Department of Human Settlements & Western Cape Rental Housing Tribunal 2019/20 Annual Reports

Human Settlements (WCPP)

11 December 2020
Chairperson: Ms M Maseko (DA)
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Meeting Summary

Video: Committee Meeting

Western Cape Annual Reports 2019/20 

In a virtual meeting, the Western Cape Rental Housing Tribunal and Western Cape Department of Human Settlements engaged the Committee on their 2019/20 Annual Reports.

During the first quarter of the financial year, the Tribunal operated with four members with the new chairperson appointed in October 2019.

The office building of the Tribunal was currently under refurbishment and during the year under review, the Tribunal had received 775 complaints. These complaints varied from exorbitant increases to failure to conduct maintenance. The Tribunal had managed to finalise 381 of these complaints. The Tribunal's work had also moved to virtual platforms since January 2020.

For the year under review, 535 hearings had been scheduled, with 154 having been postponed. 55 warrants had been issued at a combined value of R1 555 513.85.

Members questioned backlogs and unresolved cases, if there was a difference between queries lodged with the helpdesk and those lodged via the call centre, how many call centre enquiries had resulted in actual hearings, warrants, default hearings and mediation hearings.

Briefing the Committee on its 2019/20 Annual Report, the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements informed the Committee that its performance came against the background of decreased budgets. The Department had contributed to job creation and skills development. The Department had demonstrated a commitment to creating opportunities for previously disadvantaged contractors. The Western Cape had once again been recorded as the best performing province with 16 000 housing units delivered. 1 600 units had been constructed through using green innovative technology.

During the 2019/20 financial year, the Department delivered 8 038 units against a target of 9 723 and 5 842 sites against a target of 6 486. The Department spent 100% of its budget. The Department moved from a transferring Department to an implementing Department. The establishment of the Department was not amended to make provision for construction procurement, and therefore, it experienced constraints in Supply Chain Management (SCM). The Department had been in constant discussions with Provincial Treasury to increase its equitable share that addressed this. The Department received a clean audit.

Members questioned the over expenditure on compensation of employees, amounts paid for accrued leave, the sale of RDP houses, senior management vacancies, research papers and support for backyard dwellers. Members also wanted a detailed list of all SMMEs that had been provided with contracts since 2014. There were questions related to the appointment of women and youth contractors, the reduction of debtors, delays with water connections and why the Department had missed the densification target of informal settlements. Members probed the targets missed for housing units and services sites available in the province.

The Department was lauded for the transfer of title deeds although there was a concern of the backlog.

The Committee resolved that the Department had to provide;

  • A breakdown of warrants of execution in relation to the Tribunal
  • Detailed information on how many hearings Tribunal members had attended and the remuneration they received
  • The type of cases outstanding at the Tribunal
  • Detailed information on the De Novo Housing project
  • Succinct information on the title deeds backlog

Meeting report

Western Cape Housing Rental Tribunal

Opening remarks by MEC

Mr Tertius Simmers, Western Cape MEC: Human Settlements, informed Members that since the last annual performance report of the Western Cape Rental Housing Tribunal had been presented to the Committee, vast improvements by the Tribunal had been recorded. The Tribunal had invested in innovation and managed to deal with the backlog.

Opening remarks by HOD

Ms Jacqueline Samson, Head of Department: Western Cape Department of Human Settlements (WCHS), said that it had been 20 years since the Tribunal had been established and that innovations had been introduced to streamline its work. This included an online case management tool that enabled people to register their complaints online. The Tribunal's office building had also been renovated to make it more accessible to the public and improve service delivery.

Opening remarks by the Chairperson of the Western Cape Rental Housing Tribunal (RHT)

Mr Lionel Esterhuizen, RHT Chairperson, noted that 20 years since the inception of the Tribunal, it had conducted pioneering work. He expressed his gratitude to the Tribunal members and staff for the work that had been conducted thus far. He noted that the Tribunal had faced staff as well as funding challenges however this did not prevent members and staff from performing well.

He added that even though the Tribunal was an independent body, it relied on the WCHS for support. The Department had been the "feet and hands" of the Tribunal. He lauded the excellent and cordial relationship that existed between the Tribunal and the WCHS. One of the innovations that had assisted the Tribunal had been the move to online submission of complaints.

Also, the Department had provided laptops to all Tribunal members. This had assisted members to be better prepared and saved costs.

