[Fwd: Zuma loses his cool at SA's housing failure (summarised)]

By Xolani Mbanjwa
Political Bureau

The government had failed millions of people who were living "like pigs"
in informal settlements, and efforts to explain to them why this was so
after more than a decade and a half of democracy would be meaningless,
President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.

Zuma told a meeting of the President's Co-ordinating Council that the
conditions he found on Monday's unannounced visit to Johannesburg's
Sweetwaters informal settlement had brought him close to tears.

He was addressing a special meeting of the council, which brings
together ministers, premiers, MECs and mayors to deal with service
issues across national, provincial and local government.

The focus on Tuesday was on "unpacking the human settlements delivery
agreement" and discussing solutions to obstacles blocking provision of
service, Zuma said. He rebuked departments for having budget rollovers
every year and said he could not comprehend how the state could fail to
spend money while service lagged behind.

"One lady lives in a place that when you come in, you may believe that
people left this shack 10 years ago. People are sleeping like pigs,"
Zuma said.

"How does it happen that some of our people still live in such areas, 16
years into our freedom and democracy?" Zuma asked.

Zuma expressed dismay at government officials who, he said, were aware
of shack-dwellers' living conditions, but who sat on their hands.

He also questioned foreign nationals who "forged" documents to gain
access to services meant for South African citizens, and locals who
received government houses and chose to sell or rent them out and move
back into shacks.

This article was originally published on page 5 of The Cape Times on May
19, 2010


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