The Department of Human Settlements this year forfeited R600 million to Treasury under the current executive leadership of MEC Makume. Last year, the amount forfeited was R150 million. This is devastating for a province with a huge housing backlog as evidenced by the hundreds of informal settlements sprouting in every town, and the number of names on the National Housing Needs Database.
As though this is not bad enough, it has also been confirmed by the Auditor General Performance Report on the department, that in the 2022-2023 financial year the department could only achieve 18,75% of its targets. Of the 2156 houses planned, only 152 were delivered. Of the 6530 serviced sites planned, only 2701 were delivered, and of the post-1994 title deeds target of 2775, only 105 were delivered. Of the 35 Community residential (rental) units planned, not one was delivered.
It is clear that the department has been left in complete disarray by years of chaos, corruption, and suspensions of senior officials. The Department is funded almost 100% by Conditional Grants from National Treasury, but is incapable of the planning, implementation and delivery of houses for our deserving beneficiaries. This is an outrage.
When confronted by the DA in the Free State Legislature on 28 November, MEC Makume said the department will not be building any new houses in the Free State this year, but will focus on fixing asbestos roofs, mud houses, and completing the 11 000 incomplete houses for which people have been waiting for many years.
The response by the MEC also exposes the promises of ‘houses’ being made by ANC politicians before the 2024 election as nothing but promises, and is not backed up by any truth. People must know that there will be no new houses built anytime soon.
The DA will continue to demand decent houses for the thousands of deserving and qualifying beneficiaries in the Free State. We have lodged various complaints with the Public Protector, and with the DPCI, while the trial of Ace Magashule in the Asbestos case, where the complaint against Magashule and Olly Mlamleli was also lodged by the DA, will start in April 2024.
The people of the Free State deserve better.