Housing Department chronically under-delivers – Makashule Gana

Money is spent but targets are not met, says party

Department’s under delivery on targets could have housed 80,000 South Africans

15 October 2015

The Department of Human Settlements (DoHS) Director General, Mr Mbulelelo Tshangana, revealed this week, in Parliament, that only 95 000 of the planned target of 112 600 houses were delivered, leaving 17 000 houses undelivered and 63 000 people without decent housing. A further 17,000 people were left unhoused when the Department wasted R775 million on rectifying houses they had previously built improperly, this amount could have built 4,700 new houses.

In the past 21 years, the DoHS has chronically under delivered on its mandate to deliver durable and dignified houses. The under delivery of houses is most likely attributable to shoddy financial management within the DoHS leading to a depleted budget but nowhere near enough houses being delivered.

I will therefore request the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA), Themba Godi, to summon both the Minister of Home Settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu and Mr Tshangana to reveal their remedial actions in order to fulfill the ongoing shortage of housing in South Africa and the reasons from such discrepancies in the money spent and the lack of targets met. SCOPA is empowered to do so to ascertain whether all the correct processes were followed and consistent with the PFMA.

The Minister and her Department must also account for why they are repeatedly under-delivering despite having enough money to provide settlements where necessary. The existing housing policy still does not cater adequately for those in the “gap” market, with incomes too low for a bond, and too high for a free house. We need to reform policy and cut red tape if this sector is to deliver on its mandate.

It is obvious Minister Sisulu and her Department do not have enough political will to address the severe indignity and suffering that poor South Africans have to endure because of their mistakes and inaction.

Furthermore, the performance of informal settlement upgrades is dismal, of the 150 000 households set as the target to be upgraded, only 74 000 upgrades were delivered, a success rate of 49% - a fail by any standards. When I attend the Portfolio Committee yesterday the excuse given was that there was more than 100 vacancies in the Department still to be filled. Firstly, this is deplorable given that unemployment in South Africa is egregiously high, secondly, the Department has the funds to hire more employees and deliver on more housing units. They choose to not do either.

Since 1994 the housing backlog has increased from 1.5 million to 2.1 million units, while the number of informal settlements has gone up from 300 to 2 225, an increase of 650%.

Minister Sisulu needs to be held to account for why the lack of housing in the country is getting worse, she needs to give a clear plan of action that will end the indignity of being homeless in South Africa.

The DA believes that housing policy should make it affordable for South Africans to have the dignity of a home, regardless of their income bracket. We will fight tirelessly to ensure, those in need are not left homeless due to the governments inaction and negligence.

Statement issued by Makashule Gana, DA Shadow Minister of Human Settlements, 15 October 2015