Minister Progress Reports: Human Settlements & Social Development; Ndlovu Petition

NCOP Petitions and Executive Undertakings

09 October 2019
Chairperson: Ms Z Ncitha (ANC: Eastern Cape)
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Meeting Summary

Minister of Human Settlement: NCOP: Unrevised Hansard 
Minister of Social Development: NCOP: Unrevised Hansard

The Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings deliberated on three issues;

-Consideration and adoption of the Ndlovu Petition (Petition calling for the intervention of the National Counsel of Provinces in a matter relating to reparations and title needs from the National Ideal Fulfilment Foundation)

-Consideration of the Progress Reports on Executive Undertakings made by the Human Settlements Minister during the Policy Debate on Budget Vote Number 38 for Human Settlements on 6 June 2017)

-Consideration and adoption of the Progress Reports on Executive Undertakings made by Social Development (during the Policy Debate on Budget Vote 17 for the Department of Social Development held on 7 June 2017)

The Committee concluded that there be negotiations between the Ndlovu family and the municipality on the way forward. It was recommended that they be given a time frame of three months within which they are two submit monthly reports of progress made. Ideally, the municipality is to allow the Ndlovu family a piece of the land that they may utilise as they wish – instead of the whole land that the Ndlovus are demanding.

The Chairperson reiterated that under the executive undertakings made by the Minister of Human Settlements, these are the various issues and recommendations that have been raised:

-The Human Settlement Fund which was an undertaking by the Minister but had not been implemented.

-The issue of fast-tracking title deeds.

-The issue of the ownership of one RDP house by more than one person at the same time.

-The Kwa-Masiza Hostel matter in Sebokeng which needs a follow-up by the Department and municipality in that area.

The Chairperson noted that there was an issue between the Department of Education and the Department of Social Development. There seems to be no clarity on who exactly is the custodian and who is accounting for what.

Meeting report

Consideration and adoption of the Ndlovu Petition

The Chairperson asked if the Committee recalled being sent a report in relation to the Ndlovu petition and noted that the Committee would be deliberating on that. She requested that the Committee make comments and discuss any recommendations. She concluded that the report was a true reflection of what happened.

She further requested that the Committee formulate a resolution on the Ndlovu report. The report dealt with several issues. Firstly, according to the Ndlovu family’s understanding, they were still paying insurance. This was decided by the municipality to have been untrue. Secondly, the Ndlovu family had demanded that they be given the entire piece of land in question. Thirdly, there had been a proposal from the municipality that there should be negotiations held between the municipality and the Ndlovu family. The municipality is willing to give them a piece of the land, but not the entire land – as the Ndlovu family has demanded. The Committee agreed that they should continue with the negotiations and come to a consensus on how the matter should be settled.

The Chairperson asked if the Committee agrees with the idea that the Ndlovus and the municipality be given the freedom to negotiate on a way forward. Furthermore, the Committee had addressed the issue of the payment of insurance and Mr Ndlovu was present. The only issue is that of compensation for the piece of land that they may utilise as they wish.

Ms T Sterris-Jaffer, a Researcher in Parliament, commented that the Committee had indicated that the issue of title deeds is a closed matter and perhaps the report should also note that.

The Chairperson explained that, because the they had not bought the building, it was leased to them. This means that the title deed belongs to the municipality and not to the Ndlovus.

Mr I Sileku (DA; Western Cape) asked if there had been any time frames given for the negotiation between the municipality and the Ndlovu family so that the matter may be resolved as soon as possible.

Ms S Shaikh (ANC; Limpopo) noted that that had been her concern too. Perhaps because of what needs to be dealt with, the Committee should give them a time frame.

The Chairperson agreed that they do not want the process to be prolonged. The Committee should deliberate on how much time they are to give them. She encouraged the Committee to make recommendations on the time frame.

Mr S Zandamela (EFF; Mpumalanga) noted that the issue of zoning should be considered. That may be the only thing that can drag the negotiations from the municipality’s side. If the municipality could perhaps communicate the issue of zoning, the Committee will then have some idea of what the time frame should be.

Ms Shaikh recommended that the Committee find out what processes need to be undertaken. Legal timeframes should also be stipulated. Perhaps during consultation with the municipality, they could advise the Committee on the time frames. The Committee could allow them three months, depending on how long it takes to re-zone. If the process of re-zoning is longer, the Committee should stick to three months as it will also put pressure on the municipality to fast-track the process.

The Chairperson asked for a seconder on Ms Shaikh’s recommendation. The recommendation was seconded by Mr Zandamela.

Mr Sileku asked, on the Ndlovu issue, when they would be giving the Committee feedback. He asked how they would assist them because if they are given just three months without tracking progress, they may drag the process and then ask for extension. They should notify the Committee on any progress or setbacks.

The Chairperson agreed with Mr Sileku’s suggestion and reiterated that the Committee should do a follow-up on the progress made so that by the time the three-month time frame is done, the Committee is on par with what has been achieved.

Ms Sterris-Jaffer noted that the usual practice is that the Committee Secretary, Mr N Mkhize writes to the relevant department requesting a progress report and it is within that report that the time frame is stipulated.

Mr Sileku responded by asking how often that would be done. It is important to speed up the process and to do so, they should show that they are serious – even if it means Mr Mkhize must phone in each week to track progress.

