Briefing by the Department of Human Settlements on the implementation of Transitional Residential Housing Units and the de-densification of overcrowded areas to contain the spread of COVID-19

Human Settlements (WCPP)

20 May 2020
Chairperson: Ms M Maseko (DA)
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Meeting Summary

VIideo: STANDING COMMITTEE ON HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, 20 MAY, 09:00

The Department of Human Settlements briefed the Committee on the implementation of the Transitional Residential Housing Units and the de-densification of overcrowded areas in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. The National Departments were subsequently requested to initiate programmes and/or issue directives and regulations under their respective portfolios to contain the spread of the virus.

The national Department of Human Settlements identified, amongst other things, the need to de-densify overcrowded areas as a response to the containment of the virus. A total of 29 informal settlements were subsequently identified across the country, targeting 356 010 households. For the Western Cape, three areas were identified: 1 500 households in Du Noon, 2 000 in Kosovo and 3 000 in Khayelitsha. The Department already had plans in the pipeline for two out of the three areas identified and land was secured for Du Noon (2018) and Kosovo (2019), respectively. These land parcels were within walking distance from the existing settlements.

The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with Minister Sisulu’s directive, necessitated that the Department immediately accelerate the plans to de-densify the overcrowded areas of Du Noon, Kosovo and Khayelitsha in order to combat the potential disastrous spread of the virus. The Department was working closely with the City of Cape Town and the Housing Development Agency (HDA), and had developed an implementation plan for the de-densification of the identified areas.

Part of the stakeholder engagements included having meetings – with the sub-council chairperson, ward councillor and committee members and other officials –  to inform them that Du Noon would be de-densified and to inform them of developments. On 28-29 April 2020 the Department then met with the Western Cape Premier, Provincial Minister, Executive Mayor, Ward Councillor, amongst others. These engagements happened because the Race Park Owners Association wanted to raise its concerns regarding the RISSUP Project.

Members were concerned with the Race Park Owners Association’s objections and concerns, and the financial allocations to the Department to carry out its plans. They also raised issues concerning land invasions during the COVID-19 crisis, housing allocations and beneficiaries’ lists.

Members were concerned with the issue of ownership/title deeds with the new three-story developments as well as land use regulations to alleviate the illegal use of land. They were also interested in the Department’s recording and planning processes and its prioritisation criteria, and requested a detailed submission on the Department’s other two sites in Kosovo and Khayelitsha and the developmental plans in place for these two places respectively.

Meeting report

Introductory Remarks by the Minister

The MEC for Human Settlements in the Western Cape, Mr Tertuis Simmers, briefly stated that the COVID-19 pandemic had clearly indicated to the world that business could no longer continue as usual. He commented that all three spheres of government would have to adapt to a new model on the way forward post-lockdown. He then handed over to the Head of Department (HOD) to proceed with the presentation on behalf of the Department.

The Department recounted that on 15 March 2020, the President had declared the current COVID-19 pandemic to be a National Disaster in terms of Act 57 of 2002. The National Departments were subsequently requested to initiate programmes and to issue directives and regulations under their respective portfolios to contain the spread of the virus. The National Department of Human Settlements (NDHS) identified, amongst other things, the need to de-densify overcrowded areas as a response to the containment of the virus. A total of 29 informal settlements were subsequently identified across the country, targeting 356 010 households. For the Western Cape, three areas were identified: 1 500 households in Du Noon, 2 000 in Kosovo and 3 000 in Khayelitsha.

The Department already had plans in the pipeline for two out of the three areas identified and land was secured for Du Noon (2018) and Kosovo (2019), respectively. These land parcels were within walking distance from the existing settlements. Due to scarcity of land to accommodate 3 000 households within Khayelitsha, iThemba, which was currently owned by national Department of Public Works, was identified as the suitable site to accommodate households from Khayelitsha and Airport Precinct. The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with Minister Sisulu’s directive, necessitated that the Department immediately accelerate the plans to de-densify the overcrowded areas of Du Noon, Kosovo and Khayelitsha in order to combat the potential disastrous spread of the virus. The Department was working closely with the City of Cape Town and the Housing Development Agency (HDA), and had developed an implementation plan for the de-densification of the identified areas.

