ANC members in the Western Cape legislature have been told to keep pace with programmes and policy changes introduced by their national ministers.

This comes after ANC MPL Khaya Magaxa quizzed Premier Helen Zille about the provincial government’s strategy to spend 70 percent of the Western Cape’s Human Settlements budget on basic service and informal settlement upgrades, and 30 percent on low-cost houses.

Magaxa said it was wrong to spend most of the budget, which came largely from the national government specifically for houses, on toilets and taps.

He asked Zille whether she agreed it was wrong and whether she would do anything about it.

Zille responded that incremental housing and basic services first, and then houses, was what national Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale had instructed provinces to do.

She said Sexwale had told her at a meeting this week that building thousands of low-cost houses every year was unsustainable.

“It is time the ANC kept pace with their own minister’s programme,” Zille said. “In fact, he (Sexwale) said we will eventually have to phase out free housing completely.”

Zille said the Western Cape government was carrying out what Sexwale had requested.

ANC provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile described the strategy to upgrade informal settlements and provide basic services as a “a backwards plan”. “People need houses,” he said.

“The DA is turning informal settlements into ghettos.”

There are over 500 000 names on the province’s housing waiting list.

Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela said it would take about 30 years to work through it.

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Cape Argus