Housing funds squandered

WHEN the news surfaced that Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale had canned the R22million play commissioned by his department, former Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu's spokesman told Radio 702 that she was unaware of this expenditure because there were accounting officers in the department.

WHEN the news surfaced that Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale had canned the R22million play commissioned by his department, former Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu's spokesman told Radio 702 that she was unaware of this expenditure because there were accounting officers in the department.

In other words, the blame lay with the accounting officers.

While I don't absolve the accounting officers from this waste, I have come to believe that this department has a lot of money if R22million can be spent on an inconsequential venture and the minister is unaware of it.

I assume that if the money had been spent on the 474 houses it could build, the minister would have taken notice and even reported on it.

Apart from the corruption we hear in the allocation of houses at grass-roots level, it seems top officials in that department spend money with reckless abandon.

While Tokyo Sexwale was spending a night in a shack to experience how poor people live, the director-general and his deputy had in just seven months spent close R2million in travel and hotel accommodation.

This might just be what we know so far. It is absolutely ridiculous, a complete disregard for the people who are always on the streets pleading for houses and it makes a mockery of Sexwale's shack visit.

Sexwale runs a department with a hold on social stability and he has his job cut out for him. If he intends to allocate houses to the people who have waited for them for years, he needs to start with the rot surrounding him. Housing delivery doesn't seem to be a priority to those at the top.

Maybe Sexwale should begin by assessing them on their record of delivery rather than on their expenditure and lifestyle.

Stephen Twinoburyo, Pretoria

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