Part of the stakeholder engagements included having meetings – with the sub-council chairperson, ward councillor and committee members and other officials –  to inform them that Du Noon would be de-densified and to inform them of developments. These meetings were held between 11 - 30 April 2020. The Department also met with the Provincial Minister of Human Settlements, the provincial head of department, amongst others, to provide them with a report of the interventions which would accommodate households from the high density settlements. This meeting was on 20 April 2020. On 28-29 April 2020 the Department then met with the Western Cape Premier, Provincial Minister, Executive Mayor, Ward Councillor, amongst others. These engagements happened because the Race Park Owners Association wanted to raise its concerns regarding the RISSUP Project. The resolution of the meeting was that a fourth option should be explored and presented at the next meeting. The traffic engineer was to meet with the Race Park representatives to discuss some matters related to the entrance to the park. There would also be follow-up meetings to be convened with the Association, officials from the provincial DHS.

Significant inroads had been made in terms of the provision of housing and access to basic services. The challenges that remained were the growth in the number of informal settlements and the increase in the housing backlog. This, together with the shrinking economy, required a different delivery and funding model. In response, the Department was seeking to pilot a new approach to the informal settlement upgrading and housing delivery in general. The current COVID-19 challenge presented an opportunity for reforms within the sector to look at ramping up housing delivery by accelerating the speed at which houses were delivered at reduced costs, without compromising on quality of life.

Discussion

The Chairperson requested that the HOD respond to each individual question due to the small number of Members present at the meeting and to ensure that there would be an active engagement between Members and the Department.

Mr D America (DA) noted that the Department had had an engagement with the Race Park Rate Payers’ Association. He raised the point that it had voiced concerns and asked what these were and if they were resolved. He also asked what a fourth option entailed.

He also asked whether there was any financial allocation made to the Department by the National Department of Human Settlements (DoHS) to fast-track and finance this particular re-blocking exercise.

Ms Jacqui Samson, HOD, Western Cape Department of Human Settlements, responded to the last question and requested that the Chief Director address the first two questions. On financial contributions, no additional funding was received from the DoHS for this project or any other COVID-19 intervention.

Ms Phila Mayisela, Chief Director: Human Settlement Implementation, Western Cape Department of Human Settlements, stated that the Race Park Owners Association raised concerns on security, safety and loss of industrial land. In 2018, the Department purchased the property within the Race Park area measuring 17 hectares – of which 11 hectares was developable. This was in close proximity to the existing industrial activities and the concerns raised were that if the Department would be bringing in a residential component, it could potentially compromise the security of the owners’ association businesses.

The Owners Association also raised the issue of safety of residences when it came to sharing roads. It wanted clarity on how the Department would ensure the safety of the community that would be brought into the area.

Ms Mayisela also touched on the point of the loss of industrial land and mentioned that the association had argued that the Department would needed to ensure it created more jobs, and emphasised that losing industrial land to residential would compromise this objective.

As mentioned by the HOD, the Department had had numerous engagements with the owners’ association and this served as an attempt to find a compromise and to alleviate fears of the association. The Department highlighted that it would need to be mindful of the fact that it needed to create a balancing act by creating job opportunities and improving the livelihoods of the people living in informal settlements in Du Noon. The Department estimated an amount of between 9 000 and 10 000 informal structures present in Du Noon and emphasised that it was overcrowded. The issue of COVID-19 had further necessitated the Department to respond and to ensure that it proceeded with de-densifying the area.

The Department also considered its Conceptual Development Framework, which was drafted but rejected by the Race Park Owners Association when presented. This framework underwent an iteration process and resulted in what was referred to as Concept Four. The concept aimed at mitigating the issues that had been raised around security. The Department also proposed to build a wall that would separate the residential areas from the industrial and business areas. This would also ensure that the issue of safety would be catered for. With the loss of industrial land, the Department agreed as part of the fourth concept that it would reconsider where it would place business sites within the broader development. When the Department purchased the land in 2018, it intended to develop a mixed-use development on the site. The Department would be planning to have residential as well as some business and industrial sites. It would replace industrial sites to ensure it was closer to existing sites and acted as a buffer between the residential and existing business sites.

