Delays in in-situ upgrades to informal settlements force residents to live in appalling conditions

The unnecessary delays by the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) in implementing the in-situ upgrades to informal settlements forces residents to continue to live in inhumane and appalling conditions.

Informal settlement residents across the province continue to suffer, and their living conditions are not suitable for human habitation. They do not have access to basic services such as proper sanitation, water, and electricity.

The department has not upgraded any informal settlements in-situ in Gauteng as activities before the actual upgrading were still in progress. The work on upgrading plans has, however, commenced which will inform upgrading processes going forward.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Lebogang Maile, in a written reply to the DA’s questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

In the past five years, the department has only provided interim sanitation services (chemical toilets and honeysuckers) to 70 informal settlements in Emfuleni, Mogale City, Rand West and Merafong.

This department is not doing enough, considering that we have more than 70 informal settlements across the province that do not have access to sanitation.

Furthermore, the department has spent R105 359 358,10 providing interim sanitation services to 70 informal settlements.

This money spent on interim sanitation services could have been used to build dignified houses for our residents in dire need of housing, should this department have had a plan and was properly managed.

This current government has failed to provide dignified housing for our people, and the only solution is to vote for change by putting the DA in power.

The DA government will provide a workable and implementable plan to curb the over 1.2 million housing waiting list. We will also ensure that all unfinished housing projects are completed, and all completed housing projects are allocated to the rightful beneficiaries so that our people have access to dignified housing.

ANC MUST EXPLAIN WHY ONLY 59 OUT OF 150 INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS HAVE BEEN FORMALISED

In 2013, outgoing Mayor Ramokgopa promised in his State of the City Address that “The total eradication of informal settlements remains an important goal of our work during the current term of office. Our citizens deserve places of residence that are fully serviced with title deeds.

And just yesterday, Thoko Didiza, the ANC’s lame duck mayoral candidate, reiterated this promise saying that replacing informal settlements is a priority for the party.

But truth is that since 2013, the number of informal settlements has only grown under the ANC. The ANC must explain their broken promises to formalise informal settlements.

According to City of Tshwane’s 2014-2105 Annual Report, only 59 of the 150 informal settlements identified in 2013 by the City’s “flagship” housing programme, Re Aga Tshwane, have been formalised. This is a mere 39% of the set target.

Since 2013, the number of informal settlements in Tshwane has in fact increased to 178. Among these informal settlements is Plastic view which recently burnt, killing five people and displacing roughly 1 500 residents.

Many informal settlements in Tshwane are without access to basic services such as water, electricity and sanitation.

According to the General Household Survey, Tshwane has the lowest percentage of households with access to a basic sanitation facility at 82% in comparison to 91.4% in Cape Town.

In 2015, Sputla yet again said the City would “accelerate the formalisation process through the Re Aga Tshwane programme”. But just like the rest of his promises, this pledge too lies broken and shattered.

Sputla was correct in saying that the people of the Capital deserve houses with title deeds. But the ANC government in Tshwane has failed to deliver.

Handing over title deeds is about more than giving people ownership of their homes; it is about expanding access to opportunity.

Title deeds allow people to be owners of their property, to have access to equity, to be part of this society and to prosper. Title deeds give people access to opportunity and to ability to improve their lives and the lives of their families.

Earlier this week the DA revealed that corruption and financial mismanagement in the Capital has cost its residents the equivalent of 32,153 RDP houses, while the housing backlog in Tshwane stood at over 120,000 according to the 2014/15 Gauteng Department of Human Settlement’s Annual Performance Plan.

For too long the people of the Capital have been let down by broken ANC promises.

The DA have committed to working hard to ensure that the delivery of title deeds in municipalities we govern is sped up so that more South Africans can own the properties where they live.

Where the DA governs, we are committed to ensuring the fair allocation of housing opportunities, and vitally, coupled with the issuance of title deeds.

In the past three years, the DA-run City of Cape Town has given 15 000 title deeds to make the poor the real owners of their own homes. This is more than any other metro in the country.

This is the change that only the DA can deliver, handing over title deeds as well as greater transparency and accountability in the awarding of RDP. This has been proved in the municipalities we govern.

This is the DA difference; this is the change the DA wants to bring to Tshwane in order to see it move forward again.

Together, on 3 August, we can bring change to Tshwane.

 

Media enquiries:

Motheo Mtimkulu

Media Manager: Tshwane Mayoral Campaign

083 728 0554

Tau’s Administration Has Failed The People Of Ennerdale

Ennerdale – Lack of Housing

I am on my way to Ennerdale with DA Gauteng Leader, John Moodey and DA Joburg Caucus Leader, Vasco da Gama to stand united with yet another community who have been failed by the Tau administration.

