The Committee met virtually with the Auditor-General of South Africa and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, to receive the evaluation and report on issues relating to the Department of Human Settlements.
The Auditor-General reported that the overall outcomes in the portfolio have slightly improved when compared to the prior year. Majority of the audits received an unqualified audit opinion, with findings on compliance and performance information.
The Department reported that the Department of Human Settlements’ annual targets were not clearly indicated for the year 2021 – apart from the evaluation targets; all other targets indicate ‘support provided to provinces’. A number of targets were not met due to Covid-19 i.e., capacity assessments of provinces. The planned pieces of enabling legislation were successfully tabled to Cabinet and in Parliament, i.e., Human Settlements Development Bank Bill, 2021.
The Committee made it clear that it was not satisfied with the Department brushing off serious matters, promising to address recommendations made, and the lack of consequence management for officials that the Special Investigating Unit had reported. What does the Auditor-General intend on doing to ensure that the Department meets all its recommendations, which the Department is seemingly reluctant to address, because, for the past two or three years, it promised to address all the recommendations given by the incumbent Auditor-General and her predecessors?
Members commented that the overall performance of the Department is unsatisfactory, and mid-term targets are also at risk. The Department needs to address systemic issues, especially in the upgrading of informal settlements around. Members pointed out that there are still areas that have the bucket system; this is embarrassing. They asked for clarity on whether there has been a complete eradication of the bucket system.
Members expressed concern that in some areas there are still no internal audit committees or systems in place, within the Department, that can be able to mitigate issues relating to auditing and managing the Department internally. Due to the lack of those systems when the Auditor-General comes in to conduct their audit, it is chaotic.
Consequence management should be implemented swiftly, bravely and consistently. There should not be delays in the disciplinary processes. The entities must also address the delays in their disciplinary processes.
The Committee expressed its concern with the backlog in the distributing of title deeds. Members were not satisfied with the lack of collaboration and proper systems to provide efficient service. Members also expressed concern that in some areas there are still no internal audit committees or systems in place that can be able to mitigate issues relating to auditing and managing the Department internally. Due to the lack of those systems when the Auditor-General comes in to conduct their audit, it is chaotic.
Introductory Remarks by the Chairperson
The Chairperson opened the virtual meeting, welcoming the Members and the guest delegations from the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DMPE). She introduced the agenda of the meeting and then handed over to the first entity for its presentation.
Briefing by the Auditor-General of South Africa
The overall outcomes in the portfolio have slightly improved when compared to the prior year. Majority of the audits received an unqualified audit opinion, with findings on compliance and performance information.
The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) audit outcomes have improved from a qualified opinion to an unqualified audit opinion with findings on compliance. The improvement was as a result of management implementing systems to ensure that all revenue streams are accounted for, as well as due to the extensive involvement of management in the audit process, resulting in correcting all the identified material misstatements.
The National Home Builders’ Registration Council (NHBRC) and the National Housing Finance Corporation’s (NHFC’s) material misstatements that were identified in the financial statements were subsequently corrected by management, resulting in unqualified with findings audit opinions. This can be attributed to inadequate and lack of timely review processes and slow response in addressing root causes identified in material misstatements.
[See attached presentation document for more details]
Briefing by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation on DHS Annual Report
The Department of Human Settlements (DHS) Annual Report was tabled on 30 September 2021 and it captured an accumulative performance of two years (2019-2021)
The annual targets are not clearly indicated for the year 2021 – apart from evaluation targets; all other targets indicate ‘support provided to Provinces’. A number of targets were not met due to Covid-19 i.e., capacity assessments of provinces. The planned pieces of enabling legislation were successfully tabled to Cabinet and in Parliament, i.e., Human Settlements Development Bank Bill, 2021.
