Michele du Plessis
The pitiable deliverance of low-income houses for the neediest and deserving is not only frustrating for the people who have applied for it, it is also a serious concern for newly deployed Human Settlements MEC Norah Mahlangu. MEC Mahlangu has replaced MEC Speed Mashilo who has been re-deployed to the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA).
Apparently, there is poor cooperation by some municipalities in delivering these Human settlement projects.
Addressing a two-day Departmental Strategic Planning and Review Session at White River at the City of Mbombela recently, Mahlangu bemoaned the invasion of houses by unlawful beneficiaries, slow progress on projects, stand-off between contractors and certain groupings and lack of transparent and equitable processes in beneficiary identification in some Municipalities amongst others are stubborn challenges affecting the roll-out of integrated projects in Mpumalanga.
The two-day session which reviewed the 2017/18 performance and crafting new plans for the 2018/19 financial year, heard that there is “a need to develop a seamless system to facilitate the delivery of projects”. “My office will ensure that we hold MuniMEC meetings to close the cracks between us and municipalities. These meetings will assist us to bring together these important spheres of government closer and clarify the apparent confusion that exists during and after performing our work,” MEC Mahlangu said. Some of the concerns were also raised at the recently conducted Taking Legislature to the People (TLP) meeting at eMalahleni Local Municipality.
During the TLP meeting, communities bemoaned the apparent poor implementation of projects, lack of transparent and equitable processes in the beneficiary identification and inadequate stakeholder consultation by the department. “At the rate at which these issues are being raised, it suggests that it is imperative to strengthen our relations with stakeholders to work better and deliver efficient services to our people,” Mahlangu continued. “The department has performed well by delivering 8 734 housing units, serviced 4 230 sites and issued 5 000 title deeds during the 2017/18 financial year.” Concurring with MEC Mahlangu, Human Settlements Head, and Mr Kebone Masange indicated “that there are some municipalities from some of the districts that are pulling the department down.”