Minister Patricia De Lille politicising land release to Western Cape
The National Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), Patricia De Lille, is politicising the release of land from her department to the Western Cape, and thereby failing to follow the important principle of cooperative governance.
This is not in the interests of especially our poorest residents, who need access to dignified and safe housing opportunities.
It is noted in the media that Minister De Lille has said that she has signed off the release of 6 parcels of land for human settlement purposes in the Western Cape. These are: “6.9ha in Stellenbosch; 12ha in Driftsands: 11ha that was in two parcels in Ruiterbos Forest Village, Mossel Bay; and 3.5ha that was in two parcels of land in Wellington.”
However, to date, neither the Western Cape Government (WCG) nor the Western Cape Housing Development Agency (HDA) have received any formal correspondence of this release. It is disappointing that Minister De Lille chooses to communicate through the media only.
I’ve also noted that none of the municipalities where the properties are located nor any other provincial department have received any correspondence from the Minister.
This is petty and it demonstrates a refusal to abide by the constitutionally enshrined principle of cooperative governance.
The Western Cape Government is committed to working with different spheres of government to ensure our residents benefit from housing opportunities.
Our positive cooperation with the National Minister of Human Settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu, for example, demonstrates that it is possible and important for different spheres of government to work together, especially when the challenge is shared.
I urge Minister De Lille to emulate this cooperative governance spirit so that we can get to work.
In this spirit, I will be writing to the national Minister to ask for further information regarding her comments made in the media. I will specifically ask:
- When can we expect formal correspondence from Minister de Lille’s office regarding the release of land in the Western Cape?
- Which properties have been released, and can a description and location be provided?
- Are these properties fit for human settlement development?
- If these properties have in fact been released, when will the Power of Attorney (PoA) be issued, so that the receiver of the properties can commence with statutory processes, such as Water Use License Assessments (WULA), Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and town planning or any other statutory processes on the owner’s land?
In the Western Cape, between 2009 to date, a total of approximately 360 ha of land in the ownership of the WCG has been availed for residential development purposes. This will over time yield 18 782 housing opportunities. These parcels include Ithemba, Penhill, Khayelitsha, Eersteriver, Blue Downs, Kuilsriver, Belhar, Mitchells Plain, Charlesville, Paarl and George.
Against a target of 219 664 during 2009 – 2019, the Western Cape created 231 090 housing opportunities.
As the Western Cape Government, we remain committed to accelerating human settlement delivery, utilising technology, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, resilient, safe and sustainable human settlements in an open society.
As we seek to do this, we ask that the Minister stop the pettiness and abide by the principle of cooperative governance.