More than thirty days later, residents of Gauteng are yet to be presented with the results of a probe ordered by MEC Lebogang Maile into the Gauteng Partnership Fund (GPF), an entity of the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements.
Last month, media reports surfaced indicating that Deputy President Paul Mashitile’s son-in-law benefited from a GPF housing loan from the,
MEC Maile first indicated that the GPF’s board would investigate the matter and later indicated that a law firm would be appointed to investigate the matter.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) raised concerns about this probe and called for the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to head up the investigation. We feared that there would be lengthy delays, political interference and that any wrongdoing would not be exposed.
Our residents deserve a government that is committed to rooting out corruption. MEC Maile has not yet provided a report from the directors as initially promised. He appears to be taking a different route by appointing a law firm to conduct this investigation. This raises questions about whether the MEC intends to investigate this matter and expose any wrongdoing.
The DA demands that a report from the GPF board be made available immediately, and the SIU investigate this matter. If the SIU finds that anyone has unlawfully benefited from GPF loans, the money must be fully recovered. Disciplinary action must be taken against all the officials involved in awarding this loan, and a criminal investigation should be instituted.
Gauteng residents live in appalling, inhumane, and unsanitary conditions, while the Department of Human Settlements, tasked with providing dignified houses, misses 70% of its targets.
The department continues to underachieve due to repetitive underspending, poor governance and questionable decision making.
This information was obtained in the Human Settlements Committee Oversight Report on the Department’s 3rd Quarterly Performance for the 2022/23 financial year.
Timelessly, poor workmanship by unqualified contractors has led to poor management and implementation of projects with little quality control evident in the department.
Out of 31 targets, 9 were achieved, leaving performance areas like the Urban Renewal programme, hostel redevelopment, acceleration of the Rapid Land Release, prioritisation of incomplete and abandoned projects, job creation opportunities, upgrading of informal settlements and the Gauteng Partnership Fund stagnant in growth.
Furthermore, the following main delivery programmes have underspent on their allocated budgets:
• Programme 1: Administration was allocated R188 764 000.00, and the department spent R116 376 000.00, registering an underspending of 38%.
• Programme 2: Housing needs, Planning and Research, were allocated R6 267 000.00, and the department spent R4 256 000.00, registering an underspending of 68%.
• Programme 3: Housing Development was allocated R1 224 791 000.00, but the department spent R655 185 000.00, registering an underspending of 46%.
• Programme 4: Housing Assets Management and Property Management was allocated R63 944 000.00, but R48 542 000.00 was spent, registering an underspending of 24%.
This is tragic considering that the expected outcomes, which include improved audit outcomes, good corporate governance, improved housing delivery and a responsive organisational structure, have not materialised.
The DA proposes that the department adopt a process of organisational restructuring with more effective and realistic target setting, together with effective performance monitoring, to ensure the rollout of projects within achievable timelines.
We strongly urge Gauteng’s MEC for Human Settlements, Lebogang Maile, to prioritise accountability within the department by implementing more effective and realistic target setting, enhancing monitoring practices, and placing utmost importance on operational accountability.
Residents of Gauteng cannot continue to suffer while waiting for service delivery due to unresolved systematic challenges.
Poor planning, corruption and illegal invasions have left the residents of Obed Nkosi RDP houses, Shalimar Ridge and Rensburg flats in Lesedi Local Municipality without much-needed service delivery.
Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) conducted an oversight inspection in all three Urban Renewal Projects.
Despite the municipality not having the necessary plans to upgrade the bulk service systems such as water and electricity, more than 60 000 residents have occupied these RDP houses and flats.
Currently, the bulk infrastructure system cannot handle the pressure because it has not been upgraded, resulting in sewer blockages, electricity cuts and houses being flooded during the rainy season due to no drainage systems in place.
We further engaged with the residents of Shalimar Ridge flats, who have now accumulated a utility bill of over R42 million due to non-payment of services. In addition, most of the residents in Shalimar Ridge flats have illegally invaded these flats.
Efforts by the DA to solve the illegal invasion issue in these Urban Renewal Projects have yielded no results despite the municipality and the Department of Human Settlement being made aware of the matter.
