The Committee went through their Budgetary Review and Recommendations (BRRR) report, taking into account the input of the Auditor General (AG), the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC), the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) and the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) itself. After a few amendments, the report was adopted.
The Committee said that the report needed to be specific in certain areas. It needed to state specifically that there was a lack of integrated planning and collaboration between the different departments when it came to human settlements. It also had to be made clear that Programme 3 dealt with the upgrading of informal settlements. A Member of the Committee asked that the project of upgrading informal settlements be placed under observation, and that a recommendation be made to deal with the situation, as it was clear that the project was performing poorly. It was stressed that the vacancies in the Department should be filled according to its organisational structure and framework.
The Committee discussed its possible trip to Ecuador. The Chairperson said that the visit may not happen, as they were still awaiting the Parliamentary Secretary’s sign-off. The Committee was set to leave on Saturday, 15 October.
The Chairperson explained to the Committee that the purpose of the meeting was to adopt the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR) of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements. She thanked the support staff for their hard work as she understood that they were under a lot of pressure. The support staff was also busy finalising the application for the Committee to go abroad for a United Nations conference.
The Committee went through the BRRR point by point. The Chairperson asked Members to raise any questions, concerns or queries as they went through the report.
Purpose of BRRR
In terms of Section 5 of the Money Bills Amendment Procedures and Related Matters Act, the National Assembly, through its Committees, must annually compile BRRRs that assess service delivery and financial performance of departments and may provide recommendations on forward use of resources. The BRRR is also a source document for the Committees on Appropriations when considering and making recommendations on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS).
National Development Plan Vision 2030
In relation to the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030, the Department has the following strategic priorities:
- Respond systematically to entrenched spatial patterns across all geographic scales that perpetuate social inequality and economic inefficiency;
- Implement strategically the chosen catalytic interventions to achieve spatial governance;
- Achieve a creative balance between spatial equity, economic competitiveness and environmental sustainability;
- Expand personal freedoms by providing the residents of South Africa with a greater choice of where to live;
- Support individuals, communities and the private sector in engaging with the state on the future of the spaces and settlements in which they live and work while streamlining processes to enable local governments to implement strategic spatial intervention.
Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) targets
The Department of Human Settlements had set targets the following MTSF targets:
- Policy for coherent and inclusive approach to land for human settlements;
- Human Settlements White Paper;
- Housing code revised;
- Housing Act amended;
- 2 200 informal settlements upgraded;
- 750 000 households provided with basic services;
- 563 000 subsidy housing opportunities provided;
- 110 000 loans (70 000 Finance-Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) and 40 000 Development Finance Institution (DFI) supported) issued;
- 27 000 social housing units;
- 10 000 community residential units;
- 35 000 affordable rental housing opportunities provided.
During the 2015 State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Zuma had indicated that the social contract signed by the banking and mining sectors included the creation of sustainable human settlements, the upgrading of informal settlements and the upgrading of distressed mining towns.
Strategic priorities of the DHS
In order to work systemically towards achieving the vision of the NDP and transforming the functioning of human settlements and the workings of the space economy, specific reforms are focused on the MTSF and are aimed at the following:
- Ensuring that poor households have adequate housing in better living environments;
- Supporting the development of a functionally and equitable residential property market;
- Improving institutional capacity and coordination for better spatial targeting.
Furthermore, the DHS strategic plan for 2015–2020 had identified a number of key priority areas that support the incremental achievement of the vision of the NDP:
- Scaling up and upgrading informal settlements;
- Transferring all title deeds for subsidy units;
- Developing a more coherent and inclusive approach to land;
- Implementing a coherent and multi-segmented social rental housing programme that includes backyard rentals;
- Dealing with an affordable market, with a particular emphasis on a constructive engagement and strengthening of partnerships with the private sector to improve delivery;
- Consolidating the DFIs.
Department and Entities’ Programme Performance
Despite the progress achieved in housing delivery, human settlements patterns in South
Africa remained dysfunctional across the country. The major challenges persistent in the
- A fractured housing market and inability for poor households to participate;
- On-going housing affordability problems across various sub-markets, particularly the gap market;
- Weak spatial planning and governance capacities;
- The high cost of well-located land for human settlements development, which was driving development to the periphery;
- The inability to respond adequately to the diverse needs of low-middle income households. The programme had been criticised for providing uniform housing development, with minimal regard for providing a range of typologies and tenure types to support the needs of poor households. The limited success of social housing had also been an impediment to providing rental accommodation to a range of households
Mr S Gana (DA) asked that the sentence be reworded. He said it needed to be corrected to “little regard for providing” instead of “minimal regard for providing”.