Western Cape Rental Housing Tribunal Annual Report 2019/20

Mr Nathan Adriaanse, Director:  Communication and Stakeholder Relations, and Mr Esterhuizen, briefed the Committee on the Tribunal's annual performance for 2019/2020.

During the first quarter of the financial year, the Tribunal operated with four members with the new chairperson appointed in October 2019.

The office building of the Tribunal was currently under refurbishment and during the year under review, the Tribunal had received 775 complaints. These complaints varied from exorbitant increases to failure to conduct maintenance. The Tribunal had managed to finalise 381 of these complaints. The Tribunal's work had also moved to virtual platforms since January 2020.

For the year under review, 535 hearings had been scheduled, with 154 having been postponed. 55 warrants had been issued at a combined value of R1 555 513.85.

Discussion

Mr D America (DA) noted that the Tribunal had a history of serious case backlogs. He wanted to ascertain to what extent the Tribunal had dealt with the backlogs and what the current status of unresolved cases was.

He also wanted to ascertain whether there had been a difference between queries lodged with the helpdesk and those lodged via the call centre. Further to this, he wanted to know how many call centre enquiries had resulted in actual hearings.

In terms of the number of warrants issued execution, Mr America asked how many of these warrants had been executed and whether there had been compliance by those sanctioned.

He also asked what the status was of the complaints that had been lodged against Communicare.

On default hearings, he wanted to ascertain how many decisions emanated from default hearings.

He noted that the mediation process seemed to yield a low success rate and as such wanted to know who conducted these mediation hearings.

Mr A van der Westhuizen (DA) asked whether there had been a logical explanation for the decrease in phone calls that the Tribunal had dealt with and whether the Tribunal shared a call centre with the Department.

He added that there had also been a decrease in the number of cases that had been captured compared to previous years. He asked whether there had been a reason for this given the current economic realities since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He further noted that on page 13 of the Tribunal's Report, mention had been made the number of hearings scheduled exceeded the number of cases settled. He asked to what extent the mediation process had relieved pressure on the Tribunal and what other options were available to decrease the caseload.

Mr van der Westhuizen further stated that the Tribunal had been quite innovative since it had been one of the first government agencies that switched to virtual meetings. He inquired to what extent ordinary citizens that did not have the means could be assisted with data or other means by local government authorities to access the online services of the Tribunal.

On case backlogs, he asked what the current backlog was and how the Tribunal intended to clear these. All indications had been that the situation was getting worse.

The Chairperson stated that a big chunk of the complaints related to Communicare. She wanted to ascertain whether the Tribunal was able to highlight one landlord as an example of best practises in how to deal with tenants.

On the organogram of the Tribunal, the Chairperson said that it would have been nice to see the faces of Tribunal members and staff.

Replies by the RHT

Mr Adriaanse noted that in the case of Communicare, 775 complaints had been received since 2018. Of these, 411 had been finalised and 22 mediation sessions had been concluded as well.

Only 307 cases remained and the Tribunal had set aside Mondays to attend to the Communicare complaints. This fell outside the normal operating time of the Tribunal. Staff members had also been empowered to conduct mediation sessions and Tribunal members had also been delegated to conduct mediation processes on their own.

The call centre had been the main access point to lodge complaints and to raise any queries.

He referred Members to the Annual Report on the number of calls and queries that had been received.

On the decrease in cases, in 2018/2019, there had been an influx of cases that related to Communicare. During the 2019/2020 financial year, these queries had largely been dealt with, hence the decrease.

Any enquiry was preceded by an investigation. The Tribunal always tried to ascertain whether mediation would be the best course of action. If this process failed then a hearing would be conducted. For the financial year under review, the Tribunal had not overseen many mediation processes.

On the organogram of the Tribunal, adjustments would be made that included the pictures of the Tribunal members and staff.

Mr Esterhuizen added that the virtual meetings had been a useful tool to assist people. Experience had taught him that connectivity remained a challenge as people struggled to connect. In some cases, the connectivity had been so bad that the Tribunal had to call in-person meetings.

The Tribunal could engage municipalities to assist with the roll-out of the service to more people however this should be done with the provision that the municipalities would foot the bill as the Tribunal had limited resources.

On whether there had been a landlord that could be highlighted as an example, he added that in most cases, the landlords had been the respondents and that it was difficult to pinpoint one specific landlord. Most of the bigger landlords had been represented by agents whose sole responsibility had been to maximise returns for their clients.

On Communicare, the organisation normally adjusted rent amounts in June-July annually and that these rental adjustments had always been more than other agencies. This had led to unease among tenants who had then organised themselves in groups to challenge the hike in rental fees. There were areas where rental management by landlords could be improved and it was hoped that landlords would learn from their mistakes.

