AMID all the protests for housing that have taken place over the past month, it was revealing this week to see the work that has been accomplished towards housing the needy over the past few years, as well as the plans in the pipeline.
It is not as though nothing has been happening. Houses have been built, and people have homes that they never had before.
It just has not been happening fast enough for some people. They see houses going up in other areas and being given to other people, and they despair and envy, and get impatient over their own circumstances.
But Rome was not built in a day, and neither were the towns that make up Ndlambe. They were built up over generations, along with supporting infrastructure like roads, water, electricity and sewerage.
The present government made grand promises that all would be housed, and perhaps they overestimated their own resources, underestimated the cost, and could not achieve the timeframe in which this could be accomplished.
With an ever-growing population and ongoing urbanisation and densification, it is unlikely the government will ever reach the end of a goal to provide housing to every citizen of this country
But the government has plodded on, having to deal with setbacks like improperly appointed, incompetent and unscrupulous contractors who built on the cheap, requiring a massive rectification programme that has now been abandoned in favour of new homes.
The government had noble ideals, but not always clean hands. Who can tell how much money has been wasted or stolen that could have gone towards housing for the poor?
With an ever-growing population and ongoing urbanisation and densification, it is unlikely the government will ever reach the end of a goal to provide housing to every citizen of this country – that is, the ones who do not have a home already.
It will be a project in perpetuity, and it will cost a whole lot more than initially thought.
It is true, that those of us who live in sturdy shelter, protected from the elements – whether it be our own home or a house we rent – may not often think of those who live in shacks and squalor.
It is easy to just rest in our own contentment, or be concerned over our own needs.
But with or without our voluntary charity to the less fortunate, every taxpayer in this country is contributing towards subsidised government housing. It is one of the ways wealth is being redistributed in this country.
We hope the protestors who have been venting their frustration over long-expected housing realise that their government has been at work on this, but that there have been delays beyond the control of officialdom.
– Jon Houzet