Gauteng Department of Human Settlements in disarray

Madam Speaker,

The Department of Human Settlements in Gauteng is in perpetual decline.

Systemic lack of capacitation, under performance and most noticeably, insignificant political or operational accountability has left the department rudderless and floundering. 

This scenario has manifested itself in institutionalized under spending, underreporting and the failure to complete projects.

Regular changes in middle and senior management prevents the department from making any sustainable progress in delivering its core mandate as directed in sections 10 and 26 of the Constitution.

The introduction of the promised turnaround strategy has little chance of succeeding whilst the MEC fails to adequately identify the issues and hold officials accountable. 

The health of the department has steadily weakened since 2014. Its greatest ill being its inability to spend its grants and budget allocations resulting in the return of nearly R2 billion to the National Treasury in the last 3 years.

Each year since 2014, I have had the opportunity to test the performance of the Gauteng Human Settlements Department under the leadership of successive MECs; this by measuring such performance against the constitutional obligations which the department needs to comply with and to utilize previous year’s performance as a yardstick for improvement and success.

I regret to inform this House that the department has been in accelerated decline for the last 7 years, with little indication that positive change is imminent.

One of the Gauteng department’s primary goals is “to promote and facilitate the provision of adequate housing in the province”.

It is very apparent from the annual report that the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements has no effective and workable plan; to ascertain what the problems are that exist, to measure the extent of the intervention necessary to put in place rectification and other necessary measures to deal with the challenges, to effectively prioritize and utilize the funds available in a responsible manner or to implement and monitor the intended rectification programmes.

Although more than 1.5 million homes have been provided since 1994, 2 million are still required and the number of informal settlements have more than doubled since 1996 with the number now in excess of 1000 in Gauteng.

On an overall assessment, the following challenges preventing service delivery are evident.


A very unsatisfactory practice has gained momentum in the last few years where projects are left vacant, abandoned and unfinished by contractors resulting in massive plundering and theft, not only of windows and doors, but brick and mortar and foundations, resulting in huge financial losses to the department and the taxpayer. The department has indicated that there are more than 300 unfinished projects in Gauteng.  No implementable solution has been received by the department to present a reliable and sustainable plan to solve this problem.


The condition of most hostels in the province including the Madala and Women’s hostel in Alexandra, the Wattville hostel in Ekurhuleni, and the Diepkloof hostel in Soweto are examples of complete neglect and an uncaring government. The department continues to fail to carry out any upgrading or maintenance with no accountability for nonperformance. Despite promises being made from year to year, these hostels continue to deteriorate to the point where living conditions are inhumane and degrading. 

The state of disrepair continues to perpetuate a humanitarian crisis where conditions are appalling, and sanitation is almost nonexistent.


The need for level 3 accreditation to our municipalities in Gauteng remains a priority. For as long as the powers that wield funding in the province remain with the provincial government, our metros in Gauteng remain under capacitated and subject to arbitrary restrictions being imposed on them by the provincial government. This is preventing the roll out of much needed new developments.


The failure to find a solution to the continual strain placed on those living in our informal settlements due to the under capacitated infrastructure caused by massive in–migration and the shortage of funds is indicative of an administration with no plans or ideas of how to provide a solution to this problem.


Although the MEC has indicated on more than one occasion the department’s intention to introduce a process of the formalization of Informal Settlements, no tangible progress has been made with in situ upgrading which is a pre-cursor to formalization. The failure to find a solution to this challenge will perpetuate the increase of informal settlements.


With Covid-19 forced upon us, it was hoped that the intended de-densification programme would introduce a period of relaxation of overcrowding and better living conditions.  Regrettably, very little has transpired with the TRA programme or any sustainable relocation of home dwellers.


In 2014 the introduction of Mega Projects by the Premier was foreseen as a panacea towards the reduction of the huge backlog in housing delivery by the department and the housing solution for the future. None of the intended targets have been achieved.


This is a further inability of the department to deliver its targeted handing over of serviced stands to beneficiaries due to failures in planning and alleged operational reasons.


Despite war being declared by the Premier and the MEC against land invasions, no effective plan has been found to deal with and prevent the invasions or with the provision of housing for the home seekers themselves. The inability to deal with this issue will perpetuate civil unrest and accelerated land grabs,


The systemic underspending by the department in almost all projects is a stark indication of how dysfunctional the department is. The fact that there is no operational accountability for this betrayal to our citizens is most telling.