Furthermore, we have been reliably informed that government officials have also occupied the Rensburg flats, yet they do not qualify and are not the rightful beneficiaries.
It appears a key reason why the issue of illegal invasions in these Urban Renewal Projects is not being investigated is that government officials are involved.
The DA demands that the Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Lebogang Maile, must institute an urgent forensic audit of all the Urban Renewal Projects across the province to ensure that they have access to bulk infrastructure such as water, electricity and sanitation.
The MEC must also determine whether the people who have occupied these houses are the rightful beneficiaries.
Should it be found that they have been illegally invaded, proper processes must be followed to evict the illegal occupants and allow the rightful beneficiaries to occupy these houses.
The DA will further table questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to ascertain the department’s plans concerning the Urban Renewal Projects in Lesedi and will provide feedback to the residents.
The people of Lesedi Municipality deserve better living conditions and development where they can access adequate service delivery.
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.
MEC Lebogang Maile’s Gauteng Department of Human Settlements has once again failed dismally to meet any of its housing services targets because he is distracted by the Gauteng ANC’s election battle.
Gauteng residents who are in desperate need of dignified housing and services continue to be exposed to terrible living conditions, yet MEC Maile who is supposed to deliver services has prioritised his political future.
Instead of focusing on ensuring that Gauteng residents have access to dignified housing and the upgrading of informal settlements, Maile has totally neglected his duties as the MEC for Human Settlements and COGTA.
This is evident through the department’s third quarter report for the 2021/22 financial year.
According to the department’s third quarter report for the 2021/22 financial year, the following targets were not met:
Zero townships were formalised against a target of 18
Zero serviced stands were procured from the private sector against a target of 1,000
Zero hostels’ projects were approved against a target of five
Zero hostels where construction was taking place against a target of seven
Zero family units were completed in hostel redevelopment projects against a target of 180
Zero informal settlements received interim support services against a target of 60
Zero informal settlements received phase two upgrading against a target of 15
Zero approved upgrading plans of individual informal settlements against a target of 20
Zero top structures were completed against a target of 70
Zero property transfers were completed against a target of 90%
Failure by this department to meet the above critical targets is concerning as there has been no progress on these targets since the beginning of the year.
This is a significant blow for hostel dwellers, informal settlements and township residents and is likely to raise social risks that could further see situations like the last year’s July unrest.
The DA demands that Premier Makhura must intervene as a matter of urgency and whip MEC Maile into line to ensure that his department delivers on its core mandate to the residents of Gauteng.
For far too long, MEC Maile has been given free reign at the expense of taxpayers’ money; it is high time that MEC Maile delivers what he is paid for. His attitude towards his work has resulted in his accounting officers doing as they please as they follow in his footsteps.
We also demand that Premier Makhura must set in motion a workable and implementable turnaround strategy together with timelines for holding this department to account.
The DA will continue to fight for the Gauteng residents to access housing services and dignified housing and for MEC Maile to be held to account.
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.
Gauteng residents across the province are in desperate need of dignified housing, while some residing in hostels and informal settlements continue to live in inhumane and appalling conditions due to the Gauteng Department of Human Settlement’s failure to spend its allocated budget for housing.
Many people are forced to rent backyard rooms in townships and space to erect their shacks in someone’s yard, yet they have been on the housing waiting lists for years with still no guarantee on whether they will be allocated housing.
The Gauteng Department of Human Settlements revealed in their annual report that they had underspent by R226 million for the 2020/21 financial year.
The R226 million could have built 1,948 houses. If these were to accommodate families of four, 7,792 people would have been housed. While this would be only be a minor dent in the massive housing backlog, it would have been a step forward for residents looking for a roof over their heads.
According to the report, the department severely underspent in the following programmes: R147,669,000 on the Housing Delivery Programme, underspent by R31,471,000 on the Housing Assets Management Property Planning Programme and R4,685,000 on the Housing Needs, Research and Planning Programme.
Furthermore, the department also underspent on Conditional Grant 1 for Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) by R60 872 000 and also underspent onConditional Grant 2: Title Deeds Restoration Grants (TRG)by R12 153 000.
