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ANC must take responsibility for country’s housing problems

(Parliamentary Budget Vote Debate: Human Settlement)

The real name of South Africa's housing problem is well known. It is ANC.

The reasons for it are diverse, but equally well known: From Affirmative Action (AA) and Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), where cadre deployment and corruption flourish, to utter incompetence on all levels.

Add to that a lack of political will to address future problems, caused by factors such as the uncontrolled influx of people, and it creates a housing crisis with disastrous consequences.

The fear of illegal land occupations and the consequences thereof in urban areas especially is becoming more palpable by the day.

The irony of this ticking time bomb is that there is land available in and around metros that could be used for housing. The FF Plus confirmed this years ago through official queries.

In 2020, the then Minister of Water, Sanitation and Human Settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu, conducted a survey, on request of the FF Plus, to determine the availability of municipal and state land around metros, which could possibly be used for developing housing projects.

According to her at the time, there were 14 000 hectares available. The land merely had to be rezoned to residential property.

The current situation makes it clear that in the interim no real planning has been done to make the land available. And the anticipated outcomes are now starting to realise.

The problem is exacerbated by people occupying regions not suitable for housing, that are earmarked for other developments, or where service delivery is difficult.

The inevitable result of this is that tempers flare due to the lack of services, which ultimately leads to protest actions that cause great damage and disruption for everyone living in the area.

The good relationships between people are destroyed in the process, while the backlog with the building of new houses becomes bigger with every passing year.

Where housing projects do take place, any progress is undone by the effects of AA and BEE as cadre deployment appears to be much more important than good workmanship, expertise or service delivery.

In Misgund in the Eastern Cape, 300 houses were built but all of them had to be torn down again and then rebuilt.

In Vrede in the Free State, a housing project of R150 million was awarded to a contractor of which the daughter of the ANC's former Secretary-General, Ace Magashule, is a shareholder.

The outcome was easy to predict and the project was not even completed. The people paying for this ludicrousness are the taxpayers of South Africa.

There is no doubt that the construction of affordable housing must be fast-tracked. The current situation is unbearable and heading for disaster.

It will, sadly, not happen under the ANC government, which is inextricably intertwined with corruption. South Africa and its people deserve better than the ANC.

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