Mr Nkosana Vaveki, Spokesperson, RHT, fielded the questions related to the warrants of execution. He informed that once a ruling had been made in monetary terms and the judgment debtor had failed to comply, the Tribunal would then issue a warrant of execution. In the normal course of events, the warrant would be served by the Sheriff of the High Court. The Tribunal's role had been to ensure that the warrant had been properly drafted. The Tribunal did not get involved in whether a warrant had been executed or not. That would be a matter for the courts.

On default hearings, he stated that a default hearing would normally take place when one of the parties failed to attend a hearing. If the Tribunal felt that it had been presented with all the facts, a judgment would be issued by the Tribunal.

The Tribunal had issued 55 warrants for execution in 2019. These warrants totalled an amount of nearly R2 million.

Western Cape Department of Human Settlements Annual Report 2019/20

Opening remarks by the MEC

The MEC noted that the WCHS had once again been allowed to improve lives and that his Department had ensured deserving beneficiaries received government housing. This Department's performance came against the background of decreased budgets however it relied on key drivers that ensured service delivery took place at a radical and accelerated pace that integrated communities and sought to empower beneficiaries. The Department had contributed to job creation and skills development.

The Department had also once again demonstrated a commitment to creating opportunities for previously disadvantaged contractors. About 64% of all contracts had been awarded to small to medium-sized industries (SMMEs) owned by previously-disadvantaged individuals.  About 156 young people against a target of 150 youths had been empowered and more than 1 600 jobs had been created.

The MEC noted that innovation came to play and will continue to play a crucial role in the operations of the Department. The reliance on innovation had been driven by the increased needs of the Tribunal.

He lauded the performance of the Western Cape who had once again been recorded as the best performing province with 16 000 housing units delivered. He reiterated the central role that innovation played in construction. 1 600 units had been constructed through using green innovative technology. He also cited the role played by Covid-19.

During the 2019/20 financial year, the Department delivered 8 038 units against a target of 9 723 and 5 842 sites against a target of 6 486. 2 337 Enhanced Extended Discount Benefit Scheme (EEDBS) opportunities were provided to beneficiaries, against a target of 650. This has resulted in 16 217 housing opportunities delivered against a target of 16 859. This performance had to be adjudicated against the Department's 100% expenditure of its budget.

The over-expenditure of R5 117 000 on compensation of employees (COE) will be financed from under-expenditures on Compensation of Employees in programmes 2 and 3.

The over-expenditure of R541 000 on goods and services will be financed from an under-expenditure on goods and services in programmes 2 and 3.

The over-expenditure of R199 000 on households: social benefits were due to leave gratuities and retirement benefits for staff exiting the service. It will be financed from under-expenditures on COE in programme 3.

The Department moved from a transferring Department to an implementing Department. The establishment of the Department was not amended to make provision for construction procurement, and therefore, it experienced constraints in Supply Chain Management (SCM). The Department had been in constant discussions with Provincial Treasury to increase its equitable share that addressed this.

The Department received a clean audit.

Discussion

Mr van der Westhuizen touched on the over-expenditure on the compensation of employees and wanted to ascertain why this had occurred. He also wanted an explanation about the amount that had been paid for accrued leave.

On the transfer of title deeds, Mr van der Westhuizen lauded the performance of the WCHS that had utilised the specially earmarked funding from the national government. Whilst he regarded the performance as fantastic, he was concerned with the backlog that still existed. He wanted to ascertain the extent of the backlog and questioned what would happen with the title deeds initiative since government had rolled back the special allocation.

He stated that 90% of the deeds transfers were probably easy since the beneficiaries might still have been alive however his worry was about those complex cases where beneficiaries might have passed away already. He wanted to know how these cases had and would be dealt with.

Mr van der Westhuizen further touched on the number of housing units that had been constructed with the help of employers. He pronounced that he still believed that employers in good financial standing (farmers included) would be willing to assist their employees to obtain houses.

He highlighted the limitations on the sale of RDP houses and noted that people just ignored these limitations. He stated that many people had bought RDP houses. He wanted to ascertain what the stance was on the sale of RDP houses.

He also wanted to know the status of the De Novo housing scheme. He commented that this project must surely have given the HOD grey hair.

Mr America stated that the human settlements portfolio was dynamic and required thought leaders.

He added that the WCHS had reported that positive strides had been made in the area of community engagement. He asked whether this had led to a reduction in disputes/protests compared to previous years.

