Housing spat concerns ANC

2009-11-27 15:35

Cape Town - The ANC is "deeply concerned" about the public spat between Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale and Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, the party said on Friday.

"Taking into account the crucial importance of service delivery to our people, we call on comrades Sexwale and Sisulu to rather work together and not against each other in ensuring that the ANC-led Government delivers on its mandate," a statement from the party read.

"Public spats do not advance housing service delivery."

The tiff started earlier this week when Sexwale revealed in an answer to a Parliamentary question that the housing department had spent more than R22m on a series of plays during Sisulu's tenure.

The industrial theatre production A re Ageng Mzansi (Let's Build South Africa) reportedly netted R5.5m for a production company owned by former soap opera actor Mpho Tsedu.

Democratic Alliance MP Butch Steyn has written to Auditor General Terence Nombembe, asking him to investigate expenditure on the production.

Sexwale told his management and staff that "this sort of expenditure will not happen on my watch".

He remarked to journalists in Boksburg that it had been necessary to demolish or renovate 40 000 houses across the country because of poor workmanship.


Sisulu retaliated on Thursday, releasing a statement accusing Sexwale of failing to come up with new programmes and for claiming credit for initiatives she introduced while she was still housing minister.

She said a number of projects Sexwale had claimed credit for, including plans to repair defective RDP houses at a cost of R1bn, and bringing in the Special Investigating Unit to investigate low-cost housing fraud, had been initiated on her watch. She told Sexwale to "spend some time in the office reading reports and cabinet memos from 2004".

She defended the decision to commission the play, saying it was necessary to inform the public about new government plans for housing.

According to the Cape Times, Sisulu, an ANC national working committee member, sees herself as politically senior to Sexwale, who only sits on the ruling party's national executive committee.

Sisulu's lashing of Sexwale, the newspaper said, could lie in the distrust some senior ANC leaders had for the former business mogul, who harboured his own presidential ambitions before throwing in his lot with Zuma on the eve of the ANC's Polokwane conference in 2007.

The ANC calling on Sisulu and Sexwale to work together in the interests of service delivery to South Africans.

"We have confidence in both comrade Sexwale and Sisulu and urge them to set aside any differences in approach to service delivery and work together in taking the ANC programme forward."