This morning’s protests broke out in Ennerdale over a lack of housing after it was discovered that no money had been set aside in the Joburg City Budget for development in the area.

This despite MMC for Housing, Dan Bovu, visiting the community in 2015 and promising to build houses.

Over a year later, this was just another empty promise scarring the Tau administration’s legacy.

In 2015, Bovu stated, “We cannot be a world-class African city if we are not going to facilitate ownership of houses to the people who have been in these areas for years. Days of allocating houses in terms of colour or race are over”.

Ennerdale – Lack of Jobs

22 years into our democracy, these words fall hallow on the people of Ennerdale. What is this ‘new economic democracy’ that Tau speaks of?

Ultimately, the struggle of this community, like so many others in Joburg, comes down to a question of jobs.

There are currently 869 000 unemployed people in Joburg, 66 000 of whom joined the ranks of the unemployed in the first quarter of 2016.

When elected mayor on 3 August, job creation will be my number one priority.

If more people had jobs, they could afford to rent and buy their own houses. With Jobs, there would be more tax revenue available to provide houses and services for those who cannot provide for themselves.

#MashabaForMayor

When elected Mayor, I will also do four things to turnaround Joburg’s housing crisis:

  1.    Pass ownership within six months by giving tens of thousands of people title deeds.
  2.    Halt housing list corruption by making the process transparent and open.
  3.    Incentivise entrepreneurs who build environmentally friendly and sustainable homes.
  4.    Provide services to informal settlements and embrace them into the City.

I, like the people of Ennerdale, am gatvol of the Tau administration’s broken promises and self-serving agenda.

Enough is enough. Come 3 August, vote for the change you want to see.

 

Media enquiries:

Nkele Molapo

Media officer

072 041 4842

Soul City Residents Angry Over More Broken Promises

Soul City Informal Settlement

Mogale City Mayor, Cllr Calvin Seerane, has once again left residents of Soul City informal settlement stranded without hope of ever being relocated to an area with decent housing and opportunities.

In 2013 Mayor Seerane promised residents that the informal settlement would be moved by the local government election in 2016, however, on a recent visit to the area, the Mayor had changed his tune, indicating only a small handful of residents would be relocated.

In an attempt to salvage the situation, promises of large sums of money to relocate the residents were made – much to the annoyance of the community who chased the Mayor away with rocks.

Resorting to Violence

Soul City residents believe Seerane needs to explain the following:

  • On the basis of a scientific study that has been conducted, the residents wish to know which areas are still habitable for people as the area has been polluted with radioactivity from mining activity;
  • Why the whole community cannot be moved to a single site;
  • What will happen to those members of the community who do not qualify for government housing;
  • Residents have roots in the area – some of them have jobs and their children attend local schools, they wish to know whether such opportunities will exist in the areas to which the council plans to move them?

Without proper answers, the residents will continue to resist and possibly even resort to violence to get a fair deal.

The ANC needs to be honest and transparent with the people of Soul City and make good on their broken promises.

 

Media enquiries:

Alan Fuchs

DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Mogale City

060 558 8313

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Gauteng Cabinet Report Card: The Cracks Are Showing

Gauteng ANC Premier David Makhura and his cabinet have steered through another year in office, and it is becoming increasingly clear that “Team Gauteng” is not living up to its promise since taking office in June 2014.

Members of the Executive Council (MECs) are embroiled in investigations, entities have gone bankrupt, and programmes are failing, while Gauteng’s people are crying out for more bang for their buck.

While the premier continues to insist the opposite, allegations and counter-allegations abound that the move was designed to protect officials connected to former MEC Lebogang Maile.

MEC Bopape has been appointed MEC for Social Development, while MEC Faith Mazibuko has replaced her.

For the purpose of this report card, the two will be rated on their performance in their former portfolios.

The DA Cabinet scorecard is an analysis based on individual MECs’ grasp of their portfolio demands, leadership skills, approachability, and willingness to appear before oversight committees.

Premier David Makhura
Since the 2014 report card, the Premier’s score has dropped.

Despite being the first to acknowledge ANC arrogance in the implementation of e-tolls, he swiftly back-tracked and succumbed to political pressure from above, and in the process abandoned the people of Gauteng by not scrapping the project in its entirety.

And now, the provincial government has been forced to pay just over R120 million to keep e-tolls afloat.

There are more pressing needs in Gauteng than spending money on failed projects.

