Department of Human Settlements on its 2011 Strategic Plan & Budget

NCOP Public Services

21 March 2011
Chairperson: Mr M Sibande (ANC, Mpumalanga)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Human Settlements outlined the Department’s vision, mission and values, the legislative and policy mandates, strategic objectives and programme and sub-programme plans.

The Department highlighted its strategic goals and outcomes pertaining to accelerated delivery of housing opportunities, the improvement of access to basic services, the improvement of the property market and the increased efficiency of land utilisation.

The Department also briefed Members on its budgets for stipulated programmes, transfers and subsidies, the Human Settlements Development Grant and the Urban Settlement Development Grant.

The Department also highlighted key risks and challenges as well as risk mitigation measures that the Department was undertaking.

The Chairperson noted that if the Committee was to assist the Department of Human Settlements, the Department needed to provide all the necessary information that was relevant to the provinces.

Other members echoed the Chairperson's stance that the presentation was not relevant for the Select Committee but was more relevant for the National Assembly. Members had visited Cuba and suggested that the Department adopt Cuba's approach to low cost housing. There was concern about mismanaged housing projects and fraud in the Reconstruction and Development Programme Housing. Members emphasised that the Department needed to focus on job creation, in alignment with the 2011 Presidential State of the Nation Address. 

The Department suggested that it could provide the Committee with detailed presentations on all the provinces.  The Director-General confirmed that the presentation had been a high level executive summary of the strategic plan and that full details on its implications for the provinces would be provided if the Committee required.

Meeting report

Department of Human Settlements on their Strategic Plan and Budget 2011-2014. Briefing
Mr Thabane Zulu, Director-General (DG), Department of Human Settlements (DHS) highlighted the Department's vision, mission and values. The Department envisaged a nation that was housed in sustainable human settlements. He added that the Department's core values, derived from the Constitution, were based on accountability, equity, sustainability and the adherence to Batho Pele principles.

Mr Zulu highlighted the Department's legislative and policy mandates in relation to the Housing Act 1998 (Act No.19 of 1998), the Freedom Charter, Outcome Eight, and the Botshabelo Housing Accord of 1994. He tabled the Department's five strategic objectives to the Committee. One of the strategic objectives was for the provision of strategic leadership and administrative management support services for the DHS. Other strategic objectives related to the supporting, implementation and delivery of housing programmes as well as the funding of human settlement and housing programmes.

With regard to the baseline target of the Department's Programme One, Mr Zulu said that 100% of corporate support that had been provided had been for the smooth running of the DHS. Programme Two pertained to Strategic Objective Two which dealt with housing policy, monitoring and research. Mr Zulu noted that the objective was to undertake the appropriate research necessary for oversight and policy development. Programme Three pursued Strategic Objective Three on housing, planning and delivery support. Mr Zulu noted that the objective of that programme was to provide the relevant support to the three spheres of Government for the enhancement of service delivery.

Mr Zulu highlighted Programme Four and Strategic Objective Four, which pertained to housing development finance. The objective of the programme was to provide adequate funding for housing and human settlement development programmes and grant and financial management services. It was also to promote investment in housing finance. He added that the baseline for Programme Four was conditional grants as well as provincial transfers. He noted that Programme Five and Strategic Objective Five related to strategic relations and governance. The objective of Programme Five was to coordinate the Department's mandate within the intergovernmental relations framework. He said that it was also to manage international relations and for the promotion of good governance practices.

Mr Neville Chaney, Chief Operating Officer, DHS, highlighted the goals and outcomes that related to the Department's strategic outcomes. He tabled four goals to the Committee. The goals related to accelerated delivery of housing opportunities, the improvement of access to basic services, the improvement of the property market and the increased efficiency of land utilisation.

Mr Chaney highlighted some of the strategic priorities of Government. Some of them were to intensify the fight against crime, to strengthen skills and the human resource base, to push economic growth faster and to build sustainable cohesive communities.

Mr Chaney noted the key targets for 2011-2014 in terms of Outcome 8. He highlighted four outputs as well as four sub-outputs.

The four outputs were the accelerated delivery of housing opportunities, access to basic services, the improvement of the property market and more efficient land utilisation. He highlighted the Department's performance indicators and targets for 2011-2014 for the nine provinces in the country. The annual target for 2010/11 was 213 634. He also noted the Department's selected performance and operations indicators.

The Department's programme budget was highlighted in terms of the five programmes and medium term estimates. The total estimate for 2011/12 was R22 578 495. The total estimate for 2012/13 was noted as R24 875 057 and the total estimate for 2013/14 was R26 674 739.

The total medium term estimates for 2011-2014 pertaining to transfers and subsidies were also noted. Some of the transfers and subsidies were for the Human Settlements Development Grant, the Rural Housing Loan Fund, the Housing Development Agency, the Social Housing Regulatory Authority, the Social Housing Foundation and the Urban Settlements Development Grant.

A table on the Department's total grant allocation for all the nine provinces was noted as well as a table for the allocation of the Urban Settlements Development Grant for 2010/11 and 2012/13. Some key risks and challenges related to the strategic coordination with provinces in terms of systems and planning, the provision of bulk infrastructure, top structure and the provision of socio-economic amenities.

Other challenges related to the expectations and aspirations of citizens and corruption, fraud and mismanagement.

Risk mitigation measures were also noted in the presentation. Some of those measures related to the monitoring and oversight of human settlement outputs as well as the extension of the current capacity development programmes at provincial and municipality levels.

Mr Zulu noted that the Department needed the Committee's assistance. Some of the areas that required assistance related to improved intergovernmental relations and the improved municipal and provincial planning for grants.

