Inadequate infrastructure came under the spotlight when Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements visited Mpumalanga recently.
The committee visited the province as part of its oversight programme on government’s work bemoaned bulk sewer and water infrastructure challenges at few projects in Govan Mbeki and Steve Tshwete Local Municipalities. The visit was to assess programmes and progress on the implementation of comprehensive integrated human settlements projects in the province.
Led by Chairperson, Ms Nocawe Mafu, the committee held various meetings with officials from the Department and five municipalities and discussed the state of service delivery. After the meetings, the Committee visited various projects amongst others, Breaking New Ground (BNG), Informal Settlements Upgrading, and Integrated Residential Development Programme in Mbombela, Thaba Chweu, Govan Mbeki, Emalahleni and Steve Tshwete municipalities.
Mafu said the committee wanted to support the Department and municipalities. “Remember the budget for human settlements for Provinces comes from the National Department which we must oversee as the portfolio committee. So when we do oversight, we also need to follow the money allocated to provinces to see if it still carries out the purpose it is meant for,” she said. Mafu noted that despite a few challenges picked up there had been a lot of improvements since the committee’s last visit in 2015.
Accompanying the committee, Head of Human Settlements, Mr Kebone Masange indicated that the improvement came after the Department had a number of service delivery meetings with municipalities. The visits assessed the management of beneficiaries list in making sure they are compliant with the Department’s policy.
“The bigger challenge that we are facing are lack of bulk infrastructure and illegal invasion of houses, but we are working close with municipalities to ensure that rightful beneficiaries get their houses,” said Masange.
The committee’s visit to the province coincided with the Taking the Legislature to the People (TLP) which took place at Govan Mbeki Local Municipality. This is when the the sittings of the provincial Legislature take place in selected communities to encourage public participation and allow easy interaction between elected public representatives and the people.