- Escalating cost of development for government, resulting in the reduced housing units delivered.
Strategies to improve identified challenges
As part of laying the foundation for transforming the functioning of human settlements and the workings of the space economy, the 2014-2019 MTSF focused on reforms aimed at achieve the following:
- Ensuring that poor households had adequate housing in better living environments;
- Supporting the development of a functionally and equitable residential property market;
- Improving institutional capacity and coordination for better spatial targeting.
Over the next years, priority would be given to:
- Scaling up the upgrading of informal settlements;
- Transferring all title deeds for subsidy units;
- Developing a more coherent and inclusive approach to land;
- Implementing a coherent multi-segmented social rental-housing programme that includes backyard rentals;
- Dealing with affordable markets, with a particular emphasis on a constructive engagement and strengthening of partnerships with the private sector to improve delivery;
- Consolidating the DFIs.
The following progress in achieving MTSF targets as at March 2016 had been recorded:
-232 583 households living in adequate housing through the subsidy and affordable housing segments. Shortfall for 2 years : 298 000;
- 170 288 households in informal settlements upgraded. Shortfall from 2014-2016: 129 712 households;
- 195 549 subsidy housing units provided. Shortfall from 2014- March 2016: 29 6521;
- 113 478 title deeds issued;
- 52 279 title deeds issued and 195 549 subsidy housing units delivered between 2014- March 2016. Shortfall of 143 270;
- 39 863 new units in the affordable housing market produced through loans granted by the DFIs;
- 101 catalytic projects recommended for approval by the Minister;
- The relevant appointments had been concluded and additional feasibilities and settlement plans were being undertaken;
- 7 257.5 hectares of land released for new developments.
The Department of Human Settlements executed its mandate, in line with national priorities through four programmes, as reported on in the annual report for 2015/2016. For 2015/2016 the Department received an allocation of R30.5 billion, of which R30 billion was spent, or 98.3% of the budget. Despite an overall good spending rate, Programme 3 showed the weakest spending rate, with only 72.5% of its budget spent, which was highlighted in the Auditor-General’s (AG’s) report. Programme performance was a follows:
Programme 1. Administration
This programme was allocated R435.2 million, of which R411 million was spent (94.4%, which was less than the 98.4% of the budget spent for the previous year), with an under-expenditure of R 27.1 million. The reason provided for the under-expenditure was related to capital assets, due to delays in the procurement of switches.
In this programme, the largest item in terms of expenditure was goods and services (R212 million or 51.5%), followed by compensation of employees (R186 million). Ten of the 17 targets were met, and included a strategy to increase the supply of affordable housing and producing quarterly reports on trends in new National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) enrolments. Targets that were not met included the issuing of 113 181 title deeds to new home owners in the subsidy market, where only 14 266 title deeds were issued. The Department has developed a title deed eradication strategy to accelerate the registration and transfer process.
Two targets were not clearly phrased or otherwise not reported on with sufficient detail to verify whether the targets were met or not. These were the target relating to the percentage increase in estate agencies operating in the affordable housing market, and the scoping report on the backlog of title deeds. Funding allocated to consultants in this programme has been shifted to other items. The Department should be commended for these cost cutting measures.
Programme 2. Human Settlements Policy, Strategy and Planning
Programme 2 was allocated R77.4 million (which was less than the allocation for the previous year of R80 million) with an actual expenditure of R75.7 million (or 97.7%), which was less than the expenditure for the previous year (98. 2%). The reason provided for the under-expenditure was that the purchasing of computer equipment was delayed due to posts that were frozen. The biggest expense was compensation of employees with R49.8 million spent on this item (or 65.7% of the budget allocated for this programme).
17 of the 23 targets for the programme were achieved, with four targets not achieved and two targets where either the target was phrased vaguely, or where the information provided did not provide clarity on whether the target had been met or not. Targets that were met included the policy for an inclusive approach to land for human settlements development and the evaluation for improved human settlements conducted.
Targets that were met included the implementation of the mine worker strategy and the development of policy and administrative systems that supported individual transactions in the affordable housing market. Targets where either the phrasing of the target was vague or where non-specific information was provided that made the verification of the target difficult, included the wording in the description of the performance on the target related to the consultation on the amendment of the Housing Act.
