Western Cape Water & Sanitation Plan; Water Boards; District Model; with Deputy Ministers

Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation

01 September 2020
Chairperson: Ms R Semenya (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Western Cape Government said that it anticipated that there will be a growing demand for jobs, services, infrastructure, and housing much of which will be within low-income segments. The current delivery model is not sustainable socially, financially and ecologically. Land invasions had increased in the province and they were having an effect on the business plan.

The Joint District and Metro Approach successes that have been achieved are that District Mayors and District Municipal Managers participated in the Provincial Planning and Budgeting Processes (PGMTEC1) during October 2019 to inform the provincial plans. All five District Mayors are in full support of the Approach process and have become champions of it.

The Department of Water and Sanitation indicated that the Western Cape Provincial Government, led by the Department of Local Government, has commenced with the directive of establishing the Joint District Approach Forums, where the Department is a participant. Funding of R15 000 000 was allocated to complete the Citrusdal Waste Water Treatment Works Cederberg Local Municipality Cederberg Local Municipality, on the adjustment budget. This project has been on hold due to lack of funding on the municipality side. Western Cape has been allocated R15 326 000 for tanks and tankers through Rand Water.

The Overberg Water Board said that it derives its revenue from the sale of bulk potable water to its main customers, namely municipalities as well as retail sales to the agricultural sector/industry in the region. Some of the infrastructure projects for the 2020/21 financial year include Duivenhoks replacement of Ac pipes on central mains at Duivenhoks, replacement/upgrade of rising main at Ruensveld East, replacing blowers and buoy additional standby blowers and additional standby pump sets.

The Members pointed out that there has been a decrease of 10.12% of the Department’s delivery and there is an increase of informal settlements in the Western Cape because the government has failed to provide accommodation. There have been gruesome evictions in Western Cape. What has the Department done about such issues? The Western Province has been denying black people access to land and they had to be taken to court by different organisations and it seemed like Western Cape wanted to create its own Europe. There were concerns on the criteria on who will qualify for subsidised housing because of the high pricing and the cheapest houses will range above R 1 million. The report presented looked like a ticking exercise because there was no proper progress in the reports and nothing concrete was said by the presenters.

Meeting report

The Chairperson opened the virtual meeting, welcoming Members, support staff and Western Cape government to the meeting.

Western Cape Government on the Provincial Human Settlements Business Plan and Joint District and Metro Approach (JDMA)

Ms Kahmiela August, Director: Affordable, Western Cape Department of Human Settlements, made the presentation on behalf of the Western Cape government. She started off by explaining that there will be a growing demand for jobs, services, infrastructure, and housing much of which will be within low-income segments. She said that the current delivery model is not sustainable socially, financially and ecologically. She also explained how the land invasions had increased in the province and how they were having an effect on the business plan. The land invasions are large-scale criminality and an attempt to destabilise the provincial government. Because of the budget cuts and slow economic growth it means that the state must do more with less.

Some of the non-negotiable considerations to achieve future integrated human settlements include an integrated plan, bulk capacity including all other amenities, master plans and capital investment framework, synchronising of other interventions in the region and spatial development framework.

Initiatives should be undertaken across spheres and departments in new and innovative ways, and with the private sector as well as the civil society.

Employer-assisted housing partnerships are important and have been implemented together with sector partnership agreements with financial institutions and there are ongoing research partnerships with Stellenbosch University.

In terms of piloting innovation, it will be done through driving service delivery through development of innovative tools and creating a strong institutional platform which can support knowledge production and knowledge sharing and strategic coordination of investment efforts.

Ms August said that although there was varied success of improved conditions some communities continue to live in poverty and do not have access to basic services like water and sanitation together with electricity. Access to equal levels of services and economic opportunities remains a challenge.

The concerns of citizens include the issue of areas where they live, access to service and economic opportunities; they require innovation and higher levels of excellence.

There was a lack of appropriate levels of collaboration, characterised by absence of co-planning, co-budgeting and co-implementation.

