South Africa 5.4.2017 06:11 am

Ekurhuleni mayor addresses land, housing issues

APPEAL. Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina addresses the Langaville Extension 10 community regarding
illegal electricity connections on Friday.

APPEAL. Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina addresses the Langaville Extension 10 community regarding illegal electricity connections on Friday.

Mzwandile Masina says a budget has been allocated to deal with issues raised by readers.

1) I am curious to find out where the municipality stands as far as the graves issue is concerned. For years, it has been plagued by a serious lack of space for cemeteries. This affects burial capacity. What plans have been put in place to solve the problem? – Lee.

One of the key challenges we are confronted with, as the city, is land. We have vast land which is in private hands which isn’t effectively utilised. We are in the process of auditing land and where need be, expropriate it for such purposes.

We are conducting an audit on possible areas where we can reserve areas for cemeteries. This, however, is also in line with our entire human settlements development plan, so that as and when space is allocated, such issues are considered.

2) Ekurhuleni has more than 100 informal settlements. What progress has been made to narrow the gap with the housing backlog and to make sure that those people who have been waiting on a house for many years get the home they deserve. Also, do they have a budget and how big are the waiting lists? – Noni.

We are working towards upgrading the spatial profile of the informal settlements, that house about 164 000 households. We will give to the people all municipal land that was classified as “illegally occupied” by people in informal settlements.

It is for this reason that the city, working together with the provincial and national governments, as well as private developers, is embarking on six mega housing projects over the next five-years to respond to the housing and human settlement needs of our people.

In pursuit of this objective, we have secured and are in the process of securing more land to enable us to provide bulk services for housing settlements like Leeuwpoort, Clayville Ext 15, John Dube and Daggafontein.

In the current financial year, the city will deliver approximately 5 000 housing units and in the next financial year of 2017-18, the city will deliver an additional 8 000 housing units. We also know that housing needs extend beyond the categories of the needy, the indigent and the elderly.

We will be assisting those who fall into that bracket of not being indigent but, equally, can’t afford loans from banks.

This strategy involves the delivery of fully subsidised units targeting the poorest of the poor. It includes the finance-linked subsidy programme for people whose income is above the threshold for an RDP house but below qualification for a bond. This is what we call the missing-middle. Our housing delivery strategy also includes social housing units for middle-income earners looking for rental stock and bonded units.

3) Opposition councillors were forcefully thrown out of the council chambers during a recent council meeting. It was upsetting and disturbing to read that the council chamber was turned into a boxing ring. The mayor was not allowed to speak and had to do so outside. How disrespectful. What are the rules of the “House” when it comes to council as to avoid such drama in future? Can councillors who cause havoc be barred or get a fine to prevent his from happening? – Jane.

The only thing the speaker is at liberty to do, Jane, is to order that people be removed.

This in accordance to the House rules. The abuse of democratic institutions is unfortunate as the State of the City remains an important address, not just for council but our citizens. The speaker can, however, consult the executive committee with respect to the enforcement of the code of conduct and including suspension.

4) There have been widespread water shortages in informal settlements like Ramaphosa Extension 5 and Reiger Park in Boksburg. People had to queue with buckets for a single tap in the street. What is being done about this situation?

Water is a serious issue and as an integral part of providing services formally in settlements, our quantum leap mega project aims to increase the security of water supply by generating an additional 635 mega litres of water.

The city has budgeted an investment spending of R8 billion towards the project. We are working on building 45 more pump stations for both water and sewage in the next five years. This remains a major challenge, given that we are fast depleting the most important resource, water.

We must preserve it and ensure that we don’t find ourselves where much-needed reserves become a scarce commodity. Ramaphosa and Reiger Park remain key priorities as we also start the process of building houses such as those being built at Leeuwport in
Boksburg.

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