Human Settlements engages with George Municipality on Covid-19 challenges
Yesterday, on the second day of my visit to the Garden Route, I met with the Executive Mayor of George, Mr Leon van Wyk and Mayco members of the Municipality. During the visit and along with my Department’s senior executive team we shared the funding and financial planning models used by the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements.
It is crucial that everyone within the municipal sphere and most importantly the citizens whom we serve, know exactly how we plan and budget. Through these transparent processes we are ensuring that all stakeholders, which includes councilors, officials and the public at large, are empowered. This is also assisting in ensuring that citizens will not allow themselves to be misled by dubious characters, particularly those who seeks to disturb the peace in communities, as the community now have all the relevant information about what can be expected in their areas.
For the 20/21 financial year, George Municipality’s allocation is R154 million which is the lion’s share of the budget in the Garden Route District. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has brought us new challenges and new realities, particularly from an economic perspective, all three spheres of government are forced to start functioning unusually. This means budgets that were allocated for various deliverables will have to be reallocated and reprioritised. As the municipality is still expected to deliver to its residents, alternatives such as Sustainable Building Technologies (SBT’s) and other affordable housing solutions should be found for their citizens.
I’ve made certain proposals and have encouraged the municipality to engage other local spheres within the province to enquire what innovative methods they are implementing. I will also return in due course to offer further options. It was pleasing to note the enthusiasm displayed by the Mayor and his team for SBT’s and other proactive solutions that could be utilised to deliver to the citizens of the municipality.
Pursuant to the day’s engagements, I also handed over 12 title deeds to beneficiaries in Borchards, Parkdene and Rosemoor. These residents were waiting for between 16 and 43 years. After this long and unfortunate wait, they are finally fully-fledged and legal homeowners, and I am glad I could share in their moment of joy.
As the Western Cape Government, we remain committed to accelerating human settlement delivery, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, resilient, safe and sustainable human settlements in an open opportunity society.