A reply to a DA parliamentary question reveals that Minister of Human Settlements, Tokyo Sexwale, only managed to spend 5.8% (R27.8 million) of the R479.5 million budgeted for the Rural Household Infrastructure Grant (RHIG).
The Rural Household Infrastructure Programme (RHIP) aims to eradicate rural sanitation backlogs and is targeted at existing households without access to water and sanitation. Approximately 2.4 million households are still lacking basic sanitation services.
The bulk of the RHIG is allocated to two service providers, the Independent Development Trust (IDT) with an allocated R150 million and Mvula Trust with an allocated R130 million. IDT spent a mere 0.6% (R913 307) of their budget, with Mvula Trust faring only slightly better, spending 5.8% (7.5 million) of their allocated budget.
Despite Minister Sexwale acknowledgment of the incapacity of current service providers to effectively implement the RHIP, a budget of R199.5 million remains unallocated.
Six months into the financial year, a 94.2% backlog in spending on critical infrastructure is hard to stomach.
Last year, just 20% of the RHIG was spent on the projects it was earmarked for. There appears to be a growing trend of gross under-expenditure.
The Minister can no longer delay the urgent appointment of additional service providers to expedite the implementation of this programme. I will today write to the Chairperson of the Human Settlements Committee to request that Minister Sexwale be called before the committee to explain what measure he will take to appoint additional service providers with the capacity to implement the RHIP as a matter of urgency.
Decent quality sanitation services remain a major challenge for the poor. It is time for Minister Sexwale to get his house in order and provide people with dignified access to water and sanitation services.