His ambitious talk of Transformation, Modernisation and Re-industrialisation of Gauteng are at risk of not getting off the ground during his term of office – evidenced by the fact that there has been an 18% increase in the use of consultants.

Without the necessary skills in his office, the premier will have a hard time to deliver.

His administration has failed to make any visible strides in the revitalisation of the Township economy – which is one of the key components of his ten pillar plan.

Equally the Premier has been vague on employment opportunities supposedly created by his flagship Tshepo 500 000 program.

To date, little tangible evidence of real jobs has been forthcoming, and replies to questions continue to be vague.

While action has been taken regarding alleged corruption in G-Fleet, and a forensic audit has been instituted in the Department of Sports, Heritage, Arts and Culture – only 3% of all government officials investigated for financial wrongdoing have been criminally prosecuted.

In a surprise move, Premier Makhura removed MEC Molebatsi Bopape from Sports, Heritage, Recreation, Arts and Culture (SHRAC), instituting an investigation into her tenure as MEC relating to corruption within the department.

The truth is that the “People’s Premier” who promised an activist government remain long on ambitious promises, but short on delivery.

Score: 6/10
Finance – MEC Barbara Creecy
During the past year, MEC Creecy has appeared to immerse herself in ICT and now speaks with the confidence of a subject expert.

However, on further probing, one discovers that the confidence lacks the technical detail.

She has had an acting HOD for the last year and only recently had her old Education HOD join her – someone who, despite management experience, also lacks the technical detail on a department completely related to ICT.

The department itself seems to be slowly picking up, meeting some targets and missing others.

The Gauteng Broadband Network is not the silver bullet it promised to be, with many centres not yet connected, and where facilities are connected, they have not switched over from their private service providers.

Problems with SAP upgrades meant that suppliers to government were not paid for a month this year.

The work of the DAV Centre still seems to be shrouded in secrecy despite its costs. So far, all we know is the failed Gauteng Online systems were open source and built by the DAV Centre.

However, the department does seem to be slowly shaping up into something resembling an ICT shared services department, but it still seems to be characterised by internal staff lethargy.

On aspects of accountability, responses to questions are deliberately vague, PAIA applications are frequently declined and avoidance still seems to be the order of the day.

Most alarmingly, officials in the department will not even assist with the most basic of information and won’t entertain entering into correspondence, out of fear of incurring the wrath of the MEC.

Score: 6/10
Social Development – MEC Faith Mazibuko
MEC Mazibuko has failed vulnerable members of society, and hopefully MEC Molebatsi Bopape will attack her new portfolio with vigour.

The Department, in its quarterly reports, do not show proper finances and shortcomings, they only indicate targets and what has been achieved.

The quality of the reports remains shoddy which severely hampers efforts by committee members to perform oversight and hold officials to account.

Many NGOs dependent on government grants are paid late, which compromises their ability to do their work, which is more often the work of the department.

With the rise in unemployment, the department is not doing enough to move people from welfare to working or sustainable livelihoods – especially among women and youth.

As was the case in 2014, there is still no relief and proper plans for people with disabilities, the elderly, and those who struggle with substance abuse.

Equally concerning is that there are no proper plans aimed at capacitating the growing number of non-compliant Early Childhood Development centres in the province.

The MEC has also failed to collect monies owing to the department from other departments and entities.

Score: 4/10
Health – Qedani Mahlangu
This department has shown some improvement in financial management, but still received a qualified report from the Auditor General.

Senior management posts have now been filled, including a competent new Head of Department.

According to the 2014/15 Annual Report, only 86 out of 160 targets were met (54%), and there has been little improvement in meeting targets this year.

Only one hospital (Steve Biko Academic) and only one clinic meet the required high standards set by the national health department.

Medico-legal claims now exceed R10 billion, and the department will pay about R200 million this year in court-ordered payments for hospital negligence.

Some building projects are still way beyond schedule, including the Randgate clinic in Randfontein, which was supposed to be completed in July last year, and the psychiatric ward at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital, which should have been completed four years ago.

Many patients still face long queues and waiting times for operations.

The much-vaunted “turn-around” of this department is very slow and has a long way to go.
Score: 3/10
Education – MEC Panyaza Lesufi
The MEC has done well in terms of school admission. Learners were successfully placed to schools at the beginning of the year, and Gauteng retained the number one position in terms of the 2014 Grade 12 pass rate.

The recognition of the best performing learners from disadvantaged schools by awarding bursaries to the top three is a great initiative.

This year saw the introduction of paperless classrooms as an innovative way to teach and learn, but connectivity and security of these assets remain a concern.

The MEC is open to allow Members of the Legislature to visit schools and is always approachable and ready to intervene where necessary.