The Race Park Owners Association also demanded a third emergency exit at the back, over the existing railway line. She explained that this was due to the challenge for the association to travel in and out of the area during riots. The Department was requested to consider providing a third emergency exit over the railway line. Though it indicated that this request would fall outside of the Department’s mandate; the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) would have to be consulted and agree to this proposal. The Department then undertook to facilitate the engagements between PRASA and the association to consider the possibility of the emergency exit at the back. The Chief Director reckoned that this would essentially be what Concept Four was.

Mr America commented on the HOD’s response on the financial contribution and the National Department. He noted that the Du Noon development would be the smallest out of the three identified areas for re-blocking. He commented that it was disappointing that there would be no financial contribution from the Department. He asked how this process would impact on the current budget of the Department since it did not specify where the money would be coming from.

Ms Samson mentioned that the Department applied to the City of Cape Town for the Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) funding and that it had met the requirements to receive this funding. It had already received funding for the planning and development design for all three sites, and partial approval for the balance or the implementation of the developments. She expressed that the Department would still be undergoing continuous engagements with the City of Cape Town about this.

The Chairperson wanted clarity on the question of the existing budget of the Department. She asked if there would be any impact on the existing budget for the year and if no project would be delayed due to the implementation of the transitional housing projects.

Ms Samson clarified that the Department had not utilised its Human Settlement Development Grant (HSDG) funding for these three projects.

Mr B Herron (GOOD) had numerous questions about the Du Noon site, in particular. He stated that the Race Park site was initially identified and purchased to resettle the Siyahlala settlement along the railway line. He asked if this was still the same project when the Department spoke of de-densifying Du Noon or whether Siyahlala now formed part of the Du Noon Race Park Development. What would happen to Siyahlala since the Department would be applying to build either 115 or 246 units in Race Park? He said that there were roughly 500 dwellings part of the Siyahlala and could not understand how the race park would serve the dual purpose of resettling those informal settlements along the railway line, and de-densifying Du Noon.

He commented that once land was purchased in the industrial park, the province or the Housing Development Agency (HDA) that purchased the land would immediately become a member in the Owners’ Association. The HDA or the province would be liable for levies and rules that applied to the Race Park. He added that the Race Park Constitution determined the form of development that could happen in that area. The Department expressed that there were objections raised by the Race Park Owners, and the Constitution clearly stated that without the owners’ consent, no structure could be developed and no consolidation of urban would be permitted in that area. He mentioned that it seemed as if the Department was going to great lengths to de-densify or relocate people in order to build a TRA in an industrial park. This area was an industrial park with factories, etc.; it did not make sense to have people living there.

He also stated that the Department was avoiding using a site located on the corner of Parkstone Road – which was already earmarked by the City of Cape Town in 2014 for a TRA. He asked the Department to explain why it had gone to such great lengths when it already had a site that had already been identified by the city in 2014.

He commented on the concept of replacing industrial land within the site and asked the Department whether it considered locating industrial or commercial land use within the industrial park, and locating the residential land use outside of the industrial park. Is the entire site located within the industrial park or is a portion of the site outside of the park?

He then enquired about the planning process. He noted that the Department applied for rezoning of land to ensure it introduced residential land use. The Cape Town Municipal Planning Tribunal had recently declined an application in Paarden Eiland for a mixed-use development. This was due to the importance of losing industrial land; whereas the City Trade and Industry Department objected to the loss of industrial land. He wanted clarity on this contradiction.

Ms Samson indicated that the land was acquired in 2018 by the HDA. The property was on sale due to it not being sold for industrial development. The Department had purchased this property from the HDA since it was on the market.

