–  Contribution made by UDM Member of Parliament, Ms CN Majeke, in the National Assembly

Honourable Chairperson
Minister and Deputy Minister
Honourable Members

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) welcomes the strategic thrust of the policy statement by the Minister as captured in her foreword of the departmental five year strategic annual performance plans 2014/19.

We believe that there can be a working relationship between the provision of houses as a basic shelter, quality accommodation and shorter delivery turnaround time.

The delivery of houses through community based cooperatives as an option will make a significant intervention in creating job opportunities, transfer skills to communities whilst creating value to property ownership. UDM support community housing building programmes.

Housing policy should also be located within the larger economic strategy as one mechanism of creating jobs towards combating and eradicating homelessness and poverty. Ownership of houses without jobs has proven to be unsustainable and sometimes destructive as owners tend to either sell or rent them out in exchange for a short term relief from hunger.

The commitment of the Minister to “decent accommodation” is well appreciated, as UDM we believe that houses ought to be a shelter, enough to accommodate a family. This means, future human settlements should enable communities to find and or create jobs and get access to social services within their area so that we can create communities that are economically viable and self-reliant.

The performance and service delivery information is raising a number of issues some of which we are concerned with and in this regard, we invite the honourable Minister to take action on those matters. Amongst those is the reported low performance by the Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces which have high housing backlog both for urban and rural communities.

Statistics shows that the backlog on sanitation is largely accounted for by rural areas, in this regard; the department cannot afford to under spend on the Rural Housing Infrastructure Grant. Traditional leaders as role players in the housing sector must be brought closer to this process and avoid repeated under expenditure when services are desperately needed by communities.

The municipal human settlement capacity programme should come as a mitigating factor in the increasing substance and travel expenditure. In the same vein, the projected increase on compensation of employees for the financial season 2014/15 to 2016/17 must reverse the increase on consultants and professional expenditure as reported under programme 3. This means the department must as it reduces vacancies, targets technical skills, amongst others, to provide the required technical assistance provided to the 53 municipalities.

Programme four expenditure will require dedicated monitoring and evaluation with early warning systems and we hope the Minister will ensure that such transfers are used within a specified financial season for intended purposes.

Thank you