On measures that promoted employer-driven private investment for employees, he wanted to ascertain how many employers/institutions had been made aware of the measures.

On senior management vacancies, he wanted to know how long these posts had been vacant and whether these vacancies had any impact on service delivery.

On departmental research papers, he asked whether these research papers had been generated internally or whether external service providers had been utilised. If service providers had been utilised, he wanted to know how much money had been spent on these research papers.

Mr B Herron (GOOD) requested clarity on what had been meant by non-credit linked subsidy.

On support to backyard dwellers, he noted that reference had been made to the Urban Settlement Development Grant (USD). He wanted to know what the practical benefits were for backyard dwellers.

On title deeds, Mr Herron asked whether the title deeds that had been issued related to the historical backlog. He assumed that the owners of newly allocated government housing received their title deeds when the houses were handed over for occupation.

Replies

Mr Francois de Wet, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), WCHS, replied that 2% of the human settlements capital grant could be utilised as operating capital. The Western Cape had utilised some of these funds towards compensation of employees due to the equitable share not being sufficient.

He added that funding for the Tribunal fell under programme 1 of the Department's plan, yet it had been funded through programme 3. This enabled the province to allocate savings that could later be released to fund and invest in capital projects.

He added that accrued leave had been provisioned for and that much of the budget had gone to pay for accrued leave by the former HOD of the Department.

On title deeds, he commented that for the past few years, the province had worked with municipalities to include title deeds issuances in their business plans. An audit was currently underway on what had been paid over to municipalities for title deeds. The issuance of title deeds would not stop and that it would be funded by additional funding allocated by the province.

Mr Roy Stewart, Director: Land and Asset Management, WCHS, informed Members that the Western Cape currently had a housing backlog of 58 000 units. These figures had been double-checked against those that had been available from national government.

He reported that the Western Cape had been able to hand over 42 000 title deeds. Officials who had worked on the title deeds had all been let go as their contracts had expired. The province had focused on those municipalities with the highest backlogs and this had led to in-depth insight into the backlogs.

He was confident that there had been sufficient funding to clear the backlogs and municipalities would assist to clear the backlogs.

Ms Samson explained that the Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme, better known as FLISP, had been developed to enable affordable first-time home-ownership opportunities to South African citizens and legal permanent residents that earned between R3 501 and R22 000 per month whereas the non-finance-linked individual subsidy is what one gets if you one pay ones contribution or is available to persons earning R0-R3 500 per month to buy an existing house or plot that must be linked to the construction of a house.

The Western Cape had pioneered the non-finance linked subsidy in partnership with employers that contributed to the construction of housing units for their workers. One example had been the Lanzerac development in Idas Valley, Stellenbosch.

On the illegal sale of RDP houses, she added that the province had been aware of the continued illegal sale of RDP houses. She informed that through ministerial roadshows, beneficiaries had been made aware of the illegality of selling RDP houses. People had to ask permission from the WCHS on whether they could sell RDP houses.

Ms Samson also elaborated on the vacancies within the Department.

On the De Novo housing scheme, Mr Preshane Chandaka, Director: Regional Support of the Overberg and Cape Winelands, noted that the De Novo housing scheme had been divided into two phases. Phase 1 looked at the rectification of 14 units. Pre-fab structures also had to be constructed to act as temporary housing for residents.

Phase 2 had been managed by the Planning Director. A project steering committee had also been set-up and power of attorney had been obtained from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI). A professional team that comprised of engineers, architects and other industry professionals had been appointed to work on the development rights.

The Department had also brokered an agreement between Stellenbosch and Cape Town on the provision of bulk services. It had been envisaged that all approvals and planning would be done by March 2021.

Mr Adriaanse added that the project steering committee had the mandate to liaise with the community through regular engagement.

Ms Samson added that the province had tried to hone in on sustainable mutually beneficial partnerships. The province insisted that certain things had to be made available from the side of the employer before a project could be commenced on.

Ms Pamela Masiko-Kambala, Director: Policy and Research, WCHS, stated that both research papers had been generated internally. One of the research papers called for caution on the rent-to-buy schemes. The research paper had found that people who opted for rent-to-buy schemes had no protections under such schemes. It concluded that those who managed such schemes could withdraw support at any time. People will then lose their investment.

Mr Brian Denton, Director: Project Administration, WCHS, emphasised that the non-finance-linked individual subsidy is what one gets if one can pay ones contribution or is available to persons earning R0-R3 500 per month to buy an existing house or plot that must be linked to the construction of a house.

