The Draft Committee Report on the Annual Report discussion of the Department of Human Settlements and its entity the Western Cape Rental Housing Tribunal, for the 2018/2019 financial year was adopted without amendment as was the first and second quarterly Committee Reports for the periods April – June 2019 and July – September 2019.
The Committee also adopted its programme and minutes dated 4 June 2019 and 25 October 2019 without amendments.
The Committee then discussed its tracking document as at 20 November 2019. The document contained resolutions, decisions and actions and the status thereof of the Committee meetings. There was brief discussion on the resolution for the Committee to be furnished with the details on available land in the province and the rollover of the Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) for municipalities.
The Chairperson greeted and welcomed all Committee members present to the meeting. She proceeded to introduce herself and asked Committee Members to do the same.
The Chairperson put it on record that no apologies were received for the meeting and pointed out that Members of the Committee had received the agenda in advance of the meeting. She requested the Committee to start by addressing the first item on the agenda and proceed in a sequential manner relying on the agenda for guidance.
Draft Committee Report on the Annual Report discussion of the Department of Human Settlements and its entity the Western Cape Rental Housing Tribunal, for the 2018/2019 financial year
The Chairperson asked Members if there were any changes they wanted to make to the Report.
No amendments were put forward.
Draft Committee Report on the Annual Report discussion of the Department of Human Settlements and its entity the Western Cape Rental Housing Tribunal, for the 2018/2019 financial year was adopted without amendments.
Consideration and adoption of the Draft Committee Programme
The Chairperson asked Members if they were happy with the way the programme was and if so, could it be adopted.
The Committee adopted the programme without amendment.
Draft Committee First Quarterly Report for the period April - June 2019
The Chairperson asked Members to check the table of Members’ attendance.
The Chairperson asked the Procedural Officer to confirm if Mr M Xego (EFF) was part of the Committee as an additional Member or not.
The Procedural Officer responded by saying no.
The Committee First Quarterly Report for April – June 2019 was adopted without amendment.
Committee minutes dated 4 June 2019
Mr P Marran (ANC) raised that he did not see his name on the list and this could mean that he was absent although he was not entirely sure.
Committee minutes dated 4 June 2019 were adopted without amendments.
Committee Draft Second Quarterly Report for the period July - September 2019
The Chairperson asked Members of the Committee if there was any input to the Report.
There was none.
The Committee Second Quarterly Report for the period July – September 2019 was adopted without amendment.
Committee Draft Tracking Document as at 20 November 2019
The Chairperson asked Members to check if they agreed with everything stated in the document as they address each item.
Starting with the meeting item dated 4 June 2019, she pointed out Members could not disagree with the events of that day because this was when she was elected Chairperson.
The Chairperson then explained, to clear up any confusion Members had, that they need to look at the tracking document, which was the last document in the document pack, to be able to follow the discussion. She further highlight the most important parts of the document were the decisions, comments or further action requirements mentioned in it as these were going to assist the Committee when assessing what is still outstanding or what has been resolved. It would also provide an opportunity for Members to voice if they have a different opinion which would be up for consideration.
Members were asked if they agree with the comments from the 7 August 2019 meeting as reflected in the document.
The next item up for consideration was that of the rental housing, which was resolved.
The Chairperson asked the Committee if they agreed with the resolution.
Referring to the meeting of 14 August 2019, Mr B Herron (GOOD) brought it to the attention of the Chairperson that from the meeting of 14 August 2019 going forward, he did not understand the document anymore. This was because there were many resolutions which have detail next to them stating that “no further action is required”. As far as he can recall, none of the resolutions were actually honoured, so he did not understand what “no further action required” meant.
The Chairperson explained that on 14 August 2019, the Committee requested a list of all current projects from the Department. The documents were submitted to Members and that is why it says “no further action” because it was resolved by virtue of the documents being in the Member’s possession already.
She asked Members to confirm that they had received the document.
Mr D America (DA) confirmed this.
Mr Herron did not recall receiving the document.
The Chairperson said it will be re-sent to him.
Referring to decision two of 14 August 2019, the Chairperson confirmed the document in relation to that will also be resent to Mr Herron.
Speaking about the same point, Mr America said that if he can remember correctly, that was also a recommendation from the meeting held on 25 October 2019.
