NATIONAL ASSEMBLY TUESDAY, 18 MAY MINI PLENARIES (VIRTUAL) 14:00 – 16:15 Vote 33: Human Settlements

Hon. SA Buthelezi

 

Honourable Speaker,

The IFP has consistently raised the problematic and slow pace of implementation of projects by this Department. In November 2020, the country’s estimated housing backlog stood at 2.6 million. This is a devastating state of affairs, with some families waiting over 15 years to receive adequate housing. The Department is failing dismally at meeting its constitutional mandate to ensure access to adequate housing for all, and as a result, the Department is failing to guarantee dignity and security to the most vulnerable members of our communities.

Honourable Members, at this point, with such an excessive backlog, it is difficult to attribute this failure to a simple lack of resources. This backlog speaks to an unsustainable and ineffective system of delivery that needs a massive overhaul, immediately. Further, as a result of Cabinetapproved budget reductions of R14.6 billion over the MTEF period, the Department’s allocation will decrease at an average annual rate of 1.1%. These reductions will largely impact conditional grants to provinces and metropolitan cities for the development of housing and related infrastructure, due to government’s imperative to reduce public spending. Once again, our indigent will bear the brunt.

The IFP remains concerned by the lack of attention paid to our people’s living and housing conditions. The lack of implementation and accountability have been exposed by the lockdown regulations and the requirements to keep our people safe during the pandemic.

According to Statistics South Africa’s 2018 General Household Survey, 14% of South African households are in informal settlements. As a means to address these living conditions, the IFP welcomes the Department’s plan to upgrade informal settlements to provide security of tenure and basic services to poor and under-serviced households.

In 2019, President Ramaphosa announced the establishment of the Human Settlements Development Bank. The aim of this Bank is to expand the delivery of houses in the country, with a target of 500 000 houses by 2024. According to the most recent reports, the establishment of this bank is at an advanced stage, which hopefully means that more South Africans will have secure and adequate housing. While the IFP welcomes this development, it remains to be seen whether it will alleviate the backlog with expedience, or be marred by scandal, as with other financial initiatives.

The IFP wishes to reiterate its stance on the apparent abolishment of the Title Deeds Restoration Grant. The decrease in funding is worrying, as there is still a major backlog of title deeds that need to be issued. Some of our citizens have passed away without receiving their title deeds, affecting the lives of their dependants. The previous and current pace at which the Department is working is unacceptable. We once again call for this title deed programme to meet all its targets and put this issue to rest over the next two years.

The IFP Supports the Budget.

I thank you.