The MEC is willing to listen to different views and respond immediately. He regularly conducts oversight visits to schools to see challenges for himself.

However, there are challenges that remain.

The MEC hasn’t dealt with corruption in an unequivocal manner – he made commitments to follow up on cases of corruption, but no follow-ups have been reported.

Overcrowded classrooms and high lerner/teacher ratios in historically disadvantaged schools remain a concern.

The MEC must realign districts and head offices to ensure sustainable support to schools, such as school furniture, sports, nutrition, scholar transport, intervention programmes, teacher development and school renovations.

School infrastructure still needs a proper project management

The department and the MEC at times remain vague at question time, providing unverified information on the number of schools, the supply of tablets, school upgrades, and school closures.

Score: 7/10

Community Safety and Security – MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane
The MEC has done little to curb the continuing high rate of accruals which impacts negatively on the service delivery of the department.

For the past 4 years there have been the same matters of emphasis from the Auditor General which indicates poor financial management – again, the MEC has not taken the initiative to turn the tide and improve the situation.

There is an overall lack of impact on the high levels of crime in Gauteng which affects residents on a daily basis – particularly the marginalised.

The department is not focusing on its constitutional mandate of oversight of the SAPS. This is highlighted by the fact that the majority of SAPS key performance indicators were not met over the past 12 months.

Another failing of the MEC is that even though the she knew the previous HOD was leaving the department prior to April this year, it has taken more than seven months to appoint a new HOD.

Corrupt practice around the logging of overtime is still rife and has not been addressed by the MEC.

Score: 3/10
Cooperative Governance, traditional affairs and human settlements – MEC Jacob Mamabolo

The department has, during the current administration, been unable to administer, roll out or effectively monitor its purpose and function as provided for in the constitution and the Housing Act – which is the provision of housing for the poor, and the establishment, development and maintenance of economically viable communities.

The MEC continues to refuse to implement conditions of court orders, such as the directive to provide accommodation for the residents of the N12 informal settlement in Ekurhuleni.

A commitment was made to carry out a transparent audit of housing lists and the allocation of houses.

To date no information has been received and the MEC has to provide answers in this regard.

The department incurred irregular expenditure of R2,6 billion for the 2014/15 financial year, little political will has been shown to rectify this.

Score: 2.5/10
Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development – MEC Lebogang Maile

Jobs still remain the number one priority for the Province, but the department seems unable or unwilling to set targets in this regard – and escapes having to produce tangible results.

There are many wonderful schemes but not much visible action.

An example would be the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis, which has been punted for many years, but the sod turning only occurred in the latter half of this year.

Other job creation hubs remain plans on paper or very poorly developed.

The major disappointment of the year was the declared bankruptcy of the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller, with an outstanding debt in unresolved loans of R100 million over the last 10 years.

The MEC did the right thing by placing a moratorium on any further loans but it should never have gotten to this point.

The MEC seems to lack any understanding of the importance of agriculture to job creation in this province

He appears to have little technical knowledge of his portfolio, and knows nothing noteworthy about agriculture and environmental matters.

Agriculture is still not seen as a key job driver and economic sector on its own.

This is evidenced by the results achieved in the annual report which has no impact whatsoever on the province’s economy.

Responses to oversight tools such as oral and written questions are dismal. The MEC reads from a script – he seems not to have an understanding of the answers written for him by departmental staff.

The way the department deals with the environmental impact of specifically water losses and mine tailings in the province is shockingly inadequate, and officials are happy to pass the buck on to the Blue Scorpions and Department of Mineral Resources, without playing any significant role.

The impact of the drought on the agricultural sector in Gauteng was expected in June this year but no contingency plans were put in place

MEC Maile clearly has no vision for Gauteng’s economic future and no plans to fix anything.

Score: 3.5/10

 

Infrastructure Development – MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza
The Department of Infrastructure Development continues to perform poorly.

It is unable to complete, on average, 40% of its annual targets. The result is that projects are not completed on time and within budget.

MEC Mayathula-Khoza is not prepared to publicly admit to the department’s poor performance, and aided and abetted by the Premier, spins and whitewashes reports of dysfunctionality.

During the financial year under review, the MEC allowed conditions of no consequences for poor performance to flourish.

Management failures on her watch include underspending on projects of client departments, inability to recruit professional staff and a lack of project management expertise.
Score: 4/10
Roads and Transport – MEC Ismail Vadi
MEC Ismail Vadi started out his tenure in office promisingly.

However, during the past 12 months the department has failed to live up to the grand expectations set by the MEC.