The Procedural Officer responded by saying that the Annual Report resolutions were only being adopted in the current meeting and as a result those resolutions were not yet reflected in the tracking document.
Referring to the third decision from the same meeting, the Chairperson asked the Procedural Officer if the document requested from the Department had been sent out because she had not seen it in her list of documents.
Mr America also confirmed that he also had not seen it.
As a result, the Chairperson asked that it be resent to all Members including herself.
Elaborating on the fourth decision from the 14 August 2019 meeting, the Chairperson informed Members the requested document had not been received as the Committee agreed it did not want to identify all land available on a provincial and national level due to land invasions taking place.
As a result, what was proposed as an alternative was that specifics of where the land is located would not be provided but rather the specifics of the land in terms of area size. The Chairperson asked Members if they remembered this.
Mr America confirmed it.
Mr A Lili (ANC) revised that the question was around the availability of land as the complaint at the time was that national government is not providing land to the provincial government. Therefore the Committee made a request to know about every available piece of land be it in the province or nationally.
The Chairperson said that in principle, the resolutions of 14 August 2019 will be resent to all Members.
Mr America indicated that the fifth decision from the 14 August 2019 meeting has not been done.
The Chairperson questioned why it had been noted as resolved when this clearly was not the case. She said it needs to be changed to reflect the true state of affairs, which is that it is still outstanding. She further stated that the Committee said it did not want a document in relation to this matter but rather a briefing from the Department.
The Procedural Officer brought it to the attention of the Chairperson and the Committee that the reason why it was reflecting as resolved was because it was put on the Committee Programme.
The Chairperson pointed out that in future, items should not just be put on the tracking document and that it should only be items that need to be done that must be placed on the tracking document.
Referring to decision seven from the 14 August 2019 meeting, the Chairperson felt as if she was missing something regarding the budget as a business plan and asked Members to help her.
Mr America responded that he was equally confused about what the Committee wants to achieve through this particular resolution. His understanding would simply be a quarterly financial report on expenditure of the Department in terms of business plans.
Mr Marran explained that at a municipal level , the committee approves the budget and thereafter within 14-28 days after the approval of the budget, the officials must then provide Service Delivery Business Plans. He was not sure if it was the same concept when it came to provincial government in terms of the Service Delivery Business Plans and how they are rolled out when the budget was approved.
Mr Herran understood it to mean that by the time the Committee gets to see the business plan, it will be the end of the current financial year therefore the Committee may as well ask for next year’s Annual Plan because it will be pointless being in the middle of a review of something that has already happened.
The Chairperson suggested that decision seven of the 14 August 2019 meeting needs to be restructured for 2019/2020. She asked the Committee if they agreed with the amendment.
Responding to decision eight, Mr America asked the Chairperson if it would be possible to force the Department to consider providing municipalities with the opportunities to retain their Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG). Municipalities that cannot spend their grants to make an application should have the option available to them for the amount to be rolled over if they can provide a plausible reason for the roll over. The amount to be rolled over will be incorporated in their adjustment budgets and the Department will have the liberty to exercise its discretion in terms of the reasons provided by municipalities. If there is no plausible reason, then those funds will be taken away from them and given to a municipality where it can be spent.
The Chairperson responded that the technicality of that is that the recommendation was not made when the meeting took place. Therefore, the options available are that either the Committee scraps it or comes up with another resolution.
The Chairperson said that since the Minister and the Deputy in the province are being held accountable in Human Settlements across the board, this will assist the municipalities in spending their HSDG grant, but the question was how it could be done considering there are some things that the Department cannot do directly. Taking this into consideration she said the wording needs to be different.
Mr Herron raised that perhaps municipalities that implement projects that roll over the municipal financial year will keep the HSDG. He said he had raised on a number of occasions the fact that when he inherited housing in the City of Cape Town, it came with an unspent amount of money going back decades. Those projects were not happening, and this was money that had been lying there that needs to be returned or allocated to a housing project. If there is a housing project and it is not completed in a financial year, the municipality will retain the HSDG and finish the project.
Committee Minutes dated 25 October 2019
Committee minutes dated 25 October 2019 were adopted without amendment.
Closing the meeting, the Chairperson announced that the next meeting was on 27 November 2019, where the additional adjustment appropriation will be done and that it was the last meeting for the Committee for the year.
The meeting was adjourned.
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