The numbering of the targets under this programme was problematic and had resulted in the numbering of all targets for the following programmes not being aligned with the numbering of the same targets in the Annual Performance Plan (APP).
Programme 3. Programme Delivery Support
This programme was allocated R166.6 million (reduced from R168.9 million allocated for the previous year) and spent R120.7m (or 72.4%) of the budget for this programme. This programme was the worst performer in terms of spending for the last few years. A number of reasons were provided in the annual report for the under-expenditure. These included the following:
- Delays in finalising the agreements around the Youth Brigade training with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform meant that R7.5 million allocated to training was not transferred;
- Under-spending in the National Upgrading Support Programme was reported and reasons provided included:
- Some contracts were running behind schedule due to slow responses from municipalities to approve work;
- Some service providers submitted invoices late;
- In a few cases, the Department completed net draft RQFs, but municipalities took long to approve these;
- Due to capacity constraints, the new capacity building programme could not be implemented.
- Payments on the bursary scheme for non-employees were less than anticipated;
- The purchasing of computer equipment was delayed due to frozen positions;
- Expenditure was less than anticipated, due to over-estimation;
- Expenditure on financial assets were related to approved losses approved by the loss control committee.
Out of 15 identified targets, the Department achieved eight targets, with six targets not fully achieved. Targets that were achieved included the 250 000 housing opportunities planned and assessed and 22 planned mining towns’ interventions. The targets that were not met included the provision of 14 400 affordable rental housing options.
Programme 4. Housing Development Finance
This programme was allocated R29.8 billion, of which R29.4 billion was spent (98.5%). This allocation was more than the previous year, when R28.713 billion was allocated. Under-spending was attributed to a number of reasons, including:
- Delays due to the State Information Technology Agency’s (SITA’s) failure to provide the Department with supporting documents for invoices submitted to the Department;
- The capacity building programme not being implemented due to capacity constraints;
- Social Housing Regulatory Authority: Restructuring Capital Grant: R323 million was not transferred due to delays in developing the credible pipeline that would allow the agency to spend;
- Social Housing Regulatory Authority: Institutional Investment Grant: R41.9 million was not transferred due to a policy framework that had not been developed and the entity could not use the grant as a result.
- In terms of both the National Upgrading Support Programme and project management support to catalytic projects, the Housing Development Agency’s (HDA’s) claim was not received in time for the transfers to be made due to technical issues related to the electronic claims submission.
Seven of the eight targets were achieved, including the restructuring of the Housing and Human Settlements grants framework. One target was not met, which related to the approval of the strategy for developing diversified finance products for the affordable market.
The Department reported that it had a total of 821 posts, of which 649 were filled (with a vacancy rate of 21%). The highest vacancy rate was experienced in Programme 3 (at 36.9%), which was also the programme where under-expenditure was the most prominent. This was followed by Programme 4 (30.1% vacancy rate).
The Department did not initiate disciplinary processes against any employee who had been suspended during 2015/16. Furthermore, not all senior management service (SMS) members had signed performance management agreements due to some being on incapacity leave, with others on leave, and due to challenges with the strategic plan, as raised by Parliament and the AG.
Overall qualitative outputs
The Department reported its achievements for the 2015/16 financial year, and these included:
The consolidation of DHS DFIs had commenced.
- The relevant directives had been issued by Minister Sisulu and beeen actioned by the Department, in conjunction with the National Housing Finance Corporation (NHFC), the Rural Housing Loan Fund (RHLF) and National Urban and Reconstruction Housing Agency (NURCHA);
- A tax amendment was pending that would allow for the transfer of assets and liabilities of the RHLF and Nurcha into the NHFC. This allowed for the operational integration;
- A policy foundation for the creation of a single DFI was developed, allowing for the development of a draft business case and commencement of the process to draft a bill.
