The Eastern Cape provincial housing department is out of touch regarding illegal occupation of RDP houses in the province. It is only aware of two houses in the entire province being illegally used for business purposes.
This inaccurate information is in response to a parliamentary question I asked in this regard.
It is common knowledge that there are thousands of beneficiaries that have been placed on housing lists and some have waited for years and still have no house.
The political meddling and interference in the housing list administration process is a well-known, undisputed fact.
Hundreds of RDP houses have been vandalized or stand empty because beneficiaries have disappeared and are untraceable.
The “disappearance” of housing lists, beneficiaries being removed off lists and “bumping up” others lower on the list are symptoms of the cancer pervading beneficiary housing in the province.
Therefore to state that “our HSS system does not reflect any illegal beneficiaries occupying houses” shows the incompetency with which housing lists are dealt with in the department.
In terms of a resolution accepted at the DA Eastern Cape Provincial Congress in Grahamstown last weekend, we will be asking for a forensic audit into the management of housing beneficiary lists throughout the province.
A motion to this effect, as well as other mechanisms will be used to ensure that such an audit takes place as soon as possible. I intend to table this motion at the next sitting of the Legislature in May on behalf of the DA.
Departmental and municipal heads must roll should it be found that there was improper tampering with housing beneficiary lists.
Furthermore, I will be interacting with the MEC’s of Human Settlements and of Local Government and with the respective Heads of Department (HODs) in this regard so that housing beneficiary administration can be beefed up.
Municipalities manage their own housing lists, but the department should be supporting them in this to ensure that each municipality and the department have credible, accurate and transparent housing beneficiary list available for public scrutiny at all times.
Regular updates as to the waiting times and progress of each housing beneficiary application should be done as a matter of course.
The department needs to follow the example of the Western Cape: in this province all housing lists have been merged so that there is a clear transparent register available.
By so doing, beneficiaries can know their status and when they are likely to receive their home. It affords them a chance to plan their lives and it gives them the opportunity for a better future.
Dacre Haddon (MPL)
Shadow MEC for Local Government