Limpopo’s recently handed over temporary shelters send tongues wagging

SEKHUKHUNE – Following the handover of 40 temporary dwellings erected at Talana Hostel in Tzaneen last week by Limpopo Premier Chupu Mathabatha, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo has cautioned Coghsta MEC, Basikopo Makamu that the shelters in Talana and the 152 soon to be handed over in Burgersfort’s Extension 10 could not be permanent solutions.

The DA said it was aware of the fact that the Housing Development Agency (HAD) took a holistic approach towards the de-densification during the Covid-19 pandemic, but they did not believe that the approach would assist Limpopo in any way to alleviate the housing backlog of 80 000 the province.

Jacques Smalle, DA Spokesperson on Coghsta, said the combined budget allocation for the two projects of R24.3 million to provide temporary solutions at Talana Hostel and Burgersfort Extension 10 was simply unacceptable and the DA would scrutinize the tender processes and allocations of those projects.

Smalle said the HAD fortified R1.7 billion and Limpopo Coghsta R114 million, that was initially allocated for housing, to the ANC’s Covid-19 slush fund.

“The reduction in these budgets will increase further pressure on the housing backlogs in Limpopo. The R114 million forfeited could have been used to build 760 RDP houses. The housing beneficiaries who received the Talana Hostel structures come from extreme poverty and some have been waiting for houses for a decade. Without a clear time frame of when permanent RDP housing will be constructed and handed over, the dignity of these beneficiaries remain violated,” said Smalle.

Motupa Selomo, Limpopo Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs Spokesperson, said the immediate intention and purpose of the housing units was to provide a safer and secure human settlement environment to the residents of Talana Hostel on a temporary basis during the period of rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Selomo said that had been done to allow decongestion in the current informal settlement to ensure social distancing in mitigation of Covid-19.

“Of utmost importance to note, is that the department has been having plans underway to translate the Talana Old Hostel into modern community residential units to benefit 168 families with business and recreational facilities,” said Selomo.

Thapelo Motseo

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