The Chairperson referred to Outcome 8 that had been mentioned in the presentation. She asked how the Committee was supposed to assist the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) if it had not been given all the relevant information.

She referred to the corruption and mismanagement that had been noted in the presentation and said that the DHS needed to use every opportunity to divulge as much information as possible. She wanted to know what the DHS meant by housing fraud.

Mr H Groenewald (DA, North West referred to the Department's Programme One on administration and asked how many vacancies there currently were. He also wanted to know what the percentage ratio for gender appointments in the DHS was.

Mr Zulu said that full detailed presentations and reports could be provided.

Mr Groenewald referred to Programme Two which related to housing policy, research and monitoring and noted that the problems experienced in the Gauteng region, especially those problems at the Khutsong housing project. There was no site manager at the Khutsong project and he emphasised that it needed further investigation as it was the tax payer’s money that was being wasted. In Rustenberg  500 houses were being built, but the houses were falling apart and the contractors had deserted the project. He added that  people were also carrying building materials away from the site. He noted that even though local government was manning those projects, the DHS was funding them and should investigate. The DHS needed to get back to the Committee on the status quo of Costa so that the Members could reply to the people on that specific issue. He noted the unfairness of foreigners who were being given preference with housing as they were being placed into houses sooner than the locals who were on the waiting list for much longer.
He displayed concern on fraud in the sense that some recipients of Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) homes who were married often acquired two RDP homes as the husband and wife used different surnames. Here, the same family, in many instances received two RDP houses.

Mr Zulu replied that in instances of fraud which the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) was handling, the DHS would make separate full presentation with full details if the Committee required.

Mr M Jacobs (ANC, Free State) was not happy with the lack of detail relevant to local municipalities in the presentation. He added that the presentation the DHS had made was excellent and highly relevant for the National Assembly (NA) but not for the Select Committee.

Mr Jacobs noted the 2011 Presidential State of the Nation address and said that the President's speech had hugely focused on job creation. He said that the DHS's presentation had not mentioned much about how tit was going to create jobs. He said that the presentation supported the business as usual philosophy and not the business unusual one. He added that capacity building was important and noted the Committee's recent visit to Cuba to see its methods of producing low cost housing. He said that South Africa needed to see how it could adopt that same method being used in Cuba for low cost housing.

Mr R Tau (ANC, Northern Cape) said that the Committee displayed frustration as the same issues that were raised in the presentation had been raised last year and the years before that. He said that when the DHS makes a presentation it needed to give the Committee some form of indication of what was happening in the provinces so that, when Committee members developed programmes for oversight, they could be more efficient. He added that the presentation was based on a more national approach. Of the 27 municipalities that were going to be accredited, he wanted to know which provinces they were in.

Mr Zulu noted that the PMU unit was now also monitoring from a national level. He said that the DHS had received the business plan and had analysed it.

Mr Tau noted that the DHS, in the presentation to the Select Committee, needed to align its presentation to  all the Premiers' State of the Province addresses, as opposed to the Presidential State of the Nation Address (SONA). He added that the Committee had an oversight mandate and could not strengthen its oversight capacity if it was not given the proper relevant information.

Mr Zulu said that the DHS could provide the Committee with all the information that had been sent to it from the provinces. He added that the DHS would do a separate analysis as well as divulge information on the informal settlements.

The Chairperson wanted to know what the progress was for the houses that had been demolished. She said that all the Heads of Departments (HODs) in the provinces needed to be present at the Committee meetings as well.

Mr Zulu said that the DHS had met with all the Heads of Departments and financial officers.

Mr Zulu said that the DHS's presentation on the demolished houses was another separate presentation and, if the Committee wanted, the DHS could make a full detailed presentation to the Committee.

Mr Zulu said that if the Chairperson needed a full report, the information was available and that there was a strategic plan for each institution that could be obtained separately.

The Chairperson sought more information on Outcome 8.

Mr Zulu said that it was the first time that Outcome 8 formed part of the DHS's strategic plan and that too warranted a full separate presentation as it was indeed very detailed. He added that the DHS could give the Committee full information on the implementation module.

Mr Groenewald wanted to know how many entities there were in Human Settlements and noted that there would be have to be a budget for all those entities.

Ms L Mabija (ANC, Limpopo) echoed the sentiments that Mr Tau that the presentation was not relevant for the Select Committee and the provinces. She said that it was a good presentation but more relevant for the NA. She said that Committee Members needed to go back to report to their constituencies but could not do that adequately if they were not properly informed of what was happening in the provinces.

Mr Zulu responded that the presentation was a high level executive summary of the strategic plan. He said that the actual strategic plan was a very thick document that would take the entire day to present to the Committee. He added that he would definitely provide the detailed document which included all the details relevant to the provinces to the Select Committee. With regards to concerns that Committee members had about the provision of provincial detail, Mr Zulu said that the DHS could make a separate presentation on the full details of fraud in relation to the investigations being made by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

Mr Chaney suggested that the DHS could provide the Committee with all nine provincial strategic plans so that the Committee could derive a more comprehensive view.

Ms Mabija was happy with the PMU and said that the Committee was going to make progress because of it.

The Chairperson thanked Mr Zulu for the response on providing the separate full detailed information and suggestions for further presentations to the Committee. She added that the Portfolio Committee at NA level was different from the Select Committee and added that the Select Committee needed to ask questions that were relevant to the provinces. .

The Chairperson said that, if need be, the Committee would sit the entire day to hear presentations from the DHS.

The meeting was adjourned.


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