The following policies and programme frameworks were revised for consultation and adoption, and also informed the content of the White Paper being drafted for adoption and publication for comment:
- Beneficiary allocations policy;
- Revision of the pre-emptive clause on the sale of subsidised houses;
- Community Residential Units (CRU) policy;
- The review of programmes in the housing code;
- An evaluation of the social housing programme was completed;
- An investment framework to guide human settlements development was completed for consultation and adoption;
- A prototype of the business intelligence dashboard was developed to improve monitoring and reporting on programmes;
- A central intervention to fast track the issuing of title deeds had commenced;
- A consumer education programme was implemented with provinces and municipalities to curb illegal property sales and ensuring that consumers appreciated socio-economic benefits and the value of owning the property;
- A programme ensured that the NHBRC enrolled all subsidised projects and monitored their construction;
- An interspherial package of support was developed, concluded and implemented in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality;
- A training support and incubation programme for youth and women was implemented by the Department with the NHBRC, the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) and the Housing Development Agency (HDA);
- The implementation guidelines for the Peoples’ Housing Process (PHP) was tabled for approval;
- The strategy for human settlements in mining town towns was developed to support the running programme interventions;
- The revision of the guidelines for human settlements development commenced;
- Programme and institutional support was provided to allow for accreditation of the housing function to be provided to municipalities;
- 232 583 additional households were provided with adequate housing;
- 170 288 additional households were upgraded;
- Assessment and analysis of 101 catalytic projects was completed and recommended for due diligence and implementation;
- 126 278 loans were issued by the Human Settlements DFIs;
- Three municipalities were pre-assessed for accreditation;
- 463 feasibilities in informal settlements were completed in various municipalities;
- 12 097 additional affordable rental opportunities were delivered -- 3 480 social housing; 2 152 Community Residential Units (CRUs); 6 565 through NHFC loans provided; various provincial PHP initiatives yielded 8 498 PHP units.
Comments on partially achieved targets
The following were comments for partially achieved targets:
- The DFI consolidation process was a multi-year process, hence completion of a target overlapped over reporting periods;
- The in-year target on the issuing of title deeds performed poorly, and measures were being put in place to allow for recovery;
- The upgrading of households in informal settlements’ annual target was not met and required intervention measures. These were being considered and were in place, including the ring-fencing of grants;
- The accreditation of municipalities was partially achieved due to the fact that the approach to accreditation required revision, based on practical implementation difficulties;
- The bi-annual reports on property trends were not disseminated. It was resolved that the department would be collating the information through the research and policy unit, and they would be published accordingly;
- The capacity building programme in programme three was not implemented, and the target had been re-prioritised.
Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC) Report
The Commission found that housing affordability in South Africa was directly influenced by the state. It was affected by a number of economic variables, such as inflation, interest rates and unemployment. In addition, there were high levels of indebtedness in South Africa. According to the World Bank, South Africans were the biggest borrowers in the world, with 86% of the population in debt. The situation was further complicated by households spending more on consumer goods and leaving less to spend on their houses.
The Commission further found that there had been an increase in interest rates which had deterred access to houses, especially for low income earners, as this group was generally faced with higher interest rates from the banks. The overall unemployment had increased over the recent years from 24.1% in 2013, to 26.6% in July 2016.
The Commission had observed that DHS’s overall performance had been good over the past six years, with average spending of over 98% of allocated funds. Targets set for 2015/16 with respect to top structures had been over-achieved in some provinces and narrowly missed in others. There were concerns with Gauteng, where the target for top structures was missed by 41%, as funding was reallocated to other provinces despite higher volumes of households migrating to the province.
The AG’s opinion was as follows:
- The AG expressed an unqualified audit opinion, with emphasis of matter. This meant that the financial statements of the Department were presented fairly. The emphasis of matter related to material under-spending in Programme 3 of the Department amounting to R38.2 million;
- The AG expressed its opinion on the supplementary information contained in the report, which was not audited, as well as on material misstatements in the annual performance report, which were subsequently corrected by management;
- The AG furthermore found that the financial statements were not prepared in accordance with the prescribed financial reporting framework as required by section 40(1) (b) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). Material misstatements of the appropriation statement, non-current assets, revenue and disclosure items identified by the auditors were subsequently corrected, which lead to the unqualified audit opinion;
- The AG found that the contractual obligations and money owed by the Department had not been settled within 30 days, as required by the PFMA and Treasury regulation 8.2.3.
- The AG also identified significant internal control deficiencies that resulted in findings on the annual performance report, and on compliance with legislation. The AG also found that leadership did not exercise adequate oversight and monitoring with regard to financial reporting and compliance with laws and regulations. The AG found that regular, accurate and complete financial reports that were supported and evidenced by reliable information, had not been prepared.
Assessment by Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation
The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), in relation to the Department of Human Settlements, is responsible assessment of the country’s performance in quantitative measures against national priority outcomes. Data is sourced from government administrative datasets, national statistics and research undertaken by local and international institutions. The evaluation seeks to assess programme design, implementation, and impact. This is because the human settlements programme instruments respond to a complex operating environment of complicated legislative frameworks of multiple institutional, political, administrative and financial rules which provide for an expansive delivery system.