This under expenditure by the department is also noted in the Auditor General’s (AG) report which highlights that the department hadirregular expenditure amounting to R361 816 000 as a result of supply chain management processes not followed. The department also incurred fruitless and wasteful expenditure to the amount of R118 369 000 in the year under review.
In terms of the internal controls deficiencies, the AG made the following findings: the accounting officer failed to exercise oversight responsibility regarding financial and performance reporting and compliance, senior management did not implement effective controls over daily and monthly processing and reconciling of transactions to support financial reporting on various disclosure items and did not review and monitor compliance with relevant laws and regulations, resulting in material non-compliance.
For far too long, the DA has been demanding that the Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Lebogang Maile implement operational accountability to ensure that all staff are committed and accountable to their obligations. There is consistent, huge underspending in the department because senior managers are not held to account.
This department needs to show some empathy and care about our resident’s dire need for dignified housing.
The DA will continue to hold MEC Maile accountable for his department’s failure to spend on its allocated budget and committing a serious crime against the most vulnerable residents by failing to spend the housing budget.
Residents of the Madala hostel in Alexandra continue to live in appalling and inhumane conditions where the hostel structure has deteriorated into more disrepair, while the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements is consistently failing to meet its quarterly target of converting hostels into family units, approving of hostel projects plans, and providing interim service support to informal settlements.
The living conditions at hostels and informal settlements across the province are unsanitary and not suitable for human habitation.
There are inadequate or no drainage systems with no proper sanitation, leading to regular sewer blockages and resulting in raw sewerage flowing all over the place right outside where people live. There is also no regular refuse removal, with piles of uncollected refuse and litter creating a very dangerous health hazard for residents, while many parts of the informal settlements continue to go without electricity.
The department’s failure to meet its quarterly targets was revealed in the first quarterly report for the 2021/22 financial year.
The department failed to meet any of its targets set to convert three hostels into family units, phase two upgrading of five informal settlements, while 10 informal settlements did not receive National Support Programme assessments.
This indicates that no work was done for the hostels and informal settlements residents during the quarter under review.
They also failed to achieve its target of approving five hostel project plans with only two approved. Furthermore, they did not achieve its planned target of formalisation of 55 townships.
For the past years, Human Settlements has never achieved all of its set targets and has failed to spend on its allocated budget, which indicates that there is an urgent need for a complete overhaul of this department.
This is a clear indication that the 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-led Gauteng government will provide a workable and implementable plan to run an efficient and effective department.
Strict timelines and penalties to contractors who fail to meet the deadlines will be implemented as well as consequence management for officials to ensure accountability, diligence, and commitment to the core mandate of the department.
The DA will continue to provide alternatives and solutions to resolve issues faced by this department and ensure that the living conditions of our people are improved. We will also continue to hound MEC Maile to ensure that there is operational accountability to better the lives of our people who are in desperate need of dignified housing and environment, so that delivery from this department can actually improve and residents can finally be provided what they deserve.
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Residents of Mshayazafe hostel in Thokoza, Ekurhuleni are in desperate need of dignified housing but are forced to live in squalor. More than thirty families in one block of the hostel are sharing one toilet and unable to regularly wash their hands. This is wholly unacceptable under any circumstances, but especially so considering the need for regular handwashing during the Covid-19 pandemic.
While more than one million Gauteng residents wait for their housing allocation by government, the Department of Human Settlements is consistently failing to meet its quarterly target of upgrading informal settlements, releasing land parcels, converting hostels into family units, completing unfinished housing projects and providing interim service support to informal settlements.
The living conditions that our residents at Mshayazafe hostel and Empilisweni informal settlements are exposed to are appalling, unsanitary and not suitable for human habitation.
The failure of meeting its quarterly targets was revealed in the fourth quarterly report of the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements for the 2020/21 financial year. The department failed to achieve any of the targets set, resulting in no work done during the quarter.
The failed targets included the handover of 500 land release parcels to beneficiaries, the target to procure 7375 land release parcel opportunities on the serviced sites from the private sector, but only 218 land release parcels were procured.
The releasing of land parcels plays a critical role in giving our residents an opportunity to build their own houses and not solely rely on government to provide them with dignified housing. This saves the department money in terms of building top structures and reduces the number of those on the housing waiting list.