The performance of the Department, as of end of the fourth quarter (31 March 2021), was assessed against the 2019-24 Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) targets. Some of the MTSF targets include:
-Delivering 450 000 subsidised housing units
-Approving 20 000 applications to purchase units for the Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP)
-Delivering 300 000 serviced sites
-Delivering 30 000 social housing/ rental housing units in PDAs
-Delivering 12 000 Community Residential Units (CRU)/ rental housing units in PDA’s
-Upgrading 1 500 Informal Settlements to phase three
-The sector has made strides towards positioning itself as a catalyst for spatial transformation through the declaration of Priority Development Areas and directing investments into these areas
-Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) Forum for Human Settlements entities was established to enhance accountability (ensure performance, compliance and governance)
-Informal settlements were categorised as high-risk areas of mass Covid-19 transmission due to high densities and sub-optimal access to water and sanitation services
-UISP prioritised to slow down the rate and spread of Covid-19 infections by de-densifying and addressing the inhabitable living conditions (lack of basic services, pollution, overcrowding and poor waste management) acting as socio-environmental determinants of health
-The overall performance of the Department is not satisfactory; achievement of MTSF targets are at risk despite MSTF target adjustment
-Critical factors contributing to underperformance in the housing delivery targets
-Major areas of concern relate to poor performance with title deeds registration and upgrading of informal settlements
-Negative impact of Covid-19 pandemic/lockdown regulations
-Failure to pay affordable rental (both formal and informal sector); with greatest impact on designated groups comprising women, the aged and persons with disabilities
-Increased land invasions and evictions halted during lockdown
-Access and the effective use of well-located state-land and parastatal land remain a challenge
-Budget cuts led to postponement of projects, downscaling of delivery targets and reprioritisation
-Rapid Implementation Evaluation of the delivery of title deeds for government subsidised housing; findings and recommendations to inform the redesign of the title deed delivery process
-Department to urgently address systemic and policy issues to unlock implementation and upscale the upgrading of informal settlements
-Department to ensure multi-programme integration in each PDA by facilitating coordination from different sector contributions, focusing strategic interventions and investment prioritisation to support the spatial restructuring agenda
-Department to pay attention to implementation and programme management capacity at the different levels of government, particularly provinces and major cities
-Department to investigate primary cause(s) for delays in rezoning previously acquired land
[See attached presentation document for more details]
Mr A Tseki (ANC) pointed out that the DG said the presentation was going to be short but it ended up being long.
Ms S Mokgotho (EFF) complained that she did not receive a copy of the presentation of the Auditor-General. She felt that it excluded her because she was unable to process the content in order to have a meaningful discussion during the meeting. She enquired why she did not receive the report.
There was a slight commotion around the issue, whereby Mr Tseki claimed that Ms Mokgotho was out of order. He injected a few times during Ms Mokgotho complaint.
The Chairperson stepped in to mediate the situation. The rest of the Committee informed that they had received the presentation in advance. So it seemed that there was an error, which excluded Ms Mokgotho from the email that circulated the presentation of the AG.
Adv M Masutha (ANC) said that all annual reports are gazetted, and Members of Parliament are given access to those reports. He further said that all annual reports are, by law, tabled before Parliament. If the issue is specific presentations that are tailored for meeting then that is what should be discussed, not reports that are accessible to MPs and the public.
The Chairperson apologised and advised that it might have been a device problem that prevented her from receiving the report.
Ms Mokgotho clarified that she received the report but not the presentation made by the AG, which is more detailed than the report.
The Chairperson further explained that the presentation is a summarised version of the report, and is different from the report.
Adv. Masutha made a small request that Members who missed the presentation of the AG be sent the full recording, because commentaries made during the presentation are critical and they provide better engagement with the report as a whole.
Ms Mokgotho requested to be sent the presentation of the AG.
Ms N Tafeni (EFF) said the report of the AG showed a concern in the Department for the year 2020/21. How is the Department ensuring that the internal control has been addressed, since overperformance reporting is improved? Secondly, the AG reported that there is different material reported as achievements for the nine provinces, throughout the Zenzele project. What are the valid reasons for this?
Ms E Powell (DA) started with the DPME report and asked what tangible steps the DPME has taken, from the recommendations, to use smart indicators. Have these recommendations been made before, because they seem repetitive – including the AG’s report? The highest human settlement grant that was invested into PDMAs was in the Western Cape; zero percent was achieved against this target in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape. What recommendations does the DPME have regarding the rectification of the gross underperformance?
On the plans to upgrade the 1 500 informal settlements by mid-terms, target 24 there has been no shift in the baseline, and this is year two. What tangible support does the DPME think it should be providing to provinces to improve the target, or should they revise the indicator to be in line with the new grant?
The drastic underperformance on the provision of the CIUs with community and residential units: in last year’s report it was reported that policy challenges must be resolved. What has been done in this respect, given that this is the second time the reported is made?
Titles deeds are important because people can leverage capital finance, and they are able to kick-start the economy. Every year there is an underperformance from provinces, with the exception of Western Cape, North West and KZN, who have utilised their full title deeds grants. Municipalities in the Eastern Cape, after 26 years of democracy, still do not have the appropriate systems for the administration of title deeds. Throughout the country, in the past year, they have only been able to distribute 3 400 title deeds. The enhancement of provincial capacity has been a key recommendation of the DPME and its not working. Is there a new approach needed? Can DPME give an outline of what other alternatives they can provide?
