The Gauteng housing unit waiting-list has exceeded a million. Our people are in dire need of dignified housing, yet Premier David Makhura continues to make false promises during his State of the Province Address (SOPA) yesterday, while he is aware that his government is not capable of building houses for its residents.
This is an insult to our people that are dependent on the government to provide housing. Many Gauteng residents are forced to continue to live in inhumane, unsanitary, and appalling living conditions yet those that are supposed to deliver services live comfortably.
In his SOPA speech, Premier Makhura promised to clear the title deeds backlog by 2024, including issuing 44,339 new title deeds to beneficiaries of current housing projects. This is just another empty promise as the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements has never achieved any of its targets of handing out title deeds since Premier Makhura was elected to office in 2014.
In terms of the Rapid Land Release Programme, Premier Makhura stated that in addition to the 1610 sites that they have allocated, they have also acquired an additional 12 000 stands to be allocated to beneficiaries. This programme remains a pipe dream that will never materialise as there are no figures in terms of the people that have benefited as well as the intended beneficiaries.
In his speech, Premier Makhura promised to deliver an inclusive mega housing development, fast-track the delivery of urban renewal projects, complete incomplete housing projects and provide service sites for people to build houses themselves.
These are the same empty promises that he made before that will never happen. There are many incomplete and completed housing projects that are still standing empty and have not been allocated. Several completed and unoccupied housing units across the province have been illegally invaded and some have been vandalised. The illegal occupants are costing the department more money in terms of legal fees for eviction orders, eviction processes as well as repairs for the damages.
Premier Makhura promised to deliver a mega housing development, the same promise he made in 2018 that a total of 31 new mega settlement projects have been approved for all the five development corridors of the Gauteng City Region. Premier Makhura promised that the mega housing projects will yield more than 700 000 housing opportunities over five years. The Housing Mega projects have been blocked by red tape and contractors not finishing projects on time and within budget.
All the promises that Premier Makhura made to the people of Gauteng with regards to housing have not happened. The hostel redevelopment plan and formalisation of informal settlements only exists on paper while our people continue to suffer a lack of basic services.
The only solution for the housing crisis in Gauteng is for both Premier Makhura and MEC Maile to publicly acknowledge the crisis the department finds itself in, take responsibility for its failures, and then set in motion a workable and implementable turnaround strategy together with timelines for holding officials accountable. This will ensure that the department’s budget is spent, and houses are delivered to those that need them the most.
I challenge Premier Makhura to come along with the Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements and COGTA, Lebogang Maile to show me all the work they have promised and have done for the people of Gauteng.
Premier Makhura’s government has failed to build houses – it’s high time that they admit it. The DA will continue to put pressure on both MEC Maile and Premier Makhura to ensure that the department’s budget is fully spent, and housing projects are properly monitored to yield houses.