SALGA PLANS AHEAD
By: Sibusisiwe Buthelezi and Bekhekile Khuphe
A widespread of the densification system should be expected in KwaZulu-Natal soon. This is after the province’s MEC for Human Settlements Ravi Pillay said it is the quickest way to deliver housing for all.
Addressing councillors at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban on Thursday, Pillay mentioned that the issue of land was concerning, and government is finding it challenging to find land to deliver housing for all.
“If you look at Cato Crest, a lot of people keep on coming from rural areas. We built houses before in that area, but there are too many people and we cannot fit that many houses on that land,” Pillay said.
Chairperson of South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Welcome Mdabe, said that housing is the key issue and always comes first on the list of complaints from communities. Other high ranking issues from communities are electricity and water.
“We have ensured that come June next year, six out of eight municipalities will be responsible for speeding up the process of housing. There have been a number of creative ideas and plans that have been put forward by local government,” Mdabe alluded.
He also said that a good relationship between the political sphere and the community could result in speedy delivery of development.
KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu said that the government is looking into urbanising rural areas. He added that too many people come to urban areas in search of modern resources, better housing and roads that are up to standard. Provincial government is responsible for assisting local municipalities to achieve these objectives.
“People leave their homes because they want development, they want parks. If we as government can build parks in rural areas and bring development to them, they won’t feel the need to move to urban areas,” said Mchunu.
Mchunu said the success and progress in the province lies in the provincial and local sphere of governance. He further said that there has been progress made on finance, management positions in the municipalities and the fight against unemployment and social development. There is no kind of challenge, in terms of service delivery, they cannot overcome.
Mchunu appealed to the KZN Chamber of Commerce, the KZN Growth Coalition and other business structures to work with municipalities to resolve debt problems owed to municipalities by the government.
He said the provincial and national departments owe municipalities millions of rands and failure to pay for services rendered by municipalities may result in a setback in service delivery.
“Cash is the lifeblood of an organisation and it is a vital element in the success and continuity of the municipality. Therefore the municipality’s cash flow is one of the most indicators of financial health. Revenue and debts collection is one critical element which ensures a healthy financial status of a municipality,” he said.
EThekwini Mayor, Councillor James Nxumalo, said they will work together with SALGA in dealing with issues arising at local municipalities and with the implementation of government programs.
“Working together as a province and a country becomes imperative in enhancing the national development plan,” Nxumalo said.