Ms Shaikh noted that they should also look at progress from the Committee side. This means that, given the three-month deadline, they should also request a monthly progress report from the municipality so that – if need be – they make an intervention as the Committee.

Mr Sileku seconded Ms Shaikh’s recommendation

The Chairperson agreed and requested that there be a mover and seconder for the adopting of the report. Mr Zandamela moved and Mr K Motsamai (ANC; Gauteng) seconded.

Consideration and adoption of the Progress Reports on Executive Undertakings made by Minister of Human Settlements

The Chairperson requested that the Committee move to look at the Department of Human Settlement report.

The Chairperson asked for any recommendations or issues that the Committee would like to raise. In the report, there was a critical issue on of title deeds that were very slow in being delivered to the rightful owners. This issue was raised in the undertakings of the Department. There was also the issue of the Minister’s commitment in making a fund that will be given to people who do not qualify for an RDP house, but because of the bracket that they fall under, were unable to get a Human Settlement funding scheme. The Minister had made a promise to set up a settlement fund that would assist those people, but he has not followed through with the promise.

Ms M Mmola (ANC; Mpumalanga) noted that the there is an issue with the RDP houses in that one would find that one house is issued to three people. This often happens when the system is not kept up to date and one house ends up appearing under the names of two people.

Mr Motsamai raised the issue of Kwa-Masiza where there is huge corruption in Golden Garden.  A person got two houses and is renting these houses out to people in Golden Garden. The people in Kwa-Masiza are suffering and are overcrowded.

The Chairperson agreed and lifted it as an issue. She reiterated that these are the various issues and recommendations that have been raised:

  • The Human Settlement Fund which was an undertaking by the minister but had not been implemented.
  • The issue of fast-tracking title deeds.
  • The issue of the ownership of one RDP house by more than one person at the same time.
  • The Kwa-Masiza Hostel matter in Sebokeng which needs a follow-up by the department and municipality in that area.

Mr Sileku added on executive undertaking no. 3 that the challenge faced by municipalities is that when building these houses, local suppliers are not used. There is a lot of grant going to the municipalities, but one would find that 80% of the grant is not used in the local space and that is problematic. When these houses are being built in local municipalities, suppliers should at least be local so that the economy within that municipality can be stimulated.

The Chairperson expressed that she understood the point, but the argument may be that skill is sometimes necessary and may not be available at the local space. However, the issue of stimulate the local business is critical and she cannot dispute it.

Mr Sileku explained that there should be mechanisms in place that will ensure that these local businesses are at least being developed. People would rather go to big suppliers instead of making use of the ones in rural towns. He understands that it is not something that can be achieved overnight, but it should at least be considered so that people become participants in the economy of the country.

Mr Zandamela noted that there are many projects in municipalities that have never kicked off. What usually happens is that contactors only build the foundation and then they are nowhere to be found/ The Committee should do follow-ups on this.

Ms Mmola suggested that the main contractor should give 30% to the local contactor. The problem with the main contractors is that provinces do not pay. That is why contractors often leave the houses and do not continue to build. When the main contractors are not paid, they do not pay the sub-contractors and the subsequently, they stop working. Provinces should speed up the process of payment.

The Chairperson explained that this issue is quite tricky. The Department of Human Settlements is not responsible for building the houses; the municipalities are. It is their Supply Chain policy that is used to deliver the houses. What usually happened is that the province gives the municipality a certain number of houses to build, but then the municipality builds far beyond that number. When that happens, the province does not pay for the extra number of houses. Perhaps the Department should monitor their agency and how they their work and constituency.

Ms Mmola explained that the issue is not that are building more houses than required. The issue is that the main contractor is appointed by the province and the sub-contractor by the municipality; when they finish their phases, they are not paid. When the sub-contractors ask the main contractor to be paid, the main contractor says that he has not been paid by the province. At some point the main contractor even emailed her the letter from the province where they said that they could not pay him as they did not have the money yet. They build in phases and then claim for that. When they are not payed, they stop building and subsequently, service is not delivered.

The Chairperson explained that she would rather not pass it as a recommendation for this report. It is a very important issue, but it was not part of the issues debated on that day. She recommended that they take it up on another Committee which will deal with the issue specifically as it is rather complex

Consideration and adoption of the Progress Reports on Executive Undertakings made by Social Development

The Chair asked if the Committee agreed on the issue of local development and whether the Committee adopted the report with its recommendations. Ms Mmola moved, and Mr Sileku seconded it.

The Chairperson requested recommendations on the 3rd executive undertaking and asked if the Committee could adopt it. The Committee deferred and no adoption was made.

Mr Zandamela explained that on undertaking no. 5 that they are not getting the allocation of the ECD centre in Gauteng and requested that be sorted out.

Mr Motsamani said he has a problem with the fact that there is sewage everywhere and would like to know how they will solve it.

The Chair suggested that they hold that matter and discuss it in in another meeting with Water and Sanitation.

Mr Sileku noted the issue of social work. There is no uniformity. Some provinces appoint on command babes and others on temporary basis. The Department and provinces are not in agreement.

The Chairperson noted that there was an issue between Department of Education and the Department of Social Development. There seems to be no clarity on who exactly is the custodian and who is accounting for what. There is an overlapping of departments.

Consideration and Adoption of Outstanding Minutes

Minutes dated 11 September 2019 were adopted.

Meeting adjourned.

 

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