The overall performance of the Department is unsatisfactory, and mid-term targets are also at risk. The Department needs to address systemic issues, especially in the upgrading of informal settlements around. The residential relief scheme policy still has not been disbursed because of the slow pace of policy. What can be done? Does the Committee need to assist the Department with the revision of targets or new reporting structures?
On the COVID-19 special reporting and in the presentation today, in Limpopo the SAU has shared their findings and remedial actions with the previous Minister and management, but no further action has been taken against further implicated employees. Why has action not been taken? How can this Committee intervene? Should the Committee lay charges in order to hold these officials accountable?
The AG’s report last year noted that there was a lack of consequence management for financial and material irregularity. The report notes that some investigations were not performed against staff that performed irregular and wasteful expenditure. What this means is that corrupt officials are potentially being protected at the provincial level, possibly at national level and within entities. This finding is from previous years despite the promises made that remedial action will be taken and consequence management will be put into place. What can the Minister, DG and the Committee do to ensure that consequence management is implemented?
Ms Powel then directed a question to the Chairperson, that they have not received other reports on NHBIC, AG reports on the TRU project, such as the Duncan village project or the Thulani hostels project. Can the Chairperson explain why these reports have not been shared with the Committee, and when can the Committee expect these reports? The Committee will need to make formal recommendations to Parliament. Additionally, the ADHA progress report on the implementation report that was supposed to come before the Committee in May is not on the programme for this term. Can the Chairperson indicate why?
Her last comment to the Committee was that, over the past two years, with other colleagues in the Committee, there has been requests sent imploring entities like the HDA come to the Committee to account on audit findings, recommendations and issues. These entities only come when it is part of their statutory requirement, such as quarterly reports. She said the Committee needs to focus on following up [speaker lost connection]. Hopefully, under the leadership of the new Minister, there will be more accountability and the Committee will welcome more frequent and regular meetings.
Adv. Masutha generally had a microphone/connectivity problem, which affected the quality of the content.
Adv. Masutha recounted the findings of a failed portal that resulted in non-publication of tenders, which limited access to those who wanted to participate in the procurement process through the portal. He further said that he understands that the portal is not in the control of the Department; they cannot then have findings over something they have no control over, whether by law or physically. Does it not distort the process of accountability? In the past, there have been findings relating to infrastructure issues, and the failures were clearly with public works. However, other departments were punished for it.
Adv. Masutha then had another connection challenge
Secondly, issues with the PAA: The PPA was created by the AGs office, to empower itself to have a meaningful impact, i.e. SIU, public protector, etc. What has the AG done with this empowerment since its inception? As former Minister of Justice, he added that he signed 100’s of proclamations for the SIU to conduct investigation and act on certain matters. The system was broken because there was no synchronisation between institutions such as the PP, SIU. It was hard to tell where the cases of the SIU ended up in the NPA or HAWKS eventually; they were brought together to create a collaborative system – whether this was provided for in the law or not. He expected the AG to have a clear stance on this issue. Parliament previously convened a meeting for all chapter 9 institutions. Mr Kada Asmal came up with a report on how this can be collated. He does not believe that there has been proper coordination to address the issue of miscellaneous and the disregard for the law. He also pointed out that there is corruption within government. He wants the AG to pursue this question with the other entities that they are supposed to work with. He can confidently attest to this because he signed some of the reports and went through them.
The work of the PC relating to the response of the department as it relates to the AG: DPME says they will only be able to implement in the next financial year 2022/23 to create synchronisation between all three spheres. In the Grootboom v Republic of South Africa, the principal had already been set – that it is a collective responsibility. To only hear that there will be implementation in 2022, is worth a discussion. During his tenure in the legal services for Department of Social Services, in 1996, they were able to bring together the all the different entities to work collectively, which eventually created SASSA. There was resistance politically and in provinces. What is preventing them from having a single coordinate Human settlement system? In this day and age we should not be talking about those kinds of issues where there is separate housing delivery in provinces; there should be an integrated housing delivery system that ensures whatever location you are in, you can enjoy equal access to rights within the confines of resources of the country. Housing is a fundamental human right contained in the Constitution”, he said.
Parliament, in terms of the Constitution, has the power to invite any person in the country to come before it, so the issue of separation should not be a deterring factor to call the various entities to come together for a meeting to discuss collaboration.