With the planning process, she explained the reason behind the Department’s decision to select this site as opposed to the other available site close in proximity to Du Noon. This was due to the presence of certain rights already in place. The rezoning application would also be completed more rapidly as opposed to the usual process for rezoning for agricultural purposes. The property zone was identified as industrial, and this was why it was selected by the Department. The other property would remain in the pipeline for development and since the Department had to move swiftly, it considered which site would be easier to procure due to the current industrial zoning.

She added that the Chief Director (CD) would be speaking to the question on the Siyahlala community and how the community would be accommodated by the Department. The CD would also address concerns about the Race Park Owners’ consent and the way forward, in line with the planning process.

Ms Mayisela commented that the Siyahlala and Soweto communities would both be forming part of the relocation. About 505 people lived along the railway reserve and the Department intended to relocate them as part of the 1 500 planned for Du Noon. The City submitted an application in December for the utilisation of the three land parcels to resettle the Siyahlala and Soweto beneficiaries. The intention at that time was to divide the 505 community as per the Mediation Agreement stating that half of that community would be moved to the land acquired by the Department.

There was another agreement reached with PRASA, that it would avail land on the sand dunes which were already fenced off for the Department to place people there. The Department did not want to move all people to that location because it did not want to necessarily sterilise the land since it had planned for a mixed-use development. The COVID-19 pandemic was also a huge contributing factor, causing the Department to accelerate the planning process.

She addressed the question on the Association and the Constitution, explaining that a portion of the property purchased by the Department was governed by the Constitution. The entire 17 hectares purchased by the Department was not governed by the Constitution. Certain parcels fell outside of the Constitution and it had intended to launch the process by establishing the TRA within the areas that did not necessarily fall within the jurisdiction of the Constitution. These all formed part of the options presented to the Association. The association managed to propose a compromise by saying that it would reserve a portion of the industrial site to ensure the continuation of industrial activity.

The Race Park Constitution stated that there had to be consent on behalf of the owners. There was a consent letter signed on 30 November 2018 by the owners. She requested to present to the Committee the Department’s plans around this particular development.

Mr Herron responded with two follow-up questions. He noted that the HOD spoke about the ease of rezoning as one of the reasons, but he did not understand how it would be easier to rezone this industrial site with the objection of the association as a clear challenge. He emphasised that the Department would have to negotiate with the owners as opposed to using a site that had been identified six years before for housing purposes and was owned by the city.

His noted that part of the 17 hectares was within the industrial park. He pointed out that there was a large portion of the 17 hectares that was a wetland. Which portion of the 17 hectares is a wetland and which part of it forms outside of the industrial park? He requested clarity on where the Department would be allowing industrial development if it also had to protect a wetland.

Ms Mayisela responded by showing the Committee the area purchased by the Department in 2018 with emphasis placed on the environmentally sensitive areas. She pointed out the area referred to as a wetland and indicated that it had been transformed. It no longer performed the functions of a wetland but acted as a water drainage system. The Department would not be utilizing the area on the western side of the flood-line with the drainage system. The developable area excluded the area on the western side and amounted to 11 hectares. This area was located on the eastern side of the flood-line. The Department was still in discussions with the City on its plans to relocate the Siyahlala communities to the three sites. This was due to the fact that the Department tried to avoid sterilising the entire area since it was planned that there would be a formal mixed-use development.

She proceeded to present the Committee with the consent letter provided by the Association, signed on 30 March 2018. On the basis of the letter, the Department proceeded with its plans to initiate a mixed-use development with residential, industrial and business components. This was referred to as the Second Concept, developed by the Department. The Concept indicated the area marked as an industrial zone in orange, and an area that was located outside the bounds of the Race Park Owners Association Constitution in yellow. She explained that the yellow area was zoned agricultural because the owner did not act on the rights that were previously granted – automatically reverting it to its original use of agriculture. The Department intended to submit a reasoning application to reinstate the status to ensure that it proceeded with its plans for establishing a mixed-use development in that area.