Further discussion

Mr A Lili (ANC) posed questions related to the SMMEs. He asked the Department to provide a detailed list of all SMMEs that had been provided with contracts since 2014.

He also wanted to ascertain what innovative solutions had been implemented and what progress had been made to fill critical vacancies.

Mr P Marran (ANC) asked who had been assigned to deal with the issuance of title deeds since the contracts had lapsed of the officials who had worked on it.

Replies

MEC Simmers stated that community engagement had a positive impact. He recalled that in 2019, residents in Veldrift had destroyed housing units at the direction of a certain political party. This had resulted in people not being able to move into the housing units. He had visited Veldrift to familiarise himself with the problem and managed to bring the matter to conclusion. The last ten houses had also been handed over on 10 December 2020.

He added that communication was important and that it was important to find solutions in this Covid-19 period. This had been a practical solution where the WCHS had assisted the community.

On title deeds restoration, he added that funding had been earmarked to municipalities and that many of these municipalities had historical backlogs. This was not a quick fix solution. The Department is solutions-orientated and not problem-orientated. He called on other stakeholders to assist the provincial government.

On Mr Lili's question, the HOD noted that the Annual Report contained a comprehensive list of all companies that had received contracts from the provincial government.

Mr de Wet added that 64% of all provincial contracts had gone to designated individuals.

He further noted that contract positions were only valid for one year and normally related to a specific function that had to be done. This was the reason for the high turnover rate when contracts expired.

Further discussion

Mr Marran said that he was glad that all houses in Veldrift had been handed over however he took exception to the comments by the MEC about a political party involved with the protests. He stated that it was the duty of Members to highlight problems and that the MEC seemed to forget that an oversight visit had been conducted in that area. The reasons for the stalled project at that time had nothing to do with political parties - rather it had to do with the inherent challenge with the allocation of houses.

The MEC replied that it was important to him to contextualise his inputs. He stuck to his previous comment that the protestors had been incited by a certain political party. The memorandum that had been handed over to the provincial government also carried the hallmarks of a certain political party.

He added that the dispute had been resolved as the allegations that had been levelled could be disputed. There had been no underhand actions with identifying beneficiaries. The province had rejected a proposal that the allocation of housing units had to be done according to race. This had been unacceptable and was deemed as such by law.

53 houses had been damaged at a cost of millions of Rands. He called on Members to engage with facts and not fiction.

Follow-up questions

Mr America thanked the MEC for his explanation and stated that all indications had been that the Department had done well. He did however question the performance regarding the appointment of women contractors as well as the youth. He wanted to know what more the Department could do to attract women and youth contractors. He wanted to ascertain what impeded the appointment of more women and youth contractors.

He recalled that the Department had indicated that it would institute training programmes for women and youth contractors.

Mr America further stated that the number of debtors' outstanding balances had been reduced to zero. The Department had a target of 650 and exceeded that target by 259%. He wanted to ascertain how this happened and whether the Department could be presented with liquidity problems with the enormous reduction of debtors.

Mr Lili asked what had caused the delays with water connections and why the Department had missed the densification target of informal settlements.

The Chairperson recalled that the 2018-2019 APP had talked of strategic changes that ought to have been implemented to create an enabling environment for women and youth contractors.

She wanted to ascertain whether these strategic changes had been implemented as the numbers did not speak to this new strategy.

Replies

The MEC replied that the question around women and youth empowerment had always been an intriguing question for a specific reason. Each municipality had a dedicated helpdesk where women and youth contractors had been able to register themselves. If an opportunity arose then the database would be consulted.

He noted that the biggest challenge had been uptake by women and youth contractors. In some instances, women and youth contractors had outstanding SA Revenue Service (SARS) filing issues. These administrative challenges posed significant challenges to women and youth contractors.

Ms Masiko-Kambala noted that it was correct that the Department had not been able to deliver on the women and youth contractors' target. This had not been as a result of not trying however is related to the prevailing situation in the construction industry. Several interventions had been planned. The Department had devised and published a framework, especially for women contractors. Training programmes by industry bodies had also been offered to women contractors. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, roadshows had also been conducted on attracting more women and youth contractors.

She added that another intervention related to that of the DPWI. The Department was looking at finalising a business plan that will be implemented in the new financial year. This would help to empower the existing contractors' framework.

She said the Department had done its best to deal with water connection challenges. It had been proven that municipalities had not been able to keep up with the rate of water service delivery and such a platform had been set-up for municipalities to engage with the Department on these matters.