The JDMA, supported by governance instruments, is advanced for developmental local government and sustainable service delivery premised on a common denominator of good governance. The Approach is a geographical and team based, citizen-focused approach to provide a series of government services (underpinned by characteristics of developmental local government and good governance)

Principles for the JDMA are joint planning; national, provincial and local government; district interface teams consisting of departmental and municipal representatives; interface methodology which includes the District Coordinating Forum as the governance instrument for planning, budgeting and implementation; horizontal interface (between provincial departments) and vertical interface (national, provincial departments & municipalities).

The District Development Model (DDM) was approved by government structures, including Cabinet (August 2019), to integrate service delivery that will be more practical, achievable, implementable, measurable and clearly aligned to the key priorities of the government. It is an integrated planning model for Cooperative Governance which seeks an integrated, district-based, service delivery approach and ensuring that municipalities are adequately supported and resourced to carry out their mandate.

The JDMA successes that have been achieved are that District Mayors and District Municipal Managers participated in the Provincial Planning and Budgeting Processes (PGMTEC1) during October 2019 to inform the provincial plans. All five District Mayors are in full support of the JDMA process and have become champions of it. Project developments discussions are channeled through the JDMA - new ways of doing things and decision-making processes are shortened due to high level staff participating in the District Interface teams.

Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS)

Mr Trevor Balzer, Deputy Director-General: Special Projects, DWS, presented on behalf of the Department. He started his presentation by giving a brief provincial overview and said that Western Cape is a province of South Africa, situated on the south-western coast of the country. It is the fourth largest of the nine provinces with an area of 129 449 square kilometres (49 981 square miles), and the third most populated, with an estimated 6.5 million inhabitants as at 2017. About two-thirds of these inhabitants live in the metropolitan area of Cape Town, which is also the provincial capital.

The Western Cape Provincial Government, led by the Department of Local Government, has commenced with the directive of establishing the JDA Forums where the DWS is a participant. The Western Cape Department of Local Government (DLG) is the coordinator of rollout of the District Approach Development (DADM) in the Western Cape. The inception meeting was held on 05 November 2020 where local municipalities, district municipalities in the WC as well as both national and provincial sector departments including the DWS attended.

Funding of R15 000 000 was allocated to complete the Citrusdal Waste Water Treatment Works Cederberg Local Municipality Cederberg Local Municipality, on the adjustment budget. This project has been on hold due to lack of funding on the municipality side after DWS completed its portion of funding. Western Cape has been allocated R15 326 000 for tanks and tankers through Rand Water.

A total of 615 tanks were delivered to the WC province in April 2020; 401 Tanks allocated to WSAs within non-metro areas; 214 distributed to metro; 12 handwashing facilities donated to the WC by UNICEF. A total of 18 tankers were delivered in the WC, but some were recalled and only 14 are currently in use. To date, 80 244.7 kilolitres of water have been delivered to 7 573 households in Monwabisi Park informal settlement in Khayelitsha, beginning 27 March 2020.

Overberg Water Board (OWB) Presentation

Mr Phakamani Buthelezi, the CEO of OWB, delivered the presentation. The OWB is situated in the Overberg region in the Western Cape, stretching from Botriver in the West to Heidelberg and Riversdale in the East; it is bordered by the Langeberg Mountains in the North and the Indian Ocean in the South. Overberg Water distributes water to the surrounding and rural areas of Cape Agulhas, Theewaterskloof and Swellendam. It has three water treatment schemes with 22 reservoirs which are located strategically across the Overberg region.

The Water Board derives its revenue from the sale of bulk potable water to its main customers, namely municipalities as well as retail sales to the agricultural sector/industry in the region. The organisation supplies and distributes approximately four million cubic metres of water per annum. The region currently supplied covers approximately 6 000km2 with a pipeline network estimated at 1 450km.

Overberg Water submitted a water license application for the Duiwenhoks system in 2002 in Afrikaans. This application was rejected and a request was made to submit in English. Overberg Water made the application in 2007 for the initial application to abstract more water from the system at their current authorised intake points.

The Duivenhoks and East plants have already exceeded their water license since 2014/15. New water licenses were issued but cannot be confirmed.