She indicated to the Committee that the Department had created a buffer between existing industrial sites and the proposed TRA as part of its initial concept. She highlighted that the Race Park Owners Association raised concerns on how the Department would be handling the issue of separation between residential and non-residential zones. This explained why the Department established this concept which it referred to as a compromise. This compromise would enable the Department to keep certain land parcels aside and reserve others for industrial use. The Department had spoken to its traffic engineers to propose a realignment of the boundary wall. This indicated that the Department was aware of the need for industrial land. The land had been lying vacant for the previous 10-12 years without any interest shown on acquiring the property. The Department essentially drafted this compromise to enable it to reserve a portion of land to continue with industrial development whilst continuing with implementing its proposed TRA in that area.

She pointed out that the red line represented the proposed boundary wall that the Department wanted to build to deal with the issue of security and safety raised by the Owners Association. She expressed that the association would be considering this option but needed assurance that it would be given the emergency exit. The owners currently had informal access to the railway reserve, which PRASA had considered as illegal. The Department then undertook to facilitate a process where it could assist the owners in gaining approval to secure that emergency exit.

She concluded by referring to the eastern side of the flood-line and explained that this would be the proposed layout for one of the sites, as per the City’s plans. Linked to the deed and certification, the Department wanted the City to immediately go in and begin the process of re-blocking and upgrading the site. The Department would provide the slides to the Procedural Officer to distribute to the Committee.

Mr A Van der Westhuizen (DA) commented that residential development was long-term and once there had been development and people had moved into these sites; it could not easily be undone. He was grateful for the greater detail provided about the development etc., but he was not certain that the Department had answered all the questions. His main issue was about densification and stated that increasing density development required a number of issues to be addressed. He was referring to the increased need for public spaces for parks and the need for paid services in this instance. Once these communities were developed economically and more people started having vehicles, as well as the three-story developments, there would be concern about the disabled beneficiaries and/or people who may become disabled over time; there would be a need to enforce land management regulations in this aspect.

He asked how the ownership would work in these three-story developments. Up to this point, in two-story developments, both the ground floor and first floor was owned by a single family. He wanted clarity on how terms of ownership would change with the new developments.

He also mentioned that higher-density developments were not new to the City of Cape Town and the experience had not always been positive. He associated this form of development with urban decay and gangster hotspots. He asked the Department to expand on its vision as to how it would do things differently in this development as opposed to the developments of the 1960s.

Ms Samson expressed that the Du Noon site was a well-located site since it had good access to road and public infrastructure, economic opportunities and social facilities. The reason the Department had selected this site was to minimise the displacement of the existing social and economic networks for Du Noon residences.

She explained that the 17 hectares was for an integrated development and the Department would be making provisions for all different types of land uses to ensure that it was a sustainable development. She agreed that the Department would possibly have to temporarily relocate people, but this would be marked as a permanent residential development with all the associated uses.

On the point of densification and what the Department had learnt from the past, she explained that it was impossible to provide residence without the other facilities. She expressed that the Department was working on reducing the informal use of the land through its design. The Department had already applied higher-density development in certain places such as Joe Slovo and Langa. She explained that through its design and the boundary of the property, the Department would be able to regulate informal usage. In places such as Joe Slovo and Langa for instance, there was communal property and the surrounding property owners assisted in preventing the building of any illegal structures or illegal usage of that common space.

She noted that it remained the responsibility of any local authority to ensure the elimination of illegal land uses and despite the challenges faced by the City in this domain; this design would need to be approved by the City of Cape Town to ensure that the Department was in compliance with the City’s norms and standards. The City would consider ways to manage the maintenance of these developments, keeping the land use rights in mind and ensuring its legitimacy.

Ms Mayisela added that the Department would be drafting a Management Plan. The Department was still in deliberations with the City of Cape Town, similar to how it was managing its other TRA’s in the areas of Delft. She explained that it had dedicated resources aimed at cleaning the area by collecting rubbish, etc.