There is also uncertainty regarding the late allocation of R100m to the Human Settlements budget without the necessary explanation being given. We await more particulars in this regard.


The inability of the provincial government to accelerate the delivery of long-awaited title deeds continues to fuel dissatisfaction and frustration in areas where security of tenure was promised. Very little progress has been made in accelerating this process. 


Progress with the delivery of improved living conditions in the Urban Renewal Projects for the residents in Bekkersdal, Winterveld and Alexandra remains slow and erratic.

Regarding Alexandra, I have on three occasions in this House, appealed to the Premier to find a solution to resolving the impasse created by the court interdict (in place since 2005) and the failure to implement the Statement of Intent due to the inability to procure the required funding. This project, once the intended example of how we as a nation would uplift the living conditions of our poorest citizens, has become a huge disappointment and embarrassment. Hon. Premier and MEC, surely you can do better?

In a recent Human Settlements committee workshop, the MEC was challenged to indicate how the turnaround strategy with regard to the completion of projects would be implemented. The MEC accepted the challenge, and we await his plan together with targets and timelines.

Madam Speaker, 

A further point of concern are more than 1.25 million households in Gauteng who live in backyard or secondary dwellings units. It must be an urgent imperative that alternative accommodation be found to relieve the pressure on the crowded living conditions caused by increased in-migration and the difficulties caused by informality of shack and secondary dwellers.

The lack of commitment, discipline, accountability and diligence within the department, particularly with regard to the failure to reach targets, will cause the rapid decline of service delivery to accelerate and place the future viability and credibility of the department at huge risk.

As with previous annual reports, it is lacking in imagination, failing in policy implementation, its priorities confused, and contains little vision or planning.

Gauteng Department of COGTA has eroded the state of Gauteng municipalities

Madam Speaker,

The Gauteng Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) is a consistent poor performer, and incapable of delivering its core mandate to the residents of Gauteng.

The department received an annual allocation of R562.2 million in the 2019/20 financial year and have underspent across all its programmes by R66.5 million.

The department has underspent by R16 million in Programme 1; Administration, underspent R4.1 million on Programme 2: Local Governance, further underspending of R43.2 million on Programme 3: Development Planning, and R3.1 million on Programme 4: Traditional Institutional Management.

Under expenditure by this department was also noted in the previous financial year which is as a result of a lack of planning and management skills.

It is shocking that CoGTA consistently underspends on its allocated budget, yet many of our municipalities are in financial distress and in desperate need of financial assistance to provide much needed services.

CoGTA has dismally failed to provide adequate support to our municipalities, some of which have been embattled by financial challenges and are failing to render day-to-day services to its own people. The ANC-led local and district municipalities in Gauteng are in dire need of assistance from this department such as Emfuleni, Merafong, Mogale City, Lesedi, Sedibeng and West Rand District.

According to the annual report, the department did not achieve its target to support Emfuleni Municipality with repairs and maintenance on sewer pump stations. 

This was due to CoGTA’s failure to finalise arrangements in time for the transfer of funds to the implementing agent. 

This is yet another failure by this department under the political leadership of MEC Maile who has led to exacerbating the crisis in Emfuleni and the prolonging of the suffering of the residents. 

The administrators are also failing to rescue Emfuleni from a financial crisis and to deliver services to the residents.

The money that has been underspent by this department could have been used to assist Emfuleni to pay debt owed to Rand Water. Emfuleni is currently experiencing water shortages as Rand Water has further imposed water supply reductions as a credit control measure.

Service delivery has completely collapsed in Emfuleni under the watch of these administrators yet this department that has a mandate to assist this municipality is failing to address the repair of the sewer infrastructure in the municipality.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has released a report of the Gauteng Provincial inquiry into the Sewage Problem of the Vaal River. The report highlights the need for an urgent and comprehensive intervention, over and above the current section 139 intervention by the Gauteng Provincial Government. In terms of short-term intervention, the SAHRC recommends that the National Department of Human Settlements and Sanitation and the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements and COGTA, together with experienced wastewater management specialists and the Treasury Department, draw up a cost-effective interim plan to urgently stop or limit the flow of sewage in the streets and homes of people living in Emfuleni.

We will be closely monitoring the progress with regards to the short-term interventions as this department consistently fails to prioritize this sewer problem in Emfuleni that has been in existence for years.

Madam Speaker,

Furthermore, this department did not achieve its target to assess the municipalities for the functionality of statutory council committees. These committees play a crucial role in terms of oversight and holding the executive into account.