The evaluation provided early pointers that overall housing programmes worked, but performance and outcome were mixed. The DPME reflected on the following findings:
- That subsidised housing has contributed significantly to addressing poverty and stabilising society – providing a foot on to property ladder;
- The structure for financing housing and human settlements have a critical causal relationship for sustainable human settlement outcomes;
- The Integrated Residential Development Programme (IRDP) supports integrated settlement-making when based on specialised implementing agents capable of managing the complex interface between planning, financing and implementation of projects, with clear agreements of responsibility and accountability;
- Evaluations show both planning and implementation agency interface limitations;
- The housing or human settlements meta-theory of change (multiple outcomes) is contested;
- There was a poor correlation between programme, housing project, housing, household, settlements making, and city plans, resulting in uneven plans and monitoring.
The Committee made the following observations:
- The Committee raised several recurring issues from the previous BRRR reports (2013/14, 2014/15). These included material misstatements of disclosure items which were identified and subsequently corrected. Leadership did not exercise adequate oversight and monitoring to their financial reporting and compliance with laws and regulations. It was concerning that, similar to the previous financial years, the AG had made adverse findings in respect of the usefulness and reliability of performance information reflected in the annual report. There was therefore a need for the Department to improve accountability and compliance
Ms T Gqada (DA) asked for clarity on line four. Did “leadership” refer to the Director-General or the political head of the Department? She highlighted the fact that the Director-General could not do oversight.
- The Department should be commended for its efforts to save money usually spent on consultants in the various programmes, and for the audit improvement of the Housing Subsidy System (HSS);
- With regard to the AG’s report, assurance by senior management and accounting authorities had remained stagnant at providing some assurance. This had been attributed to management not overseeing financial and performance reporting, monitoring compliance with legislation and ensuring that adequate internal controls were implemented, hence the repeated findings by the AGSA;
- The Department had not initiated disciplinary processes against employees who had been suspended during 2015/16. Furthermore, not all SMS members had signed performance management agreements;
- Programme 3, the National Urban Settlement Programme (NUSP), had been the worst performing programme in terms of expenditure. Furthermore, the vacancy rate in this programme was the highest;
Mr Gana made an observation with regard to the Informal Settlements Upgrades programme. It was clear from discussions with the Department that the project had not been working and was performing poorly. The Committee needed to place it under observation and then speak about it under ‘recommendations.’ There needed to be tighter oversight over the Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) on how it is spent with regard to the informal settlements upgrade.
The Chairperson said that Mr Gana’s point needed to be incorporated in this point, as programme 3 dealt with informal settlements. It also needed to be clarified that programme 3 dealt with informal settlements.
- Housing for military veterans was identified as an important factor, yet it did not feature prominently in the annual report for 2015/16.
- There was no standardised definition for human settlements across government departments and entities. As a result, there was no correlation between programme, housing project, house, household, settlement making, and city plans. This resulted in fragmented planning, project blockages and disjointed evaluation;
Mr Gana said he did not understand what the Committee was saying in this point and asked for clarity and an explanation of what was meant by the point.
It was explained that it was very difficult to plan around human settlements because there was no standard definition of what human settlements was. One department’s understanding of the definition of human settlements was different from another department’s, and as a result the planning of human settlements was affected.
The Chairperson further explained that it was an issue of a lack of integrated planning, where one found that a region would have no electricity because the Department of Energy did not plan for it, or the settlement had no clinic because the Department of Health had not planned for it.
Mr Gana said that if a lack of integrated planning and collaboration between the different departments was what the Committee was talking about, the Committee needed to clearly state that.
Ms Gqada supported Mr Gana’s observation.
The Chairperson also supported Mr Gana’s observation. She said that the key word “integrated” was not there, and asked that the point be reworded and the key word be there.
- The spending patterns as at August 2015 showed that the department had a -5.3% deviation from the norm. Spending had therefore improved;
- There is lack of project pipeline planning at both provincial and municipal levels. There was also no alignment of project planning, infrastructure funding and implementation. At the municipal level, there was a lack of capacity to plan, and to implement projects that entailed integration, densification and mega projects;
- There had been a lack of investment in bulk infrastructure and services, as well as in related capacity at the municipal level to allow for development of human settlements and housing programmes;
- There were delays in negotiations with mining companies, including delays in land and hostel donations for housing purposes;
- That the issuing of title deeds was slow, and the backlog had not been addressed;
- That the Informal Settlements Upgrading Programme was not performing optimally;
- There was limited access to land controlled by traditional authorities, resulting in a lack of servicing and titling of such land. This had been reported prominently during the oversight visit to the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and other provinces;
- The Municipal Human Settlements Capacity Grant in metros was not performing;
- The NUSP programme had been performing poorly.
