MEC for Human Settlements, Urban Planning and COGTA Lebogang Maile has dispatched an official letter to the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Herman Mashaba, pertaining to unutilised Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) by the City.
The Department of Human Settlements re-channelled sizable funds, through the Human Settlement Development Grant (HSDG) for purposes of tackling the massive housing backlog, mostly affecting poor and working class communities in Johannesburg and surrounding areas.
An audit was carried-out on budgeted human settlements projects, supposedly to be implemented by the City of Johannesburg on behalf of Gauteng Provincial Government.
MEC Maile is concerned that the City of Johannesburg hasn’t substantially spent funds given to them for human settlements to tackle the housing backlog. MEC Maile “vows to withhold such funds, since there is no political will by the DA-EFF governing coalition to utilise such funds for housing”.
In a letter written to Mayor Mashaba, MEC Maile highlighted the following unfulfilled and budgeted projects:
“During the past two financial years, namely, 2017/18 and 2018/19 respectively, the Department transferred a total amount of R181 832 675 to the COJ for the following projects, to which no units have been delivered.
- Lufhereng: R73 449 998 for 506 houses
- South Hills: R86 207 164 for 300 units
- Lehae : R16 799 631 for 125 houses
- Kliptown :R 5 375 882 for 40 houses”.
In addition to the above, MEC Maile also pointed out to the City:
“We would also like to bring to your attention that the Department has in the current financial year 2019/20, allocated a total amount of R 226 618 394 for the following projects;
- South Hills: R22 469 705
- Vlakfontein Lehae: R55 102 790
- Lufhereng: R149 046 328
MEC Maile holds a view that the DA-EFF governing coalition in the City of Johannesburg, has no intention to work with other spheres of government to improve service delivery and provide much needed services geared towards improving the living conditions of our people. In this regard, MEC Maile alluded:
“Your office has repeatedly indicated that they will not sign any tripartite agreements, all these agreements were prepared and are still with your legal department, some since September last year (2018). We appreciate that the Riverside agreement was signed reflecting signs of good progress with such collaboration bearing fruits”.
In light of the continued failure by the City of Johannesburg, MEC Maile has indicated Government’s intention to withhold the Grant going forward and explore other avenues to deliver the housing projects. This is necessary since the City has no desire nor will to build housing units for low-income and poor communities.
“In our efforts to ensure that there is delivery of housing in Johannesburg, the Department engaged the Municipality proposing the collaboration through a tripartite agreement, which would then permit the Department to manage, monitor and pay the developers directly, whilst the Municipality assumes the responsibility for the installation of services”.
MEC Maile has also cautioned the City of Johannesburg, specifically Mayor Mashaba, “service delivery should not be politicised. Those given the privilege to govern by the electorate, should do so, without providing services to their party voters”.
“… Engagements have not come to fruition. Several meetings were held between the Mayor and my predecessor, Uhuru Moiloa including the Premier of the province where discussions to have the tripartite agreement signed was discussed”.
MEC Maile has committed to work with all Mayors in the province with the sole intention of bringing services to the people of Gauteng.