The department is quick to lay the blame at the door of municipalities for not spending their allocated grants as well as not doing enough to remedy the situations arising, yet are consistently incapable of responding timeously to issues raised thereby placing municipalities in an untenable position. CoGTA requires a strong co-operation between the province and the respective municipalities.

The ANC-led Gauteng administration have nothing to be proud of as far as support for local municipalities is concerned. 

The ANC-led Gauteng administration made a drastic decision to place Tshwane under-administration which they did, and were later embarrassed by a court of law when the Gauteng High Court reversed this unlawful dissolution. 

It seems like the ANC did not learn from the Tshwane saga, now instead of placing Sedibeng District Municipality under administration as recommended by Advocate William Mokhari, they have opted to ignore such crucial recommendations and went on to appoint the compromised former Lesedi Mayor, Lerato Maloka as the new mayor for Sedibeng District Municipality.

Clearly, the ANC-led Gauteng Government is desperate to cling on power at the expense of the poor residents of Sedibeng who are in dire need of basic service delivery.

Madam Speaker,

There was money allocated to each municipality across the country by the National Treasury as part of the Covid-19 relief package. To date there is no feedback on how each municipality in Gauteng spent the money and there is also no breakdown in terms of how much money was allocated to each municipality.

There are some cases which were opened as a result of mismanagement of the Covid-19 relief package such as the City of Tshwane, then under administration of the ANC-led Gauteng Provincial Government, which was invoiced R82 million for catering services at homeless shelters. An internal report leaked to the DA indicated that the “charges per invoice was grossly overstated, the food is the equivalent to 5-star executive and luxurious catering”. Mismanagement by officials created a “field of pillage”.

The public deserve to know what happened to this case as well as how many more such cases occurred if the details of municipal Covid-related transactions are made available.

Madam Speaker, in March last year when the ANC-led Gauteng Government disbanded the Tshwane Council and placed the municipality under administration, there was no Eskom debt, an unqualified audit outcome for the last financial year, an operating surplus, and a two-notch credit upgrade from Moody’s.

In May last year, two months after the lockdown, the administrators approved for public comment a city budget that was underfunded by at least R2 billion. The DA has inherited mess from the ANC-led administrator which clearly indicates that ANC is no longer fit to govern Gauteng.

Most of our municipalities are under severe stress, and this should be a cause for major concern for this department. CoGTA consistently fails to spend on allocated budget, lacks commitment in terms of achieving its targets and fails to prioritize.

This department is an absolute disaster, the MEC is not committed to improve service delivery to the people of Gauteng, he is very decisive when engaging with the media and the public but is failing to hold the senior managers to account. 

Instead of calling councillors ugly names in this House, MEC Maile should rather commit to avoiding another taxpayer-funded disaster of a Tshwane Council dissolution, and start assisting those municipalities that have almost reached the brink of total collapse, courtesy of the poor leadership of his own party. 

I thank you.

Bronkhorstspruit Hospital beds to be completed soon

The 150 new beds sponsored by BMW at the Bronkhorstspruit Hospital in east Gauteng will be completed with full equipment on 27 March this year.

This information was provided by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in an oral reply to my questions today at a sitting of the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Mokgethi, the extra beds are needed for a local population of 239 000, including patients using the major roads from Mpumulanga.

A total of 68 staff are being recruited for the extra beds.

It is welcome news that these beds will shortly be available for use, but the real need was earlier this year when the second wave of Covid-19 cases hit the city of Tshwane.

The Bronkhorstspruit beds were meant to be ready in mid-December last year, but a local dispute delayed the construction and the Gauteng Premier’s Office had to intervene to settle it.

Only 75 of the 300 extra beds promised for the Jubilee Hospital were available for Covid-19 patients at that time.

The Steve Biko Hospital, meanwhile, had to set up tents in the parking lot to cope with the flood of patients.

The greater need for extra beds is really at the Mamelodi hospital which is under great strain.

I hope that all the promised extra beds in the Tshwane area are ready and able to deal with any further surges in Covid-19 cases.

Active citizenry in Eldorado Park combatting vandalism of streetlights

I commend the residents of Eldorado Park for being active citizens in the fight against vandalism in their suburb, which is robbing them of working streetlights and making crime worse.

Residents in Ward 18 have had several meetings with City Power who have told residents that they will not fix streetlights in Eldorado Park because they will be vandalised shortly after being repaired. Residents have responded by electing representatives from each extension to organise street patrols which work closely with community organisations and the local SAPS to combat this problem.