The Department’s only challenge with title deeds was how it would deal with the three-story buildings. She mentioned that the Department would not be looking at the transfer of the unit for the time being and that it would be managing it in a similar fashion to how Social Housing was managing its developments. She highlighted that the intention was to certainly look at a way of transferring title in the long term. Even the way in which the design was completed, it was in a modular fashion with 2x24m² units that could be consolidated and merged to form 1x40m² units in the long run. The challenge within the Breaking New Ground (BNG) housing space was the issue of sectional title and that the Department were undergoing discussions with the National Department to find a way to enable the transfer of title to develop sectional title units for BNG since land was not elastic. There was a shortage of well-located land and that the Department did not have the luxury of building one house per plot. The current subsidy quantum enabled the Department to build three-story walk-up units, but the main challenge remained the issue of sectional title.

Mr Van der Westhuizen asked whether each building would form its own body corporate or whether the whole development would be run by a single body corporate with common areas. He added that sectional title only worked under very rare circumstances and even then, it was often problematic. He asked if the Department would expand on its vision on the issue of sectional title taking into consideration the challenges that came along with it.

Ms Mayisela responded that the Department was still in discussions with various experts in the sector to try and establish a working developmental model since it was realised that it would need to go high-density. The Department would be working to achieve that whilst upholding the ideas of the Security of Tenure Act – meaning that there would have to be title in that aspect. The Department would be working long-term to achieve this. There were various lobbying measures that could assist in reaching this objective by lobbying various authorities that were responsible for the governance of sectional titles. She made an example of VAT. The Department, in collaboration with the rest of the sector, was able to lobby the National Treasury to agree that all subsidised housing would not be liable to pay VAT. An ongoing conversation would be needed to figure out a way for sectionalisation to take place within the lower income strata. This would require the Department to adopt an alternative approach to the way in which the upmarket or middle- and high-income earners were currently managing sectional titles. This would be an ongoing process but for the time being, the Department would continue to manage this through the Social Housing approach.

The Chairperson asked the HOD about informal settlements not only in Du Noon, but also across the board. She asked if foreign nationals were amongst the beneficiaries or qualifying beneficiaries for the transitional housing, and how the Department and City planned on accommodating them.

Ms Samson responded that the Department’s approach remained the same and that it was not permitted to provide housing subsidies to non-South African citizens. There were products that the Department delivered to service the sites and these would not be a fully subsidised housing opportunity as the ones provided for South African citizens.

The Chairperson enquired about the criteria used by the Department since there was a beneficiary list on a first-come-first-serve basis. She asked if this was not somehow short-changing the beneficiaries who had been waiting on the list for a long period of time. She also asked how the Department allocated its numbers to ensure that there was no uneven distribution where more housing was allocated to those who were not on the list as opposed to those who had been waiting for longer periods.

Ms Samson responded that the Department’s main priority remained South African citizens, those who were on the waiting list for the longest period of time and the vulnerable. The Department still applied prioritisation in the allocation of opportunities. She added that it also considered non-qualifying South African citizens – referring to those having received their subsidies beforehand or those exceeding the income bracket. The Department also provided alternative products for them in some instances. In some cases, non-qualifying SA citizens would have to rent or purchase the property as a contribution of some sort. But essentially, the priority of the Department would remain SA citizens and the different categories of prioritisation.

The Chairperson commented that the reality was that there were foreign nationals in some of these sites already; so asked how the Department would be handling that situation. In places earmarked for relocation, there were still large numbers of foreign nationals staying there despite efforts to relocate people from land deemed inhabitable. She asked if the Department had a strategy in dealing with this challenge throughout the Province, since it was a problem faced not only in the City but by surrounding rural towns as well.

Ms Samson responded that in informal settlements, foreign nationals were not evicted. They would continue to stay whilst the Department applied intervention measures in a settlement as a whole. This was due to the fact that the provided basic services and infrastructure to these informal settlements were not directly linked to specific beneficiaries; it was a more general provision of basic essential services.

The Chairperson asked for clarity on how the Department recorded the upgraded settlements. She asked whether the Department recorded across the board or whether it conducted records per household.

