Department of Human Settlements on its 2014 Strategic Plan

NCOP Health and Social Services

15 July 2014
Chairperson: Ms L Dlamini (ANC, Mpumalanga)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

At the outset of the meeting, the Chairperson expressed her disappointment that none of the political heads of the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) had made it to the meeting. Even if the Minister could not make it, a Deputy Minister would have sufficed.

The DHS briefed the Committee on its Strategic Plan for 2014/19 and Budget Vote. Due to time constraints, the DHS was given a limited time within which to cover the subject matter of the briefing. A concern for Members was that the DHS had not provided a separate Annual Performance Plan (APP) document to the Committee for the current financial year.  Some of the APP information was set out in the Strategic Plan presented. Members expressed a preference for a separate APP document.

The briefing was three-pronged. The first part covered the Strategic Plan itself and covered critical actions identified to achieve annual sector targets. The second part of the briefing dealt with the Budget Vote. The third was about the utilisation of Human Settlements Grants and the alignment of plans to achieve the delivery targets set.

Challenges facing Human Settlements were highlighted. Some of the challenges were dysfunctional and inequitable settlement patterns, housing affordability problems, weak spatial planning and governance capabilities, and a fractured housing market, with inequitable access to its workings and benefits.

Critical action identified to provide adequate and quality housing was to review housing policies and to develop a more coherent and inclusive approach to land by developing overarching principles for spatial development.  Another critical action to ensure a functionally equitable residential property market was to revise regulations and incentives for housing and land use management.

In the interests of time the Committee was given a quick breakdown of the output targets for the DHS for 2014/15.  One indicator highlighted was to have a number of affordable loans for new houses in the affordable-gap housing sub-market for persons earning between R3 500 and R15 000 per month. The target set for the current financial year was to have 22 000 affordable housing opportunities for the gap market. 

The budget of the DHS for 2014/15 was addressed. The total amount allocated was R30.5bn.The operational budget was R828m. The rest of the funds -- which was over R29.6bn -- were for grants and transfer payments. As was evident, the operational budget of the DHS only made up 3% of the total allocation.

The third part of the briefing could not be presented as time had simply run out. Members were urged to read the rest of the briefing document. The DHS assured members that they would be returning to the Committee to speak on those matters that could not be covered.

The DHS was questioned about the progress made in Marikana, as President Zuma had made promises to the miners in the area. What were the efforts of the DHS to obtain land that was closer to peoples’ places of work. The efforts of the DHS were also questioned regarding land invasions and the illegal occupation of land. The issue of the bucket toilet system was also discussed and the plans on its eradication by the DHS were enquired about. Was the DHS’s target of building one million houses in five years attainable? The state of readiness of the DHS was also questioned.

The Committee adopted its first term Committee Programme unamended.  It also adopted the Committee minutes of 25 June 2014 unamended.
 

Meeting report

The Chairperson said that the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) was one of the top five departments in South Africa. She noted the apologies received from the Minister and the Director General of the Department of Human Settlements, but expressed disappointment that not even the Deputy Minister could have made it to the meeting.

The Department was requested to send all documents timeously to the Committee.  The Chairperson was firm in stating that if documents were not received on time in future, then meetings would be cancelled. There were three documents of relevance to the Committee -- the five year Strategic Plan, the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and lastly, the Annual Performance Plan (APP).

Experience had shown that often things were planned but in the end not implemented. The issue was about the state of readiness of the DHS. There were a great many challenges to face in the provinces, but at the same time there were many successes too. She emphasised that in order for the DHS to succeed there needed to be collaboration with its sister departments.

Department of Human Settlements (DHS)
The DHS briefed the Committee on its Strategic Plan 2014/19 and Budget Vote. The delegation comprised of Mr Mbulelo Tshangana Deputy Director-General (DDG): Project Management Unit; Mr William Jiyana, Acting Deputy Director General; Mr Nyameko Mbengo, Acting Chief Financial Officer; Mr Anton Arendse, Chief Director: Human Settlements Planning; Ms Sindiswe Ngxongo, Chief Operations Officer; and Mr Milile Kraba,  Parliamentary Liaison Officer.

Due to time constraints, the DHS was given only roughly half an hour to do its briefing.  Mr Tshangana provided a brief introduction to the Strategic Plan 2014/19. The briefing was three pronged. The first part covered the Strategic Plan itself and covered critical actions identified to achieve annual sector targets -- in other words, what the DHS had to do. The second part of the briefing dealt with the budget vote. The third was about the utilisation of Human Settlements Grants and the alignment of plans to achieve the delivery targets set.

Challenges facing Human Settlements were highlighted. Some of the challenges were dysfunctional and inequitable settlement patterns, housing affordability problems, weak spatial planning and governance capabilities, and a fractured housing market, with inequitable access to its workings and benefits.