Despite this proactive attempt to fix one of the problems in their neighbourhood and contribute towards better public safety, City Power are still refusing to engage with residents to find solutions to streetlight vandalism. I have written to the MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services, Cllr Mpho Moerane, to meet with residents to acknowledge their determination and to assist in finding a solution together. I await his response, intervention, and will share this with residents.

One resident commented to me that “there are no proper services in Eldos – everything is a temporary fix”, which sadly I have to agree with. Over the past two weeks I’ve had to follow up on issues where contractors come out to fix something but either due to poor workmanship or vandalism they are back in a few days to fix it again.

The DA will continue to assist residents of Eldorado Park to receive the services that they deserve, and will provide effective representation until a new Ward Councillor is elected i the forthcoming by-election.

Gauteng Roads and Transport Department underspent by R637 million in 2019/20, while road infrastructure continues crumbling with potholes

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will be engaging the MEC for Roads and Transport, Jacob Mamabolo regarding the gross underspending by the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport during the 2019/20 financial year budget.   

This information was revealed in the Department’s annual report, where, according to the Auditor-General, the material underspending for the Department amounted to R637 million.   

This has resulted in a 77% increase in underspending compared to the previous financial year, where the department underspent by R359,6 million.  It is concerning to note that some of the underspending occurred in the Transport Infrastructure programme to the tune of R81 million. According to the annual report, there was underspending on construction as a result of service providers not being appointed as planned due to unanticipated challenges during the tender process, and the construction of a road not proceeding due to land grabbing.   

Furthermore, this Department has also failed to meet its target of 11 designs to be completed for the 2019/20 financial year due to delays in the appointment of the probity auditors and probity audit processes. In addition, the target of creating 250 Expanded Public Works Programme jobs was not met where the Department only managed to create 62.   

Some of the key causes of this under expenditure is failure in the supply chain management process that awards tenders and thus delays projects and resultant expenditure. Non-performing contractors further exacerbates the problem. Not only does this lead to delays in the road construction programme of the province but is also over-inflates the price tag for delayed projects.

Material underspending by this Department has resulted in further decline in the quality of the province’s roads. Ensuring that roads are well maintained is important if the Department is committed to seeing a reduction in road accidents and fatalities. This underspending could also lead to the Department losing more money when the new budget is allocated after failing to spend the total of their previous budget.

Underspending by this Department is now becoming the norm. Political leadership is vital to steer the Department in the right direction so that road infrastructure service delivery can be effectively and optimally rolled out.




Klipspruit West and Eldorado Park residents left without water for over 48 hours

Residents of Klipspruit West and Eldorado Park Extension 9 were without running water from 11:00 on 15 March for over 48 hours. Learners lost valuable school time and local businesses lost revenue due to a lack of care from Joburg Water.

There has been no maintenance on a leaking water pipe which supplies these areas, compounded by the constant power outages that residents and businesses have to endure. It took 24 hours for Joburg Water to dispatch a water tanker and a single Jojo tank to an area of Klipspruit West, which was insufficient to address the needs of this area.

Joburg Water cannot give a clear answer as to when a permanent solution to the problem will be provided, which violates the human rights of residents. The DA through the Ward 11 Branch will be supporting the community’s calls for vital upgrades to their water network, and urgent repairs to the Nancefield sewer pump station which is is in desperate need of maintenance and repair.

Residents deserve a caring City that puts their needs first and delivers quality services which respect their human rights.

PPP needed for Manie Mulder Adventure Park to prevent further drownings

We would like to express our sincere condolences to the family of the person who drowned at the Manie Mulder Adventure Park in Roodepoort. This is the fourth drowning in the past few months, and we call on the City to put a clear plan in place to prevent further tragedies. This is particularly important with the upcoming Easter long weekend which will see a greater number of religious activities and attendees at the facility.

To date the MMC for Community Development, Cllr Margaret Arnolds, has ignored requests for details about the number of drownings at this facility, and has failed to come up with any clear plan to prevent further drownings. Proper security measures would go a long way in controlling access and ensuring proper supervision around the water, but the department has consistently failed to spend its security budget.

The DA strongly supports a plan for a Public-Private Partnership to help run and maintain this facility, which would have brought all interested parties together to realise the full potential of the park and make it a source of pride for the local community. This would have included residents groups (friends of facilities), NGOs, religious organisations, and traditional healers. There should be education around conservation in this protected area so that it can be preserved and enjoyed for generations to come. We also need properly trained park rangers who can help to control access and stay alert to potential dangers to visitors.