The Department had also dealt with water connection challenges. Municipalities are not able to keep up with the rate of delivery. The Department had set up a platform for municipalities to engage.

Mr de Wet added that the Department was not a business that made a profit as it was funded by National Treasury. Thus, it would be municipalities that felt the liquidity crunch.

On the title deeds restoration, he informed Members that the Department had requested whether this grant could also be utilised for pre-1994 title deeds. A waiver had been issued by National Treasury to this effect.

The HOD informed the Committee that the directive on densification of informal settlements had been a new policy guideline in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and that it would be reported on in the new financial year.

Further discussion

Mr Lili asked what the reasons had been for the missing targets of housing units not delivered on and how many had been earmarked for rental and social housing.

He also wanted to know the number of serviced sites available in the province.

The Chairperson stated that it was good to see that many housing units had been constructed however in some municipalities it seemed that there had been no integrated development that made provision for economic and social development of these new neighbourhoods. In some areas, criminality had risen given the lack of economic opportunities.

Replies

On the lack of water meter connections, Ms Masiko-Kambala noted that this had been as a result of community dynamics where communities refused to move.

On spatial planning, Mr Chandakar replied that the Department had monthly technical meetings with municipalities. Through these engagements, professional town planners had been able to verify if projects met predetermined guidelines.

Before the Department approved a housing project, environmental affairs would also be consulted to ensure compliance with the integrated communities’ model.

Further discussion

Mr America noted that Members had been given ample time to interrogate the Report by the Department and questioned why certain Members suddenly posed many questions that were supposed to be asked earlier.

Mr Marran took exception to the comments by Mr America and asked the Chairperson to rule him of order.

The Chairperson replied that she is ruling everyone out of order for not adhering to the Committee rules.

Replies

On the appointment process of the HOD, the MEC informed that the previous HOD's contract had come to an end. The Department then put out a call for candidates to express interest in the position. Several applications had been received and reviewed by the panel. Thereafter, shortlisting had been conducted.

After shortlisting, shortlisted candidates conducted a psychometric test. Candidates were also advised that they would be required to conduct a presentation to the panel. The panel comprised of three MECs and the Acting DG. Each panel member gave a score that fed into a central system. Based on the outcome, a recommendation was then made to propose Ms Samson for the position.  The previous HOD was thus not successful.

Closing remarks by the HOD

The HOD requested that Mr Lili put his questions in writing to the Department. She acknowledged the guidance provided by the Committee and that the Department always took realities on the ground into consideration.

On protest actions across the province, she added that the Department had always sought to engage with communities. She stressed that the Department had always ensured that the most deserving received government housing and that most of the recent protests had been by backyard dwellers or those not currently on housing lists. The department continued to deliver on its mandate despite the two adjustments to the budget.

Closing remarks by the MEC

The MEC noted that the year under review had taught his Department much in terms of the importance of strengthening the working relationship between the provincial government, private business and civil society.  Performance could only be improved through an accelerated pace with the support of a coherent collaborative strategy amongst all relevant stakeholders.

He added that the private sector continued to ask for policy clarity and in this regard, his Department would focus on providing clear policy direction in 2021.

He lamented that the Covid-19 pandemic had an impact on the Department's outreach programmes to women and youth contactors. The virtual meeting platforms proved to be valuable and the Department would continue to focus on this mode of communication for the time being. He stressed that he wanted to see more youths, women and people with disabilities in the construction industry however these designated groups also had to ensure that their affairs were in order.

He further added that even though the title deeds restoration programme would come to a close, municipalities still had available funding to continue with verifying and issuing title deeds. The Department will also compile a database of all the outstanding backlogs and furnish the Committee with such.

The Chairperson thanked the MEC and departmental officials for their hard work during the very difficult year under review and wished them well for the festive season.

Resolutions

The Committee resolved that the Department had to provide;

  • A breakdown of warrants of execution in relation to the Tribunal
  • Detailed information on how many hearings Tribunal members had attended and the remuneration they received
  • The type of cases outstanding at the Tribunal
  • Detailed information on the De Novo Housing project
  • Succinct information on the title deeds backlog

Adoption of Committee Minutes

The Committee adopted two sets of minutes, one that pertained to an oversight visit on 27 November 2020.

Members also discussed the draft programme for 2021 and approved it.

Concluding remarks by Members

Members then expressed their good wishes to each other for the forthcoming festive season and thanked the table staff for their hard work as well.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.

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