Is the Department of Land Affairs part of Human Settlements, in terms of the reorganisation of the current administration? The issuing of title deeds is the responsibility of Land Affairs. “If we are judging this Department as a performance indicator but they are not responsible for land affairs, we should make findings against people on things that, by law, they have the competency to perform. This Department cannot be alone in the delivery of title deeds”, he said.
On the fragmented land tenure system, he pointed out that there is the rural system that is communal. There is the urban system, which is based on title deeds and full ownership. In between, there is rental, which some people prefer, because they do not want to carry the responsibilities of ownership. As long as there are still disparities of ownership with movable assets and immovable assets, the economic disparities will continue.
None of the presenters have discussed the project that the President has established, which was delegated to the Deputy President and was led by the late Prof Vuyo Mahlati. This happened parallel to the section 25 discourses, but it was not confined to the section 25. It was seeking to guide government’s response to the land tenure question and all related issues to land.
The underperformance that is being is very shocking. It does not make sense how anyone, for three decades, can sleep peacefully without addressing distribution of wealth, and effectively addressing the social economic deficiency that dates back to 1913, when the Land Act was introduced and disenfranchised black people from land ownership. This is more than 100 years ago; they were only able to restore the rights of black people in 1994, through giving access to land ownership.
The matter of housing is still in the hands of people and may not necessarily want to prioritise black people. People who enter into the market are very few and their influence is therefore very limited. In the value chain, black people feature in little droplets at whatever level; how are they going to turn the situation around?
He then addressed Ms Powell to say that she should address the DA government in the Western Cape on why they are prioritising rental stock over ownership, especially when it comes to black people.
Ms Powell interjected with a point order saying that Adv. Masutha is misleading the Committee, and she would provide the figures to prove this.
Adv. Masutha responded that he would welcome those figures, and he would like the AG to also address this issue. If AG, DPME and Ms Powell maintain that he is misleading the Committee, then he will concede. Black people are not making the progress that was planned or expected in the last 30 years, in terms of shift in ownership patterns. They must also take responsibility from the parliamentary level, and take an active response. He apologised for making a lot of political statements.
Mr Tseki asked the AG if they can tabulate specific findings where the Department did not perform, on the performance findings. Is it the performance in those areas? Is there an improvement on consequence management?
On the monitoring with outcomes and impact: that is the focus of the Department. There are policies and implementation programmes. What is the impact of those programmes? They have not shown how they achieve the outcome and the impact. [Speaker lost connection]
Ms Mokgotho achievement of houses achieved in the Zenzele project was reported in the annual report, but it differed from the report delivered to the AG on their achievements. Why was it different?
After the AG identified the material mistakes in the reported information of programme two, the Department only corrected some of the misstatements. Why is that so, and all misstatements not corrected? Was there anything to hide that they did not want the AG to see? The AG has raised concern both during 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years’ reports, about internal control deficiencies in the Department. How is the Department ensuring these are addressed and oversight and performance is improved? What are the reasons for the incomplete records to verify the reported achievement of 100% with regard to Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG), Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) and the Title Deeds Restoration Grants (TRG)? When is the Department going to escalate the process of building houses for the poor, who do not have the resources to build their own, and service providers build the houses in areas that are serviced not in areas with no infrastructure? Why did the Department take long to strengthen its board of council and entities, to improve its planning capabilities in the human settlement portfolio? What are the reasons for the late appointment of the service provider for the UISP evaluation study? What is the current status of the human settlement department bank? What are the reasons for the inconsistent statements for the TRU projects?
What does the AG intend on doing to ensure that the Department meets all its recommendations, which the Department is seemingly reluctant to address, because, for the past two or three years, it promised to address all the recommendations given by the AG and previous AG’s?
How does DPME collect their data, and when do they collect it? When and how do they monitor and evaluate projects? How do they intend on addressing the human settlement patterns, which remain inequitable and dysfunctional with the form and location of land developments. How do they ensure that planned evaluations do not have a negative impact and when are they going to address the underperformance of programs and some problematic systemic issues. They spoke about lack of future planning from provinces; how will they address this?
Ms C Seoposengwe (ANC) concurred with some of the points that Adv. Masutha raised, especially the point raised on the evaluation teams about title deeds. The entire Committee has been concerned about the backlog of title deeds. She agreed that there should be an integrated approach, and that the Presidency should take a lead role in this programme. In the AG’s report it says that there is an ineffective intergovernmental relation.
There are still areas that have the bucket system; this is embarrassing. She asked for clarity on whether there has been a complete eradication of the bucket system. It is worrisome that in some areas there are not internal audit committees or systems in place that can be able to mitigate issues relating to auditing and managing the Department internally. Due to the lack of those systems when the AG comes in to conduct their audit, it is chaotic.