Ms Samson reiterated that there was a grey line when it came to recording. She explained that when the Department conducted the profiling of informal settlements, it counted the number of households. In most cases it did record the number of qualifiers and non-qualifiers; in other instances it only conducted a household count. The Department considered the provision of services to determine the ratio, number of houses as opposed to number of toilets, use of electricity, etc. The intervention or upgrading was where the Department upgraded the basic services as opposed to a formal structure. Where there was a formal structure present and ownership in a household was relocated to a structure or any other subsidies applied, it had to be linked to an approved qualifier.

The Chairperson thanked the HOD and the rest of the Department for its responses. She asked if the Minister had any concluding remarks before she could release the Department.

MEC Simmers appreciated each Member’s participatory role in the oversight of the Department’s work. He wanted to make three concluding points. He first said that COVID-19 indicated the strong need for all three spheres of government to start working closer together since after the lockdown, several legislation issues would need to be addressed; particularly, which legislation was essentially hindering service delivery and that which had been hindering service delivery in the last 20 odd years. This was the reality of all three spheres of government and certain by-laws and regulatory frameworks were also prohibiting the Department from accelerating its plans in certain municipal boundaries.

He stated that there was a considerable amount of time spent focusing on Du Noon and added that there were two options, not only focusing on Du Noon but in other sites as well. The first option was that the Department could allow land which was earmarked for development to be invaded and lose all of its value. This was the question key stakeholders were deliberating. The second option was that the Department could work together with stakeholders to create much more decent neighbourhoods which would not devalue the land of surrounding property owners.

The Minister also mentioned the positive contribution of the Department throughout these developments and encouraged Members to reflect on this as well. Some of these contributions included that the Department improved the value of the land as it provided formal development to ensure a better future for these communities; it also contributed in fighting against the threat of land invasions – especially during the COVID-19 crisis. Land invasions had become the largest threat to all spheres of government and this was the opportunity for the government to become more proactive. Spatial transformation and 25 years of democracy was where most of the focus was placed but it was equally as important to reflect on the democratic dispensation; legislation was hindering the ultimate objective in building a true Rainbow Nation where all South Africans belong. This was why the Department felt it was crucial to prioritise its people and only then could it consider the rest.

The Chairperson thanked the Minister for his concluding remarks and agreed on the point of land invasion. She said that a realisation was needed in order to accept that the Housing Policy that had been implemented since 1994 was no longer working and it would only become worse in the upcoming year. COVID-19 indicated that as a government, what had been implemented had not directly met the needs of South African people. With issues of land invasion, it was a direct contradiction to what COVID-19 encouraged, i.e. social distancing and isolation. So this highlighted the existing weaknesses, although it was a work in progress.

The Chairperson thanked the Department for its contribution and proceeded with the resolutions and actions henceforth.

Committee Resolutions

Mr B Herron (GOOD) proposed that the Committee receive a detailed plan for the de-densification of the three locations since the presentation only focused on Du Noon.

The Chairperson added to that with the cost implications.

Mr Van der Westhuizen proposed that the Committee adopt continuous monitoring of developments and processes going forward. The Committee should go on site visits where measures had already been implemented, to assess land management and to ensure that the land was not decayed after the lockdown was lifted.

The Chairperson also proposed that there be additions made to implementation schedules – for instance, to indicate dates so as to ensure the Committee was aware of the time frame since the Minister announced experiencing challenges with delays. A business plan should be put in place to indicate who would be responsible for what.

Adoption of Committee Minutes

The Committee adopted the minutes of the meetings on 12 February 2020, 12 March 2020 and the Annual Activities Report 2019/2020, without any amendments.

Annual Activities Report 2019/2020

Mr Van der Westhuizen commented on the attendance of meetings. He requested that there be an indication of attendance of various Members for clarity on who attended which meetings. In addition, he asked for the consequences in place if Members did not attend meetings.

Ms S Jones, Procedural Officer of the Committee, responded by indicating that the Quarterly Reports would reflect information on meeting attendance. She added that at the next meeting, the Committee would be adopting the Fourth Quarterly Report which would contain information on attendance.

The meeting was adjourned.

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