Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba on Friday said the provincial government had reduced the city’s Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) funding by R180-million for the current financial year, a move he said would worsen its housing crisis, and urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene.
Mashaba's Democratic Alliance runs Johannesburg in a coalition with other opposition parties, while Ramaphosa's ruling African National Congress controls Gauteng province under which the city falls.
"At the start of this financial year, the city was informed that our HSDG funding would be in the region of R248-million on the basis of the city’s department of housing’s business plans, which were adopted by council and ultimately the province," Mashaba said.
"To our shock, a recently published gazette indicated that the city’s HSDG funding from provincial government would only amount to R68-million – wholly insufficient to meet the desperate housing needs of our residents."
He said efforts to get Gauteng Premier David Makhura and national Human Settlements minister Nomaindia Mfeketo to intervene had failed.
"I have therefore been left with no option but to call on President Ramaphosa, as the highest authority in the land, to urgently intervene to prevent this irrational administrative decision which will have a profoundly negative impact on our residents, especially the poor," he said.
The city of Johannesburg has a housing backlog of an estimated 300 000 units needed by some of its poorest residents.