TABLED BEFORE KWAZULU-NATAL LEGISLATURE BY HON IMPORTANT MKHIZE MPL; CHAIRPERSON OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE DEBATE BY: M. JOSHUA MAZIBUKO, IFP MPL MEMBER: HUMAN SETTLEMENTS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
Thursday, 28 September 2017 KwaZulu-Natal Legislature; Pietermaritzburg
INTRODUCTION Hon. Speaker and Hon. Members. I rise to add the voice of the IFP to the voices of Hon. Members who are pronouncing on the 2016/2017 4th Quarter Performance Report of the Department of Human Settlements. COMPLIANCE AND QUALITY At the outset, I wish on behalf of the IFP to commend the Hon. MEC for Human Settlements, Hon. Ravi Pillay, the Head of Department and the whole Departmental Team for the fact that the Department submitted this report in time and it was of acceptable standard and quality. This is commendable Hon. Speaker because it demonstrates that the Department accords our Committee and this Honourable House the respect they deserve. REPORT IS A MIXED BAG Hon. Speaker; this report evokes mixed feelings. On one hand, it evokes warm feelings emanating from its highlight of areas in which the Department performed in accordance with their targets and beyond. We really commend the Hon. MEC and all officials for that. However, on the other hand, the report confronts us with areas where the Department did not perform well. For this we cannot be happy at all. Concern on Under/Over-Spendings Hon. Speaker, the report gives us a picture of cases where the Department either under-spent or over-spent. I must readily admit that circumstances can, at times, force any Department to under-spend or over-spend. However, when this seems to give a perception of being a regular occurrence and when either reaches figures beyond 100%, as this report highlights, it is bound to raise eyebrows. For, it gives an impression that the budgetary targets set by the Department are not based on rationality or realities; hence they find themselves having to go way beyond or fall short of their set targets. As custodians of the taxes paid by the citizens of this Province, we would urge the Department to strive to make such occurrences very rare exceptions. COMMENDATION ON ACHIEVEMENT OF TARGETS Hon. Speaker, as one goes through the report, one can see that the Department has achieved some of the targets it set itself. For instance, as the Committee noted, under Program 2, the Department “performed better on targets that were below target (in the third Quarter). In the previous quarter it stood at 57% but now stands at 29%.” Likewise under the same Program 2, “the Department over-performed on the Integrated Residential Development Programme as it completed 881 houses which was 235 (houses) above the planned output… The Department also over performed with regards to the 2 218 number of new sites connected to basic services which is 1572 above the planned output…” In addition, the Department completed “3 422 houses in the ISU Programme,” which was an improvement to its underperformance throughout the previous quarters as well as in the past 3 financial years.” It is remarkable also that the Department improved by completing 3 422 houses in the ISU Program thus changing an underperformance which had been a thorn in its flesh. It also achieved 1 034 new sites that were connected to basic services against the 929 that was targeted according to the APP and against its underperformance in the previous quarter and for the past 3 financial years. Unfortunately time does not permit that I enumerate all such examples. All we must say is that we applaud the Department for these achievements. In addition we urge the Department to ensure that it does not relapse; that instead it must improve on these positive achievements it has accomplished. GRAVE CONCERNS OVER UNDER-PERFORMANCES Having said this Hon. Speaker, I must register our grave concern about areas where the Department has under-performed. Of particular note is that the Department “generally under- performed (60%) on most of the indicators projected for the 4th Quarter on this programme.” The report recorded under-performance with regards to the number of transfers that were finalized. It indicates that the Department only managed to finalize 3 113 instead of 9 080 that was planned in terms of the APP. The report also recorded underperformance regarding “the number of rental units constructed including community rental units as 560 units were constructed out of the 927…” The report goes on to indicate that that the Department under-performed by achieving only 811 in People’s Housing, instead of the 2355 planned output it had set itself. In addition this report also highlights FLISP, the number of serviced sites, the Disaster Management Rehabilitation (Inclusive of Sukuma Sakhe), the Rectification of the 1994-2002 housing stock, Social Housing, Military Veterans Housing Program; all of which tell unfortunate stories. Military Veterans Hon. Speaker, the IFP reiterates what we stated in the Budget Debate, that while we are opposed to any person or group adopting illegal means to solve their problems, we understood the frustrations which may have prompted some among military veterans to adopt the position they adopted with regards to the houses which they were reported to have taken over. Such actions result from unfulfilled promises. Upgrading of Hostels One other issue that worries the IFP relates to the issue of hostels. Hon. Speaker, we all know that conditions in hostels make these areas not fit to be occupied by human beings. In fact these places of residence still resemble filthy ghettos which colonial and apartheid regimes had put up with a view to dehumanize the conquered. The violence that we witness in some hostels is, to an extent, the aftermaths of decades of such dehumanization. The sooner we deal decisively with these issues, the better for the whole country. Land Parcels Another similarly volatile issue is that of land. The report accuses the Department of not moving on the number of land parcels devolved to municipalities. As we know the matter of land is a time-bomb, in particular as multitudes of our people continue to flood the cities such as eThekwini in search of better opportunities. However, the report also fingers the State Attorney's Office as also having something to do with this matter. We therefore wish to urge the State Attorney’s Office ensure that it plays the ball with the Department in as far as this matter is concerned. CONCLUSION Hon. Speaker in conclusion, I wish to once again register the IFP’s support of this report. Lastly, on behalf of the IFP, I wish to record gratitude to our Chairperson, Hon. Important Mkhize and my Colleagues in the Human Settlements Committee as well as the Officials who support us. In this Committee we are all like a family that is guided by a single mission to serve the people of this Province. I am happy to be part of this team.