Mr K Sithole (IFP) asked that the under-spending of provinces also be noted under observations.
Having been briefed by the institutions that support democracy – the FFC and AGSA –as well as the DPME and the DHS on its annual report, the Committee recommends that the Minister should:
On legislation and/or policy related matters:
- Ensure that the Department fast-track the revision of the USDG policy framework to achieve its human settlements and housing targets, while ensuring management of rapid urbanisation. In addition, that the metropolitan municipalities should utilise the grant optimally, as stipulated in the framework.
- Ensure that the Department fast-tracks the drafting of the policy on backyard dwellers.
- Ensure that the Department fast-tracks the revision of the policy on CRUs. The issue of cost should be addressed and the provision for people with disabilities should be considered.
- Accelerate the consulting process to finalise the release of a White Paper on Human Settlements, and thereafter a Human Settlements Bill, as this was critical for the development and review of the housing and human settlements policy. This would also assist in the closing down of Thubelisha Homes, Servcon Housing Solutions and the National Housing Fund.
- Accelerate the drafting or revision of the Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme. This programme was not performing well in all provinces, while it was meant to benefit, or be earmarked for, the middle class. The Committee supported the centralisation of the programme.
- Ensure that the Department has a framework in place on the utilisation of the 3 - 5% of the Urban Settlement Development Grant that was going to be ring-fenced for capacity building in the municipalities, since the Municipal Human Settlements Capacity Grant had been discontinued.
- Fast-track the consolidation process of the Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) to promote improved financing of human settlements and housing programmes, and present the progress made in that regard.
- Ensure that the roll-over funds (City of Cape Town and Ekurhuleni) be retained within the human settlements sector, because of its centrality to service delivery.
- Ensure that the Department improve its performance in Programme 3. This was evident, due to the fact that the National Upgrade Support Programme was performing poorly, while there was a need to improve the living conditions for people in informal settlements.
- Ensure that the Department respond on the issues raised by the AG in the audit report. It was concerning that issues raised during previous financial years had not been resolved. There was a need for monthly monitoring of action plans and the need for a robust internal audit, with subsequent quarterly reporting to the Committee.
- Advance the implementation of catalytic projects, to ensure that the recommendations of the National Development Plan are realised.
- Advise the Department to synchronise its annual report with those of provincial departments for easy referencing.
- Put in place corrective measures to address the stipulated 30-day turnaround of processing and payment of invoices. It was suggested that the project managers should monitor the payment of contractors upon submission of the invoices.
- Improve the monitoring and oversight of the sector delivery supply chain, ensuring improved efficiencies and value for money.
- Ensure that the NHBRC present the full rectification programme, progress made and its future plans.
- Ensure that the Department recruit personnel to address the high vacancy rate within the Department (21% vacancy rate), and ensure the realisation of the equity employment plan by integrating people with disabilities. This should receive greater emphasis in the next financial year.
Mr Gana asked that the report specify that the DHS should fill vacancies according to the organisational structure and framework.
- Ensure that the restoration and the issuing of title deeds is implemented and fast-tracked. This would empower beneficiaries, as a registered housing asset could be used as “collateral.” In addition, the Minister should ensure that the provincial steering committee report on progress made with the restoration of pre-1994 and post-1994 title deeds.
Ms Gqada said that the report should mention the provinces that were lagging behind.
The Chairperson replied that she felt that the steering committee’s progress report on the restoration of pre-1994 and post-1994 title deeds would cover that.
It was the submission of the Committee that the implementation of these recommendations would positively respond to the objectives of the Department and its entities, the National Development Plan and the lives of the people. Recurring challenges observed would be resolved as swiftly as possible if accountability regarding these recommendations could be forthcoming from all the entities within the sector. To ensure the realisation of these objectives at the specified timeframes, the Committee would conduct its oversight at the specified intervals.
The report was adopted.
The Committee was experiencing difficulties in getting its trip to Ecuador approved. It was awaiting the signature of the Secretary of Parliament. It was set to leave on Saturday, 15 October, but Members were not sure as to whether they would be going abroad.
Mr Gana and Ms Gdaqa would not be going with the Committee, due to academic reasons.
The Chairperson said there would be no meeting the following week.
The meeting was adjourned.