The department also failed to achieve its target to complete 239 top structures in regard to incomplete/abandoned/blocked housing projects. Furthermore, they did not achieve its planned target to formalise 37 townships. Completing these unfinished housing projects would have relieved pressure from both the department and residents by providing housing to people and further reducing the housing waiting list.
They also failed to convert three hostel projects into family units and to complete 30 family units from hostels, which are under construction. Considering the appalling living conditions that our hostel residents, across the province, are exposed to on a daily basis, the department should be prioritising delivering dignified family units to these residents.
Lastly, the department failed to meet its target of providing interim services support to 63 informal settlements and to provide phase two upgrading to two informal settlements.
The department’s failure to deliver services to the residents of informal settlements is wholly unacceptable, especially during this economically and socially challenging period as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Failure to provide water, sanitation and ablution services possibly exacerbated the health challenges of communities living in informal settlements, and is a smear on the constitutional rights of South African citizens.
We will not hesitate in holding Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Lebogang Maile accountable for his department’s failure to realise the rights of these citizens, and the utter indignity they experience on a daily basis.
We call on MEC Maile to ensure that his department prioritise delivering of dignified housing to our people, as they cannot continue living in inhumane conditions. We will also demand MEC Maile to provide a detailed plan on the turnaround strategy with regards to delivering housing in the new financial year. Where the DA governs in Tshwane, we have already handed over serviced stands to our residents to ensure that they have dignified housing.
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Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng Provincial Leader, Solly Msimanga MPL, and the DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Human Settlements and COGTA, Mervyn Cirota MPL, along with the DA Sedibeng Caucus Leadership conducted oversight inspections at the incomplete housing projects at the Kwa-Masiza hostel community residential units, and the Boiketlong incomplete housing project, in the Emfuleni Local Municipality.
We were appalled to discover the current status of the incomplete residential units at Kwa-Masiza hostel, where the housing units have been vandalised. Windows have been left broken, while the floor and wall tiles have been stripped off and stolen. The doors, sinks and the cupboards have also been stolen.
This is one of many incomplete housing projects across the province that have been left deserted and vandalised, yet our people are in desperate need of housing.
Hostel residents across the province continue to live in appalling conditions, while their pleas for dignified housing having fallen on deaf ears, which is unacceptable.
The beneficiaries of the Kwa-Masiza hostel community residential units have been living in inhuman and unsanitary conditions while waiting for the completion of the newly built housing units. The dire situation of these residents is a big concern for the DA.
The DA has also learnt that the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements had spent at least R46 million in the 2012/13 financial year to convert the Kwa-Masiza hostel in Sebokeng into community residential units. The project still remains incomplete and vandalised.
The contractors and the security services abandoned the site in 2019 due to non-payment and now the site has become a target for vandalism.
The DA has on several occasions warned the department that unnecessary delays in completing housing projects and the allocation of housing units to the rightful beneficiaries once the project has been completed, would result in illegal occupation of the houses.
Based on previous experience, the longer the housing projects remain incomplete and unoccupied, the more likely they will become targets for illegal occupants, vandalism, and corruption.
The other blocks at the hostels have severe structural damages which poses a safety risk to the occupants. The hostel lack regular proper maintenance and refuse collection, resulting in a dirty environment and a health hazard.
The Boiketlong housing project which is part of the Gauteng Mega Housing Project was meant to build 7000 housing units but has been left incomplete, with only 72 units completed and allocated.
The housing waiting list in this province has exceeded a million, clearly indicating a major housing crisis. There are high expectations that the department should be ensuring that housing projects are completed on time and within the allocated budget. This is not happening as residents continue to suffer with no proper accommodation.
The DA’s plea to the department to make public the provincial housing waiting has been ignored, making it difficult to assist in identifying the residents who have long been on the waiting list but have not yet benefited. It was also going to eliminate corruption by identifying those that have benefitted and are not on the waiting list.
The DA will table questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to the MEC for Human Settlements, Lebogang Maile to ascertain when will these two projects are going to be completed, how much has been spent so far, and how much budget is left.
We will continue to put pressure on MEC Maile to ensure that these projects are completed and the rightful beneficiaries are allocated to the housing units as soon as the projects are completed.