Minister Madikizela Calls on Community Development Workers to Help in the Fight against Corruption
Mr Bonginkosi Madikizela, Minister of Human Settlements for the Provincial Government of the Western Cape has called on the Western Cape Community Development Workers (CDWs) to help in the fight against corruption in housing delivery and help develop a sense of responsibility in communities for housing delivery.
He was addressing 150 of the 170 Western Cape CDWs at the Community Development Workers Programme at the City of Cape Town on 30 August 2011. Minister Madikizela asked for an opportunity to address the CDWs to give them the recognition they deserved, and to impress upon them the importance of their role.
CDWs play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between communities and government services, making it easier for poor communities to access service delivery and other opportunities. The CDWs must both tell the community how the government works, and tell the government what the people are doing.
Owing to your close working relationship with the communities, you can become the eyes and ears in the fight against corruption at the grassroots level. If anything untoward is happening, you must report it to the right authorities so the government can take action. In this way, you can help the Department of Human Settlements fulfil its strategic mandate of providing integrated and sustainable human settlements.
Many of the houses that were given to beneficiaries in need are no longer occupied by the intended people. A survey done in Du Noon in 2009 found that 60% of houses were not occupied by the right people. I personally did a survey in an area near George and found that nine out of ten houses were not occupied by the right people. When people are not registered in the houses they live in, it's difficult for police to catch criminals. Some government provided houses have been turned into spaza shops.
Other houses have been sold for a fraction of their real value, and the beneficiaries move back to shacks. In other communities, people pay money to corrupt local organisers to be on the housing list, which is not in line with government policy. We then have situations where healthy young people are living in houses while old people who have been patiently waiting for many years are still living in shacks. Through alerting the government that these problems are happening, they can be cracked down upon.
In the last quarter, CDWs have facilitated 76 information-sharing issues and referred 5 375 cases to various government departments for community members to access services and provide assistance in accessing these services.
CDWs also play a pivotal role in housing-related disasters. In May 2011, 1 500 shacks burnt in Masiphumelele Community in Fish Hoek. Victims lost everything, including ID documents. CDWs worked around the clock to produce 700 ID photos at no cost to the community members, which were used for applications for new ID documents to Department of Home Affairs."