21 July 2020

 

The tabling of the 2020 supplementary Budget was necessitated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn in the country. The COVID-19 pandemic required global action by all nation states to draft and implement a variety of mitigation strategies to reduce exposure to and impact of Covid-19. The responses by individual countries to the pandemic was critical in influencing the trajectory of national epidemics.

 

The role and functions performed by the Department of Human Settlements and its entities are crucial in promoting the quality of human settlements, providing social housing, promoting the interests of housing consumers, ensuring more inclusion and participation in the human settlements value chain, in light of the recent global pandemic.

 

Impact of COVID-19 on Department of Human Settlements

 

The ANC wishes to commend the Department on the work it has undertaken thus far, and will continue to undertake, as a means of fighting the invisible enemy we are faced with. It is worthwhile to take stock of some of the interventions made by the Department, which include, but not limited to the following:

  • The measures being implemented includes the provision of personal and household hygiene support Sanitizers, information on making of masks, provision of soap;
  • In the Provinces where subsidised houses were in the process of being completed the process is being expedited to allow for relocation of households out of informal settlements;
  • In conjunction with Department of Social Development and local Community Based Organizations, households are being assisted to access food relief and social grant assistance;
  • In the Metropolitan Municipalities, suitable vacant buildings have been identified to accommodate people living on the streets;
  • With the HDA and CSIR, areas of high vulnerability within informal settlements, hostels and inner cities have been identified to ensure areas are targeted for screening and testing; and
  • A Ministerial Directive supplemented by regulations, directed a moratorium has been placed on any eviction of households being carried out.

 

The ANC notes with concern the matter that Provinces and Municipalities not having submitted Business Plans. As such, we wish to implore the Department to ensure that Provinces and Municipalities submit their revised Business Plans, in accordance with the Supplementary Budget, as tabled by the Minister of Finance in June this year.

 

We note, with concern, the rejection of the Supplementary Budget from Opposition Parties. It must be emphasized that the COVID-19 pandemic knows no political allegiance, neither does it need politicking from Parties. What is needed is a unified and collective approach to fighting this invisible enemy and work towards forging a unified approach going forward.

 

Conclusion

In closing, I wish to echo the sentiments of president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, when he said: “It always seems impossible until it’s done”. Indeed, what initially seemed to be an impossible task, has been made possible by the ANC-led Government. As the ANC, we wish to express our support for the Supplementary Budget and call on the Department to continue working to ensuring our people are cushioned from the devastating impact of the pandemic.