Overberg Water supplies potable water to farmers in its area for Human Consumption as well as Stock Watering. As the farmers' needs changed, their demand also changed.

Some of the infrastructure projects for the 2020/21 financial year include Duivenhoks replacement of Ac pipes on central mains at Duivenhoks, replacement/upgrade of rising main at Ruensveld East, replacing blowers and buoy additional standby blowers and additional standby pump sets.

Discussion

The Chairperson thanked the presenters and asked Members to ask their questions.

Ms S Mokgotho (EFF) raised her concerns about the presentation from the Water Board. She was not satisfied by the presentation because it consisted of graphs and drawings which meant that one had to be more educated to understand the information which was included in the graphs. She also raised the issue of the whole presentation being full of numbers without any explanations in it.

Ms N Mvana (ANC) acknowledged the presenters considering that there were network issues for the virtual meeting. She was concerned about the low numbers of targets in the Western Cape. She was satisfied with the number of people who were going to benefit from the scheme being 650 but was worried that only 10 people were going to get title deeds. Considering the amount of people in the Western Cape who require housing, the numbers projected were not satisfying. She asked for further clarity on this.

On the presentation by the Department of Water Affairs there was nothing concrete said because there were a lot of ifs and this was not convincing at all since Members could not get the gist of the presentation. The Committee needs credible information to take back to the people. She raised the same sentiments as those of Ms Mokgotho that the presentation by the Water Board had too many numbers, graphs and diagrams that did not explain the core issues to the Committee.

Ms E Powell (DA) commended the Western Cape Human Settlements for achieving a 98 % payment rate. Her question was about how the reduction of title deeds budget allocation is going to have an effect on the Department and if the national budget cuts are going to have an impact on providing housing in the province.

She also asked the type of support that the province is receiving from the government to combat the current land invasions considering the scary statistics presented.

In terms of skills retention, Ms Powell asked if the province is retaining any skills of young people.

Ms M Mohlala (EFF) asked about the issue of cutting unnecessary expenditure. She pointed out that there has been a decrease of 10.12% of the department’s delivery and there is an increase of informal settlements in the Western Cape because the government has failed to provide accommodation. There have been gruesome evictions in Western Cape. What has the Department done about such issues? She also about the water delivery which was delivered to 7 573 households in Khayelitsha and the people of Kraaifontein, Khayelitsha ward 94, 96 and 98, together with Mfuleni, did not have any access to water. The number of households in informal settlements with access to water is higher than those with access to sanitation because people in informal settlements are not taken seriously and this must be changed.

Her third question was on page eight of the Department of Water. She asked for the reasons why the Cape Agulas, Stellenbosch and Swellendam local municipality not complying with the water services plans for 2017-20.

She also asked about the effect of budget cuts on water and sanitation and how the province was dealing with social housing projects within the inner city, considering that there have been recent court cases.

Mr M Mashego (ANC) said that he was in agreement with points raised by other Members that the Western province has been denying black people access to land and they had to be taken to court by different organisations and it seemed like Western Cape wanted to create their own Europe. The report presented looked like a ticking exercise because there was no proper progress in the reports and nothing concrete was said by the presenters.

The Western Cape is the second city with the most shacks in South Africa but the city and the province are comfortable with building 10 units for people who do not have houses, and it is a shame. The presentation for the Western Cape stated that for them to give money to municipalities they want a plan but the same thing applies for them when it comes to the national government because it enables the province to be not in a position to provide services for citizens. He found it difficult to follow the presentations.

Mr Mashego also raised his concerns on the criteria on who will qualify for subsidised housing because of the high pricing and the cheapest houses will range above R 1 million; the amounts being projected are presented as if it is a good thing. The high cost of living does not allow for many people to rent-to-buy and this is why most of the land ends up owned by Europeans. Western Cape is using its own developmental model which is not aligned to the one of the national government. He also mentioned the issue of the failure of taking the Committee seriously because some of the things mentioned in the report were not making logical sense, especially when it came to the meetings held by the Western Cape Human Settlements Department, and they did not proofread their report. He asked if the documents of the tender for building social houses would be made public. The Committee was still waiting on the report on water and sanitation.

