Western Cape legislature debates blame for shortage of inner city housing
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Cape Town - A debate over who is accountable for the lack of transformative inner city housing on Thursday saw the DA’s human settlements spokesperson Matlhodi Maseko blaming the national Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) for holding up 10 000 housing opportunities.
Maseko told the legislature that the DPWI was the greatest obstacle to unlocking transformative inner city housing opportunities.
“Despite the department’s identification of land parcels in and around the city for an estimated 10 000 housing opportunities, the DPWI refused to hand over the land for housing and this leaves land vacant subject to invasion, which DPWI itself has pointed out as a major risk.
“Should the national government grant power of attorney to the provincial government along with the necessary funding, then affordable housing opportunities can become a reality. The DPWI, led by Minister Patricia De Lille, holds the keys to transformation in the city.”
The debate sprang from a question by Good party MPL Brett Herron to Human Settlements MEC Tertius Simmers regarding a March 2019 budget speech declaration by the then MEC that promised that 8.4 hectares had been identified and secured and when completed the project would yield 10 000 housing opportunities.
During the debate, Herron said housing was not a priority for the provincial government.
“If it were, you could turn around your failing housing delivery by changing your attitude. You can deliver the 10 000 housing opportunities you promised and you don’t need national government funding or national government land.
“You have been making the same damn promises for 10 years.”
Meanwhile, the issue of the public protector’s findings against Local Government MEC Anton Bredell came up again in the legislature yesterday with leader of the provincial opposition Cameron Dugmore (ANC) wanting to know what effect they had on Premier Alan Winde’s government.
Dugmore wanted to know whether the findings that MEC Bredell had breached the executive ethics code had tainted the image of the provincial government and what lessons had been learned from the experience.
Winde said there were no implications or impacts of this particular finding or sanction on the future functions of the provincial government and that in taking the remedial action prescribed by the public protector against Bredell he had ensured that the executive council member was held to the code of ethics as determined by the Public Protector.