Underperforming KZN dept loses R200 mln housing grant

2011-01-19 00:00

IT has been confirmed that KwaZulu-Natal’s underperforming Department of Human Settlements has lost R200 million from its housing grant.

This comes after the Minister of Human Settlement, Tokyo Sexwale, announced that R463 million will be moved from two of the four under-performing provinces and re-allocated to provinces that perform well.

In a statement yesterday, Sexwale’s special advisor, Chris Vick, said that R263 million and R200 million had been removed from the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal’s departments respectively.

The KZN MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works, Maggie Govender, was the target of a flurry of accusations from different sectors last week, after the director-general of the national department, Thabane Zulu, announced that the provincial department is in line to lose a portion of its grant because of its failure to meet its delivery targets for subsidised houses.

Among those who condemned Govender’s poor performance were the ANC Youth League in KZN, informal settlement group Abahlali baseMjondolo, the SA Communist Party and labour federation Cosatu.

Vick said of the R463 million, R182 million has been re-assigned to the Northern Cape’s department to build 2 070 new houses and upgrade 350 units in informal settlements, and R131 million to Limpopo for the construction of R5 300 houses in 17 districts as part of its rural housing programme.

The remaining R150 million has been allocated to the National Rectification Programme, which involves repairs to badly built houses.

Vick quoted Sexwale saying, “Two provinces which were earlier in the group of four under-performers — Western Cape and Eastern Cape — remain on my watch list and their performance will be closely monitored.”

Sexwale said it is important that the R463 million remains in the housing delivery process, “and will be used to contribute directly to addressing the housing backlog and the needs of the poor — rather than being rolled-over and/or returned to the national Treasury”.

Mnikelo Ndabankulu of Abahlali baseMjondolo said the organisation was angry about the decision to move the R200 million to other provinces “while KZN residents still live under squalid conditions in informal settlements”.

He said they have written to Sexwale asking that the money be returned to the province.

Abahlali further called for the heads of all lazy workers within the KZN department to roll and for the KZN premier to review the appointment of Govender to this critical portfolio.

ANCYL provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo said the youth league regrets that R200 million has been lost to the province only “because of the ignorance, arrogance and under-performance of people who don’t see something wrong with losing such an amount”.

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