Ms Mokgotho asked her first question to the Western Cape Human Settlements: when will land be made available to South Africans in Western Cape so that they can build houses for themselves? When will the government, together with the WC, stop selling land at exorbitant prices? This deprived many South Africans from owning land. The subsidies for housing programmes were cut. What was the logic in doing this considering the backlog of people who do not have houses in WC? Her third question was about the upgrade for the water systems in Prince Albert and she wanted to know the time frames of this project.

Ms S Graham-Mare (DA) thanked the presenters. She asked on the elaboration of the monthly or annual influx of people in the Western Cape and the necessitated burden on the province on trying to provide accommodation for these people coming into the province. She also asked if there are other forms of accommodation that can be implemented at a cheaper cost so as to provide accommodation/housing.

Ms Graham-Mare mentioned that the R202 million that had been lost meant that the province will not be able to meet targets because of the backlogs. She also wanted to know of the amount that has been used because of land invasions. If that money had been used for housing projects, how much houses could have been built? Lastly, she wanted an elaboration on the land invasions in the province.

Ms G Tseke (ANC) said the Western Cape Human Settlements presentation did not cover the matter of title deeds. She asked if the province could provide the number of title deeds issued pre and post 1994. In the previous years, have violence and bribery caused the delay in issuing of services and title deeds? What plan does the province have to deal with the problems?

Her other question was on the issue of giving housing to people with disabilities. The province has let sewage overflow around the province yet there is lots of money being spent on private securities.

Her last question was about the court judgment which dealt with the issue of social housing and she said that the Western Cape was not interested in giving black people housing because they are being driven out of the city centre. How is the province going to rectify the situation so that the housing policies are aligned with the Constitution?

Mr M Tseki (ANC) said that the DA Members must be honest with themselves because the issue of budget cuts was a national decision and the DA leadership even praised President Ramaphosa for the decision but in the Committee they were using political scoring as an excuse. There was no point in supporting the excuses raised by the Western Cape presentation.

There was a bit of misunderstandings amongst the Members as Ms Powell was of the view that personal aspersions were being cast towards her.

The Chairperson asked Members to calm down and maintain decorum in their engagements.

Ms C Seoposengwe (ANC) commented that she would congratulate the Western Cape only when the landless have land to build houses; the gap between the poor and the rich in Western Cape is huge. She asked about the state of the relationship between the national department and the Western Cape Department.

Mr S August (GOOD) asked about the densification in the Cape Town CBD, concerning the new houses being built. He also wanted to know how the Western Cape will deal with the poor communities which are outside the municipalities, seeing that there are no housing schemes.

The Chairperson asked about the teachers, nurses and policemen staying in backyards because of the housing backlog. She asked if the Department of Public Works was involved in trying to assist in providing houses to lower ranking government employees.

She also asked how the Department was handling the money lost due to land invasions because the government has to work with the security forces to assist them.

Ms Pam Tshwete, Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, expressed that she was disappointed by the fact that the presentations were being defended by some of the Committee Members, especially on the issue of budget cuts because all provinces had experienced the same cuts. The Western Cape must prioritise service delivery for the people.

She also highlighted that it was uncalled for one Member to ask for the number of people who had mentored Western Cape because citizens should be allowed to travel freely around the country. Also, provinces have informal settlements but the Western Cape is very discriminatory if they implement the counting of people and such things should not be defended.

Responses

Ms August responded to some of the questions that were raised by the Members. She started by responding to the question on targets for 2020/21 and she said that the targets were set taking into consideration the delays because of Covid-19 and there is still time to meet the targets.

She said that the response for the title deeds will be provided in writing to the Members by the Department but she indicated that between 2015/16 and 2019/20 financial years 49 434 title deeds were transferred and the target for 2020/21 financial year is 3 000 title deeds. The province intends to achieve this by supporting the seven municipalities dealing with the backlogs so as to meet the targets.

