Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said on Thursday said that the City manager will be writing to the director-general of National Treasury, Dondo Mogajane, to seek their urgent intervention in the R180-million housing funding dispute with the Gauteng province.
This comes after Mashaba and Meshack van Wyk, member of mayoral committee for housing, visited the Riverside Housing Project, south of Joburg.
Mashaba said the completion of 1 485 RDP units will be stalled after the provincial government decided to reduce the City’s Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) funding by R180-million to R68-million, from the R248-million initially allocated at the beginning of the financial year.
Mashaba said that the City has exhausted the inter-governmental relations framework in attempting to engage MEC for human settlements Uhuru Moiloa, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, human settlements minister Nomaindia Mfeketo and President Cyril Ramaphosa on the decision to reduce its HSDG, but these efforts had been ignored outright.
He said that the Riverside Housing Project is just one of the numerous housing developments across Johannesburg which will now come to a grinding halt as a result of the Gauteng provincial government's "abuse of power" in cutting the City’s funding.
"What is evident from this oversight visit today is that foundational work has already been completed and developers were ready to come on site to continue the construction of the houses. This clearly shows the lies being peddled by the MEC of Human Settlements, Uhuru Moiloa, when he alleges that our money was reduced as a result of contractors not being appointed or paid," Mashaba said.
"The decision to reduce Johannesburg’s HSDG funding comes on the back of the City spending 98 percent of its housing capital budget last year, and having contractors on the ground busy with construction. The decision is clearly irrational and informed by political considerations rather than the interests of our residents who are suffering as a result of the 300 000 housing unit backlog inherited by the multi-party government in Johannesburg."
Mashaba said housing developments in Elias Motsoaledi for military veterans, the Fleurhof, South Hills, and Riverside View RDP housing developments, will not proceed as a result of the decision by the provincial government. Johannesburg has a housing backlog of an estimated 300 000 units needed by some of the poorest residents.
The City has now appointed external lawyers as it is of the view that it has no option other than to approach the courts on an urgent basis to challenge the decision.