Residents remain desperate for dignified housing while Gauteng Human Settlements underspent by R226m

24 Nov 2021 in Press Statements

Gauteng residents across the province are in desperate need of dignified housing, while some residing in hostels and informal settlements continue to live in inhumane and appalling conditions due to the Gauteng Department of Human Settlement’s failure to spend its allocated budget for housing.

Many people are forced to rent backyard rooms in townships and space to erect their shacks in someone’s yard, yet they have been on the housing waiting lists for years with still no guarantee on whether they will be allocated housing.

The Gauteng Department of Human Settlements revealed in their annual report that they had underspent by R226 million for the 2020/21 financial year.

The R226 million could have built 1,948 houses. If these were to accommodate families of four, 7,792 people would have been housed. While this would be only be a minor dent in the massive housing backlog, it would have been a step forward for residents looking for a roof over their heads.

According to the report, the department severely underspent in the following programmes: R147,669,000 on the Housing Delivery Programme, underspent by R31,471,000 on the Housing Assets Management Property Planning Programme and R4,685,000 on the Housing Needs, Research and Planning Programme.

Furthermore, the department also underspent on Conditional Grant 1 for Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) by R60 872 000 and also underspent on Conditional Grant 2: Title Deeds Restoration Grants (TRG) by R12 153 000.

This under expenditure by the department is also noted in the Auditor General’s (AG) report which highlights that the department had irregular expenditure amounting to R361 816 000 as a result of supply chain management processes not followed. The department also incurred fruitless and wasteful expenditure to the amount of R118 369 000 in the year under review.

In terms of the internal controls deficiencies, the AG made the following findings: the accounting officer failed to exercise oversight responsibility regarding financial and performance reporting and compliance, senior management did not implement effective controls over daily and monthly processing and reconciling of transactions to support financial reporting on various disclosure items and did not review and monitor compliance with relevant laws and regulations, resulting in material non-compliance.

For far too long, the DA has been demanding that the Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Lebogang Maile implement operational accountability to ensure that all staff are committed and accountable to their obligations. There is consistent, huge underspending in the department because senior managers are not held to account.

This department needs to show some empathy and care about our resident’s dire need for dignified housing.

The DA will continue to hold MEC Maile accountable for his department’s failure to spend on its allocated budget and committing a serious crime against the most vulnerable residents by failing to spend the housing budget.