The DDG spoke about proposed interventions. The National Development Plan (NDP) set out the development praxis for human settlements for the next 15 years, with specific focus on changes to land management systems, in addition to improved and coordinated spatial systems that would transform human settlements in SA into equitable and efficient spaces, with citizens living in close proximity to work and with access to social facilities and necessary infrastructure. In responding to the government manifesto, the DHS set delivery priorities.  One was to provide one million housing opportunities for qualifying households in urban and rural settlements over the next five years.

Critical action identified to provide adequate and quality housing was to review housing policies and to develop a more coherent and inclusive approach to land, by developing overarching principles for spatial development. Another critical action to ensure a functionally equitable residential property market was to revise regulations and incentives for housing and land use management.

In the interests of time, the Committee was given a quick breakdown of the output targets for the DHS for 2014/15. One indicator set was to have the housing finance regime framework revised. The target set was to have a comprehensive expenditure review completed by March 2015. Another indicator was to have a number of affordable loans for new houses in the affordable-gap housing submarket for persons earning between R3 500 and R15 000 per month. The target set for the current financial year was to have 22 000 affordable housing opportunities for the gap market.  

Mr Mbengo, Acting CFO, continued with the budget for2014/15. The total amount allocated for 2014/15 was R30.5bn. The operational budget of the DHS was R828m. The rest of the funds -- which was over R29.6bn -- were for grants and transfer payments. As was evident, the operational budget of the DHS made up only 3% of the total allocation.  Figures were provided on grants and transfer payments. Specifics on allocations for various grants were also elaborated upon.

The third part of the briefing could not be presented, as time had simply run out. Members were urged to read the rest of the briefing document. The DHS assured members that they would be returning to the Committee to speak on those matters that could not be covered.

Discussion
Mr H Groenewald (DA, North West) said that the Committee was tasked with doing oversight over the DHS. The Committee needed a separate Annual Performance Plan which would speak to the budgets of provinces. Specifics on implementers, contractors and deadlines needed to be checked on.  

What role did the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) play in the planning of the DHS?  He noted that President Zuma had made many promises to miners at Marikana -- what progress was being made by the DHS?  He also pointed out that in Rustenberg and in Kwazulu-Natal five hundred houses which had been built, had been demolished. What allocation had been made in the budget of the DHS for the rebuilding or fixing of houses?

He further asked what methods were employed by the DHS to make more land available, especially land that was closer to peoples’ places of work. What was the DHS’s plan to transform human settlements in SA?

Mr Tshangana explained that Marikana was on a cross-border between Madibeng and Rustenberg. There were 25 000 beneficiaries. Interactions with mining houses were taking place. 17 000 serviced sites had been identified. A total budget of R155m wa set aside for all mining areas. The Marikana area was being targeted for upgrading. The Housing Development Agency was the implementing agent at Marikana.   50 hectares of land had been allocated to the DHS. Free houses would be provided to persons earning less than R3 500. The challenge was that most miners earned much more than R3 500. He pointed out that only Rustenberg was in a restructuring zone. The DHS needed to request the Minister to increase the number of restructuring zones.

Ms Ngxongo, COO, explained that the NHBRC played a regulatory role in order to see to it that there was compliance with building regulatory standards. The NHBRC did not receive funding from the fiscus. The organisation was self-sustainable.


Mr D Stock (ANC, Northern Cape) was appreciative of the fact that municipalities were now being accredited. It was long overdue.  In provinces, national government allocated funds to municipalities, but the funds could not be spent because municipalities were not accredited. Land invasions were taking place in all provinces. What was the DHS doing about it? Land invasions were taking place partly because the land set aside for housing by municipalities was too far from towns.

Ms T Mampuru (ANC, Limpopo) asked how the beneficiaries of houses were identified by the DHS.

Ms P Mququ (ANC, Eastern Cape) asked what the plan of the DHS was to see to it that vacant posts in municipalities were filled.

Mr Jiyana, Acting DDG, responded that the DHS did not have the competency to fill vacant posts at municipal level. The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs would be involved.

Ms M Tlake (ANC, Free State) asked what the DHS was doing to eradicate the bucket toilet system. Was there a backlog on the progress?

Mr M Khawula (IFP, KZN) referred to the provincial figures on the Urban Settlements Development Grant for the current financial year on page 19 of the briefing document, and said that Kwazulu-Natal Province had received R1.8bn, whereas Gauteng Province had received R4.9bn.  Kwazulu-Natal was being disadvantaged by the formula used.