We would like to urge visitors visiting the Manie Mulder Adventure Park not to swim after dark or at midnight, and to adhere to the times allowed to enter the park during the upcoming Easter long weekend.

Joburg Mayor on deadline to respond on cadre recruitment

City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Cllr Geoff Makhubo, has failed to respond to the 11 March letter concerning the increase in the number of political staff and the irregular decision to make them all permanent. He has now received a formal legal request from the DA’s attorneys for all details relating to this matter to be provided by the close of business on 19 March.

When the ANC took over the City on 29 November 2019, they immediately set about swelling the political offices with loyal cadres to reward their alliance partners and provide jobs for pals. The Mayor’s Office increased from 38 staff under the DA to over 100, while MMC offices doubled from five to ten. All of these staff are on higher pay grades despite lacking the required qualifications. These include MK veterans and former ANC and PA councillors who didn’t make it back into Council.

The excuse given by the Mayor’s Spokesperson that this is to pr The excuse given by the Mayor’s Spokesperson that this is to provide job security to young, junior staff, doesn’t
hold water. No other branch of government in the country employs political staff on a permanent basis, and anyone employed to support politicians signs their contract knowing fully that their employment is tied to the term of office of their political principal. The Mayor cannot expect us to believe that a Deputy Director on a R870 000 annual salary is a junior staff member.

The further claim that the Mayor has the power to effect this decision also goes against the Municipal Systems Act, and the City’s own policies on staff recruitment. There is no proof that the former City Manager, Dr Ndivhoniswani Lukhwareni, approved the additional staff, though it does perhaps account for why an “arrangement” was made for him to leave so abruptly. With the City Manager out of the way and Council not been given the opportunity to appoint an acting City Manager, the Mayor is free to do as he pleases.

Residents of Johannesburg can count on the DA to fight this issue and ensure that their money is spent on deserving, dedicated people that put service delivery to residents first.

Judge appointed for Esidimeni inquest but no date as yet

 A judge has been appointed to preside over the inquest into 144 deaths of mental health patients, but no date has been set as this is yet to be determined by the Director of Public Prosecutions. 

This has been revealed by Gauteng Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

 According to Mazibuko:

“The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development directed that a joint formal inquest must be held in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. The Judge President appointed a judge for the inquest. All evidential material was put at her disposal. A date for the inquest must still be determined.”

I welcome the appointment of a judge in this matter, but more progress needs to be made to ensure justice for the victims.

This case has dragged on for nearly five years since the deaths of the mental patients. I hope a date for the inquest is set soon so charges can be brought against the perpetrators and they are punished by the court. 


45 computers seized from Boipatong Monument by sub-contractor due to non-payment of services rendered

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is calling on both the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR) and the Department of Infrastructure Development and Property Management (DID) to open a criminal case against the main contractor after the sub-contractor seized 45 computers belonging to the Boipatong Monument and Youth Centre due to non-payment of services rendered. 

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for SACR, Mbali Hlophe in a written reply to the DA’s questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature. 

According to MEC Hlophe, Mpho Mnisi was sub-contracted by the main contractor to render services at the Boipatong Monument and Youth Centre in Vanderbijlpark. 

It is alleged that Mnisi was not paid by the main contractor in 2015, and subsequently in 2016, took 45 computers from Boipatong Monument due to non-payment of services.

The computers that were taken by Mnisi were procured by the main contractor as part of the contract. 

 MEC Hlophe states that the DID was supposed to lay charges with the SAPS on the main contractor, however, to date no case has been opened. 

This is absolutely unacceptable and a total waste of taxpayer’s money, and clearly indicates the DID and SACR’s incompetence when it comes to managing infrastructure projects across the province. 

Furthermore, the Boipatong Monument and Youth Centre is still not fully operational despite being completed in November 2015. The three-year delay in the completion of this project has had a financial impact as the initial budget of R32.5 million accrued to R35,1 million.  

Even though this facility is not fully operational, the Gauteng Department of SACR continues to transfer the operational grant to the Sedibeng District Municipality. This raises questions about the funds allocated for this facility and how the money is being spent. 

The DA will write to the Gauteng Premier, David Makhura calling for an urgent intervention to ascertain why the Boipatong Monument and Youth Centre is still incomplete and why the DID and SACR have not opened a case against the main contractor, and when these computers will be recovered.