entitled: “Towards an Alternative Development Approach to Low Cost Housing Delivery in KwaZulu-Natal Province.” Dr Sabela says: “There is an increasing perception that since the 1994 to 2013 period of post-apartheid South Africa, the housing delivery approach and strategies in South Africa, and in the specific context of this study, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province, has been accelerating poverty instead of improving people’s livelihoods. It is also argued that the housing subsidy scheme intended to provide the poor with housing has failed to adequately address their housing needs as they cannot gain access to the mortgage-finance market. In this light, a critical question is which policy approach and strategies would effectively address housing problems in KZN province?”
Hon. Speaker, Dr Sabela’s thesis talks to whether or not housing delivery has led to the financial emancipation of the formerly-oppressed, especially the poor and destitute so that they take their rightful positions as contributors to the growth of the KwaZulu-Natal economy. Or they forever remain as recipients of government benevolence.
This is the context within which the IFP argues that, yes; millions have received low-cost houses from the government. But there is no evidence that what was the over-arching objective of the struggle, the political and financial liberation of the formerly-oppressed has been realized. Indeed multitudes of the owners of low-cost houses still remain at the lowest level of the KwaZulu-Natal development rung. There is no convincing evidence that, more than twenty since the advent of democracy, those recipients have moved up the ladder to positions where they are not just living from hand-to-mouth.
We ask; is this not one of the reasons some end up ditching their very houses and go back to the former positions? Is this not one of the reasons why some fall prey to powerful, rich sharks who turn them into their vassals? It is time that we must pause to answer the fundamental question: Have we achieved our over-arching objective; or are we at least any nearer to its achievement? If the answer is no; then the question must be asked: is it not time we review the road we have travelled with an intention to change direction?
The IFP argues that the crux of the matter is that –in our IFP language – we must move towards instilling the philosophy of self-help and self-reliance in our communities. But government must assist our people to move towards practicing this philosophy by ensuring massive provision of education, training and skilling opportunities so that our people become employable, are able to start their own initiatives and thus become masters of their own destinies.
Hon. Speaker; allow me to end on this note which shows the IFP’s leadership which always provides solution which cater for the future.