The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng (DA) is shocked to learn that the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) is currently spending just over R3 million on vacant buildings, yet they are unable to provide adequate shelters for the homeless in Gauteng.

This was revealed to me in a reply to my written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature by the MEC for Infrastructure Development Tasneem Motara.

The MEC further indicated that in total there are 12 commercial buildings and 35 residential vacant buildings that need to be maintained by the department at a cost of R3 036 818.15

These vacant buildings offer an opportunity for the Department of Human Settlements and the Department of Social Development to work together, to allocate some of these buildings for a combination of social housing schemes and much needed shelters.

Some of these buildings have been vacant for years, some even dating back to 2011. It is high time that GPG takes into consideration the needs of homeless people in the province and also give them an opportunity to access resources like any other resident.

The DA will continue to ask questions around government’s plans for the homeless in the province and we will also be tabling a motion in the legislature calling on Premier David Makhura and the Gauteng Government to look at allocating some of these vacant buildings to NGOs and NPOs who work with the homeless.

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