Debate on Human Settlements

Apr 26, 2023 | Speeches

By
Hon. TJ Gumede, IFP MPL
KZN Legislature

Hon. Speaker,
Hon. Leader of the Official Opposition,
Members of the Executive,
Hon. Members,

The IFP supports the R4.3 billion Budget for the 2023/24 Financial Year.

Adequate housing is an important basic human right in the Constitution and international human rights instruments. Kodwa kuyishwa ukuthi namhlanje sizokhuluma ngesabelo-zimali soMnyango weZokuhlaliswa kwabantu kodwa uNgqongqoshe walomnyango kuZwelonke usubhalele uMkhandlu weTheku oholwa uKhongolose incwadi ukuthi awubuyise uR100million ohluleke ukusebenzisa ukuqeda Izakhiwo [Informal Settlements]

Out of 22 Informal Settlements to be upgraded in eThekwini alone, only two have been upgraded to Phase 3, and the target is two for the outer years, okusho ukuthi iningi labantu loze life lihlala kulezizimo ezingagculisi.

FLOOD VICTIMS
Hon. CQ Madlopha correctly pointed out that it is exactly a year since the devastating floods, a year of uncertainty, a year of pain and suffering of the victims, and a year of accumulating problems for the affected families. Kumanje kusenabantu abahlala emafulethini okungaziwa ukuthi bayokwakhelwa nini, Inkinga akukhona ukuthi bahlala emafulethini, but the conditions under which they live.

Hon. Speaker, it was in this House, where we were assured by the Premier that flood victims will be taken out of the halls, that they will have an enjoyable Christmas with their families. What we were not told, is that they were being taken from a bad to a worse scenario. Victims from three halls, V-Umlazi, Isipingo and Zwelisha, are crammed in a flat at Mahatma Gandhi Road in eThekwini. Husbands are separated from their wives; one mother is living with her 23yr old male twins, she can hardly bath or dress herself; five to six families live in one room, into ebuhlungu engachazeki (the evidence is here). Their children who attended school were promised to be placed in certain schools, which never happened. Learners travel from town to Umlazi, parents moved away from their livelihood.

All this under a so-called ‘caring government’. Disaster backlogs are accumulating on top of another. October 2017-2019, 2019-2020 – the latter had a budget allocation of R397 million that was underspent; then the April 2022 floods, now the Dakota Informal Settlement burnout.

Somlomo – at some point, this House will need to have a projector so the House can be shown facts from fiction. We have evidence for our debate, yet people come here and act arrogantly and are opinionated – despite the suffering of the black people, who voted them into power with the hope of better life. Now you are saying to them, we will do things for you at our own pace and in our own time, nina lindani nje niphinde niyovota, even if you die living in squalor, fine, we are your bosses.

Madam Speaker, perhaps it will be proper to remind this House that Section 26 of the Constitution mandates the State to achieve the progressive realisation of the right to adequate housing, so these people are not begging for a favour, it’s their Constitutional right.

Senifuna baye eNkantolo bayofuna ilungelo labo nabakuthenjiswa okungafezeki? i IFP yakwenza ngeNevaripine nalokhu isengakwenza. Akuqali ngoKhongolose ukwakhiwa kwezindlu, abanye benu bakhulele khona la koMasshu, Mlazi etc. and those houses still exist. Alingabi bikho ihhaba lokuthi niqhamuke nezinto ezintsha, it is the duty of every ruling government to be innovative and improve on what they took over from previous governments, not to run them down. All we need from our government is to be timeous in executing its mandate, be qualitative, get value for money, and be compassionate.

VACANT POSTS
A lot has been said about the delays in filling of vacant posts, which is a cause for concern. The IFP notes that the Department incurred the over-expenditure of R2,406 million under Programme 1, and under-expenditure of the same amount in Programme 4.

2023/24 BUDGET ALLOCATION
We note that the Department of Human Settlements will spend R11 billion over the next three years on various infrastructure projects. This is commendable. Further, we welcome the allocation of R7.7 million under EPWP Intergrated Grant for Provinces. Loluhlelo akulona ke Hon Members lokukhansela ukhetho ngokuthi kunikwe imisebenzi amavolontiya- kaKhongolose. A R106.392 Provincial Emergency Grant, is also welcomed, though it is less compared to what was previously spent. We call upon the Department to ensure that Grants that are allocated to projects be spent fully.

