18 December 2018

South Africa: Mashaba Lambasts MEC Uhuru Moiloa Over Reduction in Housing Grant

City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has lambasted Gauteng MEC Uhuru Moiloa about the reduction of the Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) for the municipality.

"Earlier this year, the provincial government, without warning or reason, reduced the City's Human Settlements Development Grant funding by R180m for the current financial year.

"Today, the MEC bizarrely claimed that the reason for withdrawing the funding was as a result of the City not paying developers, not completing projects and failing to communicate with provincial government," he said.

Moiloa is the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Human Settlements.

Misleading statement

But Mashaba claimed the statement was grossly misleading and a clear illustration of Moiloa's interest in playing politics instead of seeing to the housing needs of the residents.

Over the past few months, the City and the housing department have been locked in an ongoing dispute over redemption claims that must be sent to the provincial Department of Human Settlements in for the province to release HSDG funding.

He said that, by August this year, the City had addressed challenges it had during the 2017/18 financial year with contractors for the development of multi-year projects.

The resolution reached was communicated to the province, he added.

"The MEC would seem to be unaware of these developments. Indeed, the continued development of these multi-year projects is dependent on receiving the required funding from province, which had been agreed to," he said.

He also said the municipality was in possession of correspondence which showed that the City had complied with all its redemption claims, but added that the province "disingenuously" claimed this was not the case.

He pointed out that the Lufhereng project was stalled by illegal invasions at the site of the project.

"This included the invasion of 18 out of 30 housing projects for military veterans. Again, this was a matter where assistance was sought from the province and national [government] to address the invasion issue. Again, the MEC would seem to be playing ignorance to these matters."

Mashaba said the City had been allocated R411m for housing projects prior to the prior to the 2016 elections. However, this was reduced by R66m. The following year, the province reduced the City's HSDG funding from R411m to R145m.

The City was of the opinion that the decision to withhold a major portion of the HSDG funding was irrational and arbitrary.

He said he wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa, Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Minister of Human Settlements Nomaindia Mfeketo on December 5 to request intervention.

"As matters stand, the City has no choice but to institute an inter-governmental dispute and/or approach the High Court of South Africa requesting that they review and set aside this irrational decision," he added.

Source: News24

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