Western Cape Human Settlements Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela has established a Multiparty Forum in the George Municipality, through which communities can engage with the municipality in a structured and ordered way. He negotiated this agreement with various community leaders of George.
The need for Minister Madikizela to intervene arose due to insufficient communication between the George Municipality, and the local branch of the ANC, PBI, Coalition Partners and the Organizing Committee of the recent protest action in the area. Minister Madikizela met with local leaders at a recent sod turning for the Ithembalethu housing project, and committed to returning to the area to meet and hear their concerns.
On returning, he met with the leaders on 6 November 2012, and agreed to establish a Multiparty Forum which will fairly and democratically represent the interests of the broader community, and through which the community will be able to communicate with the George Municipality. The principles of structured engagement were presented to the press at the King George Hotel in George, on 7 November 2012.
The first meeting of the forum will take place during the third week of January 2013 and immediately thereafter public engagement will follow. This will pave the way in addressing the housing issues of the community, and through the municipality and forum working better together, improve service delivery in the area.
The Department has an obligation to impartially and transparently engage all the residents of the Western Cape who have valid concerns, and to best meet those concerns with the resources available, in a way that is fair for everyone. Minister Madikizela has stated that service delivery must be non-political, and everyone must have equal access to housing opportunities. However, with a provincial backlog of 500 000 households in need of formal housing, it will take around 30 years to clear the backlog with the current resources available. With such a demand and with limited resources, any allocation of housing opportunities must be done in a way that is fair for all, and prioritizes those in need, such as the elderly.