This current Budget, based on “CARING GOVERNMENT” should be able to deal with many issues:

INCOMPLETE HOUSING PROJECTS
We are concerned about the delayed housing projects. Thubalethu Melmoth Housing Project started in 2011, and cost R168 million. Only 270 houses were completed out of 600; other houses have been vandalised. Esifundeni uGu KwaDweshula eNkosini uCele, Inkosi uHadebe eNkwazi, eNhlangwini kanye nakwaNhlalwane abakaze bakhelwe izindlu ababethenjiswe zona. Izindlu eziningi kwagcinwa ngokwakhiwa kwezilebhu kwashiywa kanjalo ngabo 2007. Abantu babezisholo bona nangesikhathi kuhleli uMkhandlu weZifundazwe (NCOP) oGwini ngonyaka odlule. Nangakubo kaMEC uKhoza eSpringvalley kumasipala Ubuhlebezwe azikho izindlu zomxhaso, eMntungwana, kaNtshengula njalo njalo.

Further, in different municipalities, such as uLundi, people are still waiting for houses as the Department is taking time to approve housing projects. The following projects are still waiting approval:

  1. The Mbatha Rural Housing Project is awaiting approval by the Department of Human Settlements, with a budget allocation of R3 086 746.
  2. The Nobamba Rural Housing Project is waiting for approval by the Department of Human Settlements, with a budget allocation of R3 086 740. The Stage 2 application was completed and submitted to the Department in 2022.
  3. The Emphithimphithi Rural Project is waiting for approval by the Department of Human Settlements, with a budget allocation of R3 086 740 and the application progress was completed and submitted to the Department in 2022.
  4. The Ndebele Rural Housing Project Stage 2 is yet to be completed, with a budget allocation of R3 086 740. The Stage 2 application is not yet completed because the DRA application is not yet approved; the implementing agents are Mashi-mollo.
  5. In uMsinga Ezimbomvini Housing Project, which has been under construction for more than 10 years. The Project was going to build 500 units. The contract of the service provider was terminated in 2020, due to poor performance, with 77 houses outstanding.

UNGATHEMBISI UMA UNGEZUKWENZA
Mhlonishwa Mahlaba, asingafani nezingane ezinobaba oyibhantshi nje kodwa ebe engekho, comes home hides behind the newspaper and locks himself in the study room without any guidance to his children, zonke lezinto ngabe azizi la ukube sibanawe emhlanganweni, ngabe sithi uMEC wathi; sesincamela nalaba abafike basidelele emakomitini, sebekhohliwe Somlomo ukuthi we are not in the Chamber, nami ngingasho nje engikucabangayo ngaye iQembu leNkatha lifuna ukuzwa ukuthi zonke lezindlu esengizibalile zizoqedelwa nini, nokuthi Iziphi izinyathelo ezizothathelwa izinkampani ezashiya izilebhu kuphela Ogwini ezizweni eziningi zaMakhosi?

OPERATION SUKUMA SAKHE
The IFP fully supports the Operation Sukuma Sakhe Programme. However, it is concerned that this Programme has been turned into an ANC machine to garner votes, not to deliver services to the people. We always question why members of the different political parties represented in the KZN Legislature are excluded from these so-called Operation Sukuma Sakhe Izimbizos if they are government events, and not for the ANC only. This Programme has failed to meet its targets. As we speak, in uMsinga, there is a housing project that is more than two years old. The service provider was appointed to build 215 houses; 107 houses are still outstanding. Nisuke nibathembiselani abantu izindlu uma ekugcineni ningeke nibakhele?

INCOMPETENT CONTRACTORS
The IFP supports the empowerment of emerging contractors. However, we remain concerned about houses that are reportedly standing empty, especially in the light of the huge demand for housing. It has become a national trend that houses are rapidly deteriorating due to poor workmanship, and it is an indication that there is a lack of project monitoring. We heard that government is helping to build capacity of local emerging contractors so that they become competitive both locally and globally. But we urge the Department to dispatch project managers – who are not corruptible – to help emerging contractors Uma izinkontilaki ezinikwe umsebenzi zingawuqedi kufanele ziyibuyise imali ezisuke sezikhokhelwe yona. Ukwehluleka kwezinkampani kukhomba ngokusobala ukuthi ukhona umkhonyovu owenzeka ngesikhathi kukhishwa amathenda. Ilapho ke okungena khona ukudliwa kwemali.

AUDIT REPORT
It is shameful that the Department is still riddled with corruption. Five investigations were conducted by the shared forensic audit unit in the province, covering the period March 2010 to March 2022. These investigations related to procurement irregularities and alleged fraud and corruption. Two investigations were completed, and three investigations are still in progress. The IFP is concerned about the delay in finalising investigations. Officials who are colluding with service providers in the awarding of tenders must be sent to jail. Abantu abangaze basule emsebenzini noma bahambe bayosebenza kweminye iminyango lokhu okubizwa ngokuthi “ukushaya isidudla” bengakajeziswa.

Lastly, we welcome the installation of solar panels on RDP houses, as it is evident that we are going to be living with loadshedding for quite some time in the future. My disclaimer…

I thank you.

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