The mushrooming of informal settlements is not going to stop and this will have an impact on the province and national plans. There is a need to look at which informal settlements can be developed so that communities can have a better quality of life at the same time being able to access public services.

The national human settlements have set an engagement with SAPS so as to get support on land invasions so that they prevent future invasions and there has been a commitment from SAPS to work organically with the province and national department to curb land invasions.

Social housing in the inner city is underway and has been approved; there are approximately over 400 units and the construction is beginning this month and completion will be around July 2021. In Salt River there will be 243 units but the project was affected by Covid-19. The project is being packaged by the City of Cape Town and it is currently going through the public hearings of rezoning and it will be done soon.

On assistance to people who have invaded housing projects, she indicated that there has been progress and an eviction process must be done; there must be emergency housing to be provided for the people. The province is working with different NGOs and is open to working with more in the future.

The province is in talks with banks concerning how to provide housing to people who do not earn more than R10 000 so that they can own a house in the province; there are different mechanisms to be explored, and it must be taken into account that land in Cape Town is expensive.

Development can be accelerated if the budget from the national government is more but because of the current circumstances it is difficult at the moment. There are more than 300 000 households on the waiting list for houses. The population of the province is around six million and between 2011 and 2016 there was an immigration of 290 000 people. Stats SA is projecting that by 2021 the province would have seen more than 450 000 people moving into the province.

The challenge with high rise for social housing is that once you go higher it means the more it will cost to build the houses and they will not be affordable for the low income earning people in the province. The province has partnered with Rooftop of Canada in a way of trying to curb the housing issues in the province.

The budget cuts will continue to have an effect on the projects because whatever that is not done during that financial year will have to be moved to the next year.

Ms August also said that they do engage with the national department on how they deal with the different issues that they encounter and they are willing to continue working with them.

In response to whether the province has engaged the Department of Public Works to afford housing to government employees, she said that the province wishes to link with the government employee scheme to run a few workshops and to explain what this scheme can offer to the workers.

Mr Francois de Wet, CFO, Western Cape Department of Human Settlements, responded to the question of retention of skills, saying that there were some struggles and they have embarked on a process of developing their own professionals. Currently there are eight candidate engineers who received bursaries from the national development and there are chances of them being employed once they complete their studies so that there is a young group of employees. There is also a bursary scheme from the provincial department; it has allocated R800 000 and it focuses on human settlements skills so that there is skills retention.

The province did not want to interrupt any ongoing contracts because of the budget cuts and it had to reprioritise some of the projects so as to make sure that some of the projects can be deferred without any additional costs to the province. There was also guidance provided by national counterparts on which projects to focus on and guidelines have been drawn. The most vulnerable people will get houses and the services that they deserve.

The City of Cape Town has not yet closed its books so the final expenditure cannot be determined at this time, but the city does report to the national department.

She explained that women and youth are catered for in sub-contracts so as to ensure that they also get projects to work on. There was a drive that was particularly targeted to get women and the youth but it has not been successful at the moment.

There are professional teams that assist municipalities in helping them and there are qualified engineers within those teams. Workshops are also held at different times so as to ensure that everyone understands what needs to be done.

Land invasions and vandalism have had a negative impact on the province; about 3 000 sites have been affected and R40 million has been lost due to these.

The Chairperson thanked the WC Department for the responses and asked the National Department of Human Settlements to respond.

National Department of Human Settlements

The response by the National Department was about illegal land occupation; it was that there is a miscontextualisation between land occupation and land invasions because it is a consequence of development. The Department has a developmental responsibility and that is what they look into, making sure that there is security and that does not indicate that there is no need to make sure there is proper planning. It is a countrywide issue of people going into towns and cities seeking better economic opportunities and this creates a situation where people find themselves in informal settlements. It remains a responsibility of provinces to tackle such issues. A separate budget outline has been created to deal with the issues and this money should be spent for housing projects.

Due to the signal/network problems there was a break off for some time.

