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Ethical leadership and integrated sustainable human settlements

10 September 2007

Themba Mzondi, a PR and Media Intern at DEVELOPMENT WORKS, attended the Conference on Ethical Leadership in and through Politics which was held recently at the University of Western Cape. He attended the session titled TOWARDS INTEGRATED SUSTAINABLE HUMAN SETTLEMENTS WITH DEVELOPMENTAL AND WELL-GOVERNED MUNICIPALITIES WITH EFFECTIVE SERVICE DELIVERY – CHALLENGES AND SUCCESSES. Themba shares his perspectives and experiences on MEC Richard Dyanti’s contribution to this debate….

It was on a Friday morning 07 September 2007, when the University of the Western Cape’s lecture theatre was filled to capacity for the event that would be shared by the Western Cape MEC for housing and local government, Mr. Richard Dyantyi.

The aim of the conference was for government to get in touch with its citizens and most of all to discuss about politics, leadership and ethics. Dyanti, who was dressed in a black fancy suite, opened with the statement that many visitors never expected to hear from government. The statement was brave and honest, which is a form of great leadership.

Challenges we are faced with, far exceeds the successes we have achieved’, this was the opening statement of Mr. Richard Dyantyi as he elaborated on service delivery in the Western Cape. According to Richard, poor service delivery is influenced by politics, simply because management of the city of Cape Town is changed all the time, as a result leads to plans and strategies being cancelled or changed and therefore affecting service delivery. He further acknowledged that there are house holds in the Western Cape below the poverty line as ordinary people are suffering because of politics and lack of leadership.

While there is a backlog of 400 000 houses in the Western Cape as a result of the rise in demand which is caused by the influx of people from other regions for a variety of reasons such as education and job opportunities amongst others. Another reason for this is that government produces 6000 houses on an annual basis whereas the demand is 30 000. He advised that as a result of migration to the province, ordinary citizens should not feel threatened or be xenophobic towards people from elsewhere as the province benefits most from the migrants because when they are in Cape Town, they spend money but when the return back home, then they start applying for grants which cost their governments a lot of money. Not only is there a housing backlog of 400 000 houses, there is also a demand to build better house as the house build from 1994 have to be repaired because most of them are falling. According to Dyanti, this was caused by government itself as it previously misjudged the situation by concentrating on quantity rather than quality, which is a learned lesson.

Dyanti also disclosed the government’s programme Isidima’ (Western Cape Human Settlement strategy) that would be implemented to make sure that those Batho Pele’ policies are adhered to and therefore accelerating service delivery which will also enforce good governance. The Isidima’ programme would also be launched to make sure that people are participating in governance and not just a one way democratic system and to make sure that people get houses that they can pride themselves with.

On his closing remarks Dyanti said, “Leadership is not a position, but a perspective”.

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