From the start, allow me to acknowledge that work is being done in the affordable housing space and with limited resources. Government bodies and associated bodies formed to fast track housing are working under incredibly tough conditions as are the private developers.
The problem is around the land issue, title deeds and other government departments that just seem to be slow and use bureaucracy to slow the process even more.
One does hear stories about ‘if one knows this person and that person they have no problems’ but this is wrong.
The Public Service is there to serve the people of this land equally and efficiently. Pipe dream in Africa! Not at all. The use of electronic means has shown how effective obtaining an ID or passport is, or how a driver’s licence renewal can be painless. Okay, so one has to sit in a queue, but the queue does move.
CAHF in a recent report by the Transaction Support Centre, together with 71point4, put forward in their recommendations for the need to “develop a more accessible and affordable formal property transfer process.” They indicated that this is a priority.
The report also raised the thought that they cannot shed light on why so little has been done, “and why there appears to be little urgency with regard to reform. It is puzzling that policymakers and legislators appear to have been content to allow known problems with current systems and processes to persist in an area as critical as property transfer.”
This affects the low-income earners as much as it does all income earners. We make the point of low-income earners as some of our public service believe it is their function to make life as difficult and as unpleasant for low-income earners as possible. This shows in a number of departments like UIF, Home Affairs offices and local government in particular.
So, credit to those public servants who do their best, and there are some. To the pompous bureaucrats, try to remember who pays your salaries and become servants of the public.
We need to get these issues dealt with and perhaps the Portfolio Committees involved can start addressing these issues and demanding changes happen and happen quickly so that we can provide the houses that are needed.