Overberg Water

The Western Cape water supply has a steering committee which is looking at all the strategies for water supply in the province and these include amongst other alternate water supplies of surface water; one project is in preparation stages and has been announced by the President. There is also the issue of wastewater reclamation and dissemination.

The issue about dissemination, which covers most of the coastal cities, is that there is a need for an engagement with the Portfolio Committee so as to share ideas and it can be used in other provinces as well.

The Bellville office responded to the other questions which were raised by the Members. It said that the Western Cape has trained all the municipalities in assisting them, in completing the water services development systems. The municipalities have been struggling to complete the plans because some of them have a high level of turnover, and the Water Board has engaged the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the provincial government to identify the struggling municipalities.

The City of Cape Town has highlighted the Monwabisi as one of the high risk areas because there are no water networks in the area and they have to be tendering; this is the reason why it was highlighted in the presentation.

The project in Prince Albert was completed on 30 July 2020 but it is still in testing phase. In order to resolve the matter of the Stellenbosch wastewater treatment, the Department has funded a plant that cost R405 million, and the project is also completed but still in the testing phase; that is why it was not included in the presentation. They also said that they are working on the presentations so that there are not a lot of diagrams but there is more information that Members can understand.

The percentages of water that is received by the population in informal settlements decreased because the beneficiaries are actually more. There is a need to increase the water supply because there is a high demand for water especially in informal settlements and the department has worked together with SALGA.

Mr David Mahlobo, Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, thanked the Department delegation for presentations. He said that the budget cuts do affect all departments and all water services authorities will need to support all municipalities that are affected so that they can be able to spend the money allocated to them. If the projects are water-related the national department still has a say. He was happy that Western Cape was being discussed because the province had water issues and the focus on other municipalities is important because the province is not only about Cape Town. Assessments still need to be done so as to determine if there is still capacity to distribute water. There should be a discussion around dissemination, especially because some parts are surrounded by the sea and the only issue might be that of skills and technology. Issues of management can also be discussed in the future. Generally, he was pleased by the work of the province especially when it came to water pollution. He said that heavy fines must be imposed for those who are found on the wrong side of the law.

Ms Mohlala raised the question about delivery of water to Khayelitsha, Mfuleni and Kraaifontein because only Monwabisi was highlighted in the presentation. She was not convinced with the response given by the water board because those people did not have water. She wanted to know if the ongoing water and sanitation projects are going to be affected by the budget cuts.

Ms Mohlala was also disappointed by the response given by the DM because she was of the view that the issue was being politicised and that ANC leaders were being too political all the time but not trying to sort out issues that are affecting the people.

The Chairperson requested Ms Mohlala to be quiet because an order was raised.

Ms Mvana concurred that Ms Mohlala was right in saying that issues must not be politicised but argued that Ms Mohlala was doing the same thing. If she has concerns she should be direct and clear.

Ms Mohlala said that issues must be raised regardless of the party and the issues must be dealt with.

Ms Tseke said that she would like the WC Department to respond in writing on the matter of title deeds. She also wanted to hear the voice of the province and that of the Department of Housing on the Tafelberg judgment.

Ms Powell asked for the meeting to be concluded as time was running out and she also said that another meeting can be scheduled for another date.

Ms N Sihlwayi (ANC) said that the response by the WC province was worrisome because they did not have knowledge of what they were presenting; there was inconsistency.

Ms Mvana asked for accurate numbers to be included in the written responses.

Ms August asked if Ms Mvana could clarify on her question.

Ms Mvana said that she was talking about slide 12.

Ms August said that the question by Ms Mvana was directed to water and sanitation. She also assured Members that they would receive written responses. The Water Board also said that the projects will not be affected by implementation but there may be a delay in the completion time because Covid-19 had affected the cash flow injection. The provincial government is responsible for the delivery of water to the places that were mentioned by Ms Mohlala. She said that the corrected slides will be sent to the office of the Chairperson.

The national Department of housing and settlements also promised to provide a written response.

The Chairperson thanked the guests for their presentation and for responding to questions raised by Members and asked them to respond, to the outstanding questions that were raised in the meeting, in writing.

The meeting was adjourned

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