He also referred to the Human Settlements Development Grant budget allocations towards mining towns and asked why no allocation had been made to Kwazulu-Natal.  Kwazulu-Natal did have mining towns that could use help. How did the loans for affordable housing work? The criteria was that persons had to earn between R3 500 and R15 000.

Mr Jiyana explained that the situation referred t,o was not only in Kwazulu-Natal, it was across SA. These areas were called secondary cities. Rustenberg was a secondary city. Secondary cities were now being taken into account by government.

Mr Mbengo, Acting CFO, spoke to decreases in the Human Settlement Development Grants and stated that the amount for the eradication of bucket system toilets had decreased, and the R900m had been spread over three financial years. The money was to be used for the capacitation of municipalities.

Ms L Zwane (ANC, KZN) asked how the DHS could increase the quantum of houses, but limit the provinces. She referred to page 23, and asked why targets were drastically dropping in some provinces like North West and Mpumalanga.  Would the target of  one million houses in five years be attainable? Also referring to page 22, she asked why allocations were decreasing.

Mr Arendse said that the increase in quantum was related to the work that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) did. The DTI performed oversight over building regulations. It set new norms and standards. The specifications of houses therefore had to improve.

The Chairperson said that the Committee had time constraints attached to the present meeting. It looked as if there would have to be a follow up meeting with the DHS, as there were too many issues that needed to be unpacked and discussed. She reiterated that an Annual Performance Plan would have been useful to members. Some of the information was contained in the Strategic Plan, but it would have been better to have had the 2014/15 APP information separate.

She stated that electricity was the competency of Eskom and municipalities. Why was the DHS getting involved in electricity?  She also asked how the DHS monitored incomplete houses.

She noted that the land issue at Msholozi Village had been an issue for many years. The illegal occupation of houses was a problem, not only in Mpumalanga, but other provinces as well. How was the issue of the illegal occupation of houses being addressed by the DHS?  She did not see it in the Strategic Plan.

She made the point that even though the DHS had many plans, it was not ready to implement them. The DHS was not in a state of readiness. An example was that the DHS was not ready for its catalytic projects. What was the DHS’s contribution towards creating decent jobs?

She was surprised that the Western Cape still had the bucket toilet system. The areas of informal settlements and the “porta potties” was an eye sore for tourists departing from Cape Town International Airport. The DHS should treat the Western Cape like any other province. She referred to page 19 and 20, and spoke about the new grants which the DHS was providing towards urban areas and towards municipalities. She said that these grants would further widen the gap between urban and rural areas. It was not only urban areas that had human settlement problems. Rural areas also had problems. She observed that most of the government’s projects were in Johannesburg, Ethekwini and Cape Town.

She stated that there was not enough time for the DHS to respond to all the questions asked. She reiterated that another meeting with the DHS needed to be scheduled.

Mr Tshangana responded that all the questions asked were relevant. Due to time constraints, not all could be answered. On the Human Settlement Capacity Grant payable to municipalities, he said a great deal of discussion had taken place. The point raised was that the grant was being given to rich municipalities. A fresh look at the grant would be undertaken, and the Minister would review it.

On informal settlements in Western Cape, he said that the N2 Gateway Phase 2 was taking place. All informal settlements were being upgraded. He confirmed that there were still bucket toilet systems in place. The Stats SA 2011 Report referred to the bucket toilet system. He did not wish to be too academic about the issue. What was the definition of a bucket toilet system?  When the chemical systems were not operational, then it functioned as a bucket system. A number of areas still had them. In Khayelitsha, there were close to 7 000.  R100m had been set aside to eradicate the bucket system toilet.

The Free State Province still had the most bucket toilets. R300m had been set aside to deal with it.                      

Bloem Water was assisting the DHS in the Free State Province.

In the current financial year the DHS’s focus was on eradicating bucket toilet systems in informal settlements.

Mr Jiyana conceded that the DHS did not have a mandate to provide electrification.  Co-ordination was required with other departments, because when a house was handed over to a beneficiary, it needed to have electricity.

On the issue of state of readiness of the DHS, he said that on the return visit to the Committee the current business plan could be laid out.

Mr Arendse noted that secondary towns were experiencing more rapid growth.  Municipalities were considered, but so too were accredited towns and cities. The Committee would be briefed on how provinces spent their funds. 

Mr Mbengo stated that the DHS was facing challenges, but it was moving towards obtaining an unqualified audit report from the Auditor-General’s Office.  He noted that there were 17 secondary cities in SA and they had started to apply for accreditation.

Select Committee on Social Services: First Term Programme

The Chairperson placed the Programme before the Committee for consideration. It was adopted unamended.

Committee Minutes
Minutes dated the 25 June 2014 was adopted unamended.

The meeting was adjourned.  
 

Present

  • We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: