The Committee was briefed by the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements & Traditional Affairs (CoGHSTA), Limpopo, on their performance during the 2017/18 financial year.
The Department highlighted their main challenges and said interventions had been put in place to address them. These challenges were the reallocation of projects without developmental areas; late approval of developmental areas; late appointment of service providers to implement the Integrated Residential Development Programme (IRDP); no consequences for non-performance of contractors; and poor contract management and planning.
Members raised concern over the provision of military veterans’ housing, and asked why the Housing Development Agency (HDA) was not involved in the planning stage. The Committee was also briefed by the HDA on their business plan for the 2018/19 financial year. The Committee raised questions about land acquisition, the issuing of title deeds, and progress in the mining towns. Concerns were also raised as to the capacity of the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA) to achieve its targets.
Limpopo Human Settlements: Challenges
Ms Ngaka Dumalasile, Head of Department: Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements & Traditional Affairs (CoGHSTA), Limpopo, said the main challenges for the Department were:
- The reallocation of projects without developmental areas;
- Late approval of developmental areas;
- Late appointment of service providers to implement the Integrated Residential Development Programme (IRDP);
- No consequences for non-performance of contractors; and
- Poor contract management and planning.
The Department had implemented interventions such as engagements with contractors, meetings with affected municipalities and accelerating supply chain processes. On the issue of the military veterans programme, the biggest challenge was delivering sufficient units. This had been mitigated by appointing service providers. Regarding mining towns, the areas of Elias Motsoaledi and Fetakgomo did not have projects ready for services, as the proclamation processes were still under way. She explained that the delay was as a result of having to receive authorisations from different departments.
Mr Pascal Moloi, Chief Executive Officer: Housing Development Agency (HDA), began the presentation on the business plan for the 2018/19 financial year. He explained the measures which had been put in place. He added they had finalised the appointment of teams for the mining town projects. On the issue of title deeds, evaluation and categorisation of projects was under way.
Mr K Sithole (IFP) said there was a budget for the land parcel procurement, but no performance report on it, and asked for clarity on this. What mechanisms had been put in place for securing preferential areas for houses of military veterans to be built?
Mr L Khoarai (ANC) said the issue of title deeds was not being prioritised. With mining towns, there were a lot of challenges, but no appointments had been made. What had actually been achieved? Had the targets for the youth and women contracts been met?
Ms B Mabe (ANC) said vulnerable groups were affected the most when the HDA did not perform. They should take into account disadvantaged people, such as those with disabilities and those who were unemployable. She questioned whether the HDA should still exist or be withdrawn in its entirety. The audit report showed it was failing and this impacted on the performance of the Department.
What plans had been put in place to deal with incomplete projects and houses? How did they manage the title deeds conflicts that arise as a result of ownership? What happened in situations where people possess joint ownership of a house, or where a person owns a house but it is occupied by someone else? She also asked for information on the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA).
The Chairperson said the performance of the Department was directly affected by the HDA’s performance. The Department had received incorrect reports from the agency on the issue of title deeds. What plans had been put in place to ensure that this matter was resolved? Why was poor service delivery still persisting? What were the reasons for not performing? Why had there been no progress on mining towns since the 2014/15 financial year? What were the challenges in this programme? The Committee would have a follow up meeting with SHRA officials to find out why it was not meeting its targets. She said that the HDA was not acquiring land, and asked for more information on the challenges they were facing in assisting provinces. She expected them to deliver because they were an implementing agency with technical capacity.
Ms Dumalasile replied that land acquisition was headed by the HAD, but the Department procured the land. The Department was part of a team alongside the National Treasury, the Department of Public Works and the HAD, to address how land was valued.
On the issue of military veterans, the HDA had been requested to do the project and allocate the square metres to the contractor. The contractors who applied to the Department had been disqualified because of missing information, and they were in the process of appointing new contractors. The Department had good relations with municipalities and challenges could be dealt with within existing structures. She added that the issue with developmental areas was a challenge for municipalities. Delays in completing projects were caused by municipalities changing contractors during the process, but service agreements would prevent this.
Mr M Chauke, Deputy Director General: Integrated Sustainable Human Settlements, CoGHSTA, said that municipalities were engaged and consulted with on developmental programmes. There was no implementation of plans if municipalities were not ready to proceed. Contractors were introduced to the communities at the implementation stage.
On the issue of military veterans, the Department closely manages contractors to ensure that houses are built. Regarding the SHRA, the Department had an upcoming meeting with officials and there were projects ready for implementation in Lephalale and in other areas. Incomplete units were the result of under-performance caused by limited resources. Most of the title deeds challenges were in the townships. Houses built in the townships had been built on land that was never proclaimed. The Department had asked the HDA to assist in mitigating the matter so that land could be made available to beneficiaries. On the issue of mining towns, he said there were delays in appointing service providers and HDA is correcting this.
Mr Moloi said the Department’s performance was linked to the budget allocation. He said progress had been made with the mining towns in Limpopo. He said that the HDA must be more involved in meetings where target units are planned. With regard to rural housing, there must be engagement with contractors.
The Chairperson asked for clarity on the position in respect of military veterans.
Mr Moloi replied that the HDA was dealing with the matter and its progress would be reported to the Committee.
The Chairperson asked if the HDA was involved in the planning of projects in the provinces.
Mr Moloi replied that they were not involved. He added that there had been an increase in inter-governmental relations and there were representatives in the provinces.
The Chairperson thanked him, and said that the Committee had the responsibility of ensuring the entity was held accountable for not achieving its targets.
Mr Mbulelo Tshangana, Director-General: DHS, said the Department was going to address the under-performance in the building of military veterans’ housing. He explained that the Department pre-approved beneficiaries, and this was impacted by the information furnished to them. The Department undertook the pre-screening of beneficiaries before units were delivered. Houses were currently being built in Limpopo.
On the issue of SHRA, he said the pipeline needed to be assessed. The Department implements corrective measures in the provinces which under-perform. In the mining towns, there was a challenge of fixing the sewerage system.
With title deeds, challenges arise when undertaking occupancy audits. Where occupants are third generation, it is difficult to track down the original occupants and the question arises as to who the title deed should be issued against. The biggest challenge was fixing the upstream land surveying issues. There was a pushback against opening up a township registry, and a team was being provided to address the title deeds programme. He added that the HDA had been established as a crucial strategic entity.
Mr Jeremiah Ndou, Member of the Executive Council (MEC): Limpopo CoGHSTA, said that the issue of land acquisition could be resolved by ensuring that the land purchased is perfect for development. He added that a team was committed to dealing with the recovery plan.
The Chairperson thanked officials for their time, and adjourned the meeting.