Land invasions and housing issues came under the microscope during question time in the Western Cape legislature. Picture: Cindy Waxa/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Land invasions and housing issues came under the microscope during question time in the Western Cape legislature. Picture: Cindy Waxa/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Human Settlements department under fire over Cape housing crisis

By Mwangi Githathu Time of article published Aug 23, 2020

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Cape Town - Land invasions and housing issues came under the microscope during question time in the legislature, with members accusing the Department of Human Settlements of failing to address the province’s housing crisis.

The EFF’s Nospipho Makamba-Botya sparked the debate by asking about the impact of the current financial year’s budget cuts.

“What motivated the budget decrease of more than R225.8 million for the housing development project in the department in this financial year, and what impact will such a budget cut have on the provision of housing in the province?” said Makamba-Botya.

Responding, Human Settlements MEC Tertuis Simmers said the department was largely reliant on the Human Settlements Development Grant, which was reprioritised in the Covid-19-related budget adjustments.

“The net impact of the cuts is that fewer houses will be built in the province during the current financial year we are looking at an estimated reduction of 1600 top structures or 4000 service sites or even a combination of both In addition to this the current surge of illegal land invasions across the province is concerning because we have to spend money to safeguard housing stock and land earmarked for projects from the invaders.”

Good Party MPL Brett Herron said: “The human settlements budget, exclusively funded by conditional grants with not a cent contributed by this government from its own resources, will never address the housing backlog.

“This government plods along, celebrating the development of a few thousand houses a year, while the backlog sits at 600000 and grows If we are to meet the challenge and make a dent in the housing crisis this government will have to embrace its constitutional role to provide decent housing and it will have to innovate.”

Cape Argus

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