MEC Vadi is often vague and evasive about projects and programmes that are run by the department. He is non-committal and open-ended when answering pertinent questions in the house.

Once frank about e-tolls, the MEC has followed Premier Makhura and has now become complicit in foisting this unjust system on the citizens of Gauteng.

G-Fleet, the department’s vehicle rental entity, has gone from bad to worse under the MEC’s tenure, and is the worst performing entity in the Gauteng Provincial Government.
Score: 5/10
Sports, Heritage Recreation, Arts and Culture – MEC Molebatsi Bopape

Premier Makhura’s dissatisfaction with MEC Bopape’s performance says it all, but it is doubtful whether MEC Mazibuko, with her poor track record over the years, will have any positive impact on the department.

The Department’s annual performance has regressed from last year, with more findings being made by the Auditor General. Poor planning has resulted in targets constantly being reprioritised throughout the year.

The department failed to complete all planned library construction in the 2014/15 financial year, nor did it manage to maintain functioning community sports/creative hubs.

Poor financial controls have seen the department incur irregular expenditure to the tune of R88.4 million with one tender alone amounting to R68 million.

Instead of aligning the department’s priorities to deliver services, MEC Bopape rather enjoyed utilising the department’s budget to host events and take lavish trips overseas.

Score: 2/10
The Gauteng Cabinet report card shows how after its first full year in office, the public is looking for answers and want to see results.

By now Premier Makhura has certainly realised that grand plans and announcements require follow through.

While he and his executive are quick to announce grand schemes, a lack of political willpower, and in some instances, technical know-how, keeps Gauteng’s residents in the lurch.

As long as the premier does not walk his activist government talk, his promise of a Gauteng government that delivers will remain distant if he does not steer his executive in that direction.

Media enquiries:
John Moodey MPL
DA Gauteng Provincial Leader
082 960 3843
 
Willie Venter
Director: Communications and research
DA Gauteng
060 963 8260

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Gauteng Needs More Housing And Less Promises

Gauteng Housing Backlog

Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Jacob Mamabolo, has proved beyond reasonable doubt that he is failing to deliver on his mandate to handle the Gauteng housing backlog which now surpasses over 1 million.

In his political report for 2015 Gauteng Premier David Makhura, admitted to the shortcomings of the human settlements department in delivering housing opportunities for the residents in the province.

Under Mamobolo’s leadership, the human settlements department has cracked and failed to reach many of its priority targets and policies which include:

  • The non-delivery of RDP houses;
  • Inability to roll out in-situ upgrading programmes; and
  • The failure to consolidate social housing programmes as well as planning of the mega city.

Access to Basic Housing

The number of people living in shacks and informal dwellings has not reduced since 1994 and one in five residents in the City of Johannesburg still live in an informal settlement.

After 21 years of a democratic dispensation, residents in Alexandra, Dube, Diepkloof, Daveyton and Brandvlei to name a few, still struggle to access basic housing.

This is indicative of a disintegrating leadership that is completely out of touch.

Gauteng residents also still await the MEC’s promise to initiate an investigation into the R 2.6 billion in irregular expenditure incurred by his department.

Decent, Sustainable Housing

MEC Mamabolo lacks transparency and fails to be held accountable by the residents of Gauteng, thus corroding the public’s trust and hope for decent and sustainable housing.

The MEC must clean up his act and start exercising decisive leadership that will see the living conditions of the people improve.  It is high time that he deliver on his promised mandate before taking oath of office.

 

Media enquiries:

Mervyn Cirota MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Human Settlements

060 558 8312

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Gauteng Shack Fires An Indication Of Poor Human Settlements Policy

The recent shack fires which has caused the displacement of 2500 people in Kya Sands and Cleveland south east of Johannesburg is a clear indication of poor human settlements planning by Gauteng Department of Human Settlements.

The Provincial Government’s inability to implement stringent policies for in-situ upgrades of settlements and planned relocations has resulted in overcrowding in many of our provinces informal settlements.

Illegal electricity connections remain the major cause of fires, and blazes are difficult to control because informal settlements do not have proper access to roads for fire departments nor are there any municipal fire hydrants.

MEC Jacob Mamabolo’s recent visit to affected areas was a knee jerk reaction, and he provided no long-term planning, nor short term assistance such as emergency shack fire kits provided by the City of Cape Town.

The recent fires should serve as a learning curve to the MEC and the department to ensure that all residential areas are equipped with fire hydrants and proper roads to ensure access.

Until such time as people’s living conditions are improved, they remain vulnerable to avoidable risks.

 

Media enquiries:

Mervyn Cirota MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Human Settlements

060 558 8312

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