The chaos that ensued with the HDA using shortcuts to advertise tenders, which then backfired, was embarrassing and it effects government and Parliament. HDA thus needs to revamp.
Mr Tseki was given opportunity to finish off his statements. The report said that monitoring and evaluation tests are very fundamental. What do the terms ‘maintain’ and ‘evaluation’ mean? He asked the Department to make a statement with regards to that.
Ms N Sihlwayi (ANC) said the Committee needs to clarify what is expected from the Department in a democratic state, because the entire report does not assist them or the people of the country. There is a decline in the service delivery for the people and really the state in which the Department is in is very disastrous. The AG says that their role is to strengthen the democracy on the basis of accountability to assist Parliament in their oversight roles. It is baffling because the AG’s interventions only comes when things have already been damaged; they raise issues that were not implemented even in the previous year but are still in the action plan. What is their role during the financial year before the report? The auditing is made as much as there is a separation in terms of the roles or duties, but when there are challenges it overlooks whether there is progress. Following legislative procedures is not imperative when trying to assist the country. There is a very clear inefficiency in management to solve problems. Some are not even submitting reports, and there have been no clean audits from NHBR since they have been reprimanded; an action plan was expected from them. Once, a government entity does not have clear systems that speak a lot about their professionalism and lack of skills. Is this SISO biting more than she can chew? “What we are not getting from HDA is a clear programme. The Department should give clear cause as to why they cannot intervene with HDA
In Limpopo; there is an issue with TRU. It is very clear that there is corruption or shady dealings that are happening, but the Department is not taking the bull by its horns so that consequence management can kick in, based on the report from SIU. This report talks a lot about the ethical consideration, which is not there, that the Department needs to consider.
Ms Sihlwayi then had connectivity problems.
An official from the Department said that there is lack of control or poor performance with regards to the Department of Human Settlements, and how it responds to that. A key issue in the Department is how it crafts its key performance indicators. The Department has really struggled to crack them in a manner in which they can be easily attainable. The indicators are unmeasurable and this affects how they report. It is thus hard to even look at the performance of the Department, and the Department will then struggle to back that up with appropriate and sufficient audit evidence. They have to ensure validity and completeness of whatever they find. Last year, the Department had 14 of these indicators, and the AGSA concluded in a report that they are not measurable. So, in response to that, they held a number of workshops with the Department prior to it completing its APPs. This would then ensure that the reports that there is a proper hand-in in future – timeous submission and completion. Most of their recommendations were applied. Thus, in the current financial year, most of those indicators were not in this report. The number was reduced from 14 to four indicators is so there is progress. There is a deliberate intent to ensure that the indicators in all their programmes are properly done.
With the Zenzile Project Management, the Department said it cannot provide supporting evidence of their achievements. They would implement the programme in all nine provinces and then, from there, indicate initiatives that they tried to implement, so that they can demonstrate they tried to implement the programme throughout the nine provinces. The supporting evidence that they were given was not sufficient to show that this programme was implemented across the nine provinces. It was not even possible to adjust in a way that management could see where the project was implemented; that is how severe the lack of information is, with regards to the Zenzile Project.
Consequence management should be implemented swiftly, bravely and consistently. There should not be delays in the disciplinary processes. They do report to Parliament on their findings about the Department whenever they find that consequence management is not implemented. The entities must address the delays in the disciplinary process.
On tenders not being advertised in the tender portal: they do not raise a finding on all the entities around the tender portal.
On the Department of Rural Development’s involvements with title deeds: the Department should respond to that on their collaboration, if there is any. There, work is purely on the work the Department has included in their planning documents, and they report on what they see in the reports. They come in with the process to monitor whether the Department is following the proper process or is falling short.
They were looking at the MTSF targets. There are other indicators that the Department may have but they look at specific indicators to finalise their report and the outcomes would relate to the specific indicators. There are indicators where they have performed well and some not. This is at a sector level. Looking at the province, departments have to ensue MTSF targets are met. They identified these as key three indicators relating to the mandate of the sector. The improvement on consequence management has come through in the AG report a lot. If there was regression in the past they would have flagged it as a risk. In three out of five cases, consequence management was not conducted by Treasury regulations.
As part of the process, other than the PAA implementation, they engage the auditee outside of the audit process. If they have an opportunity to review their action plans, there should be a rigorous review of the action plans, if they are available. They have dialogues and workshops with management and the Department, on how their indicators have been crafted. As they intensify their engagement there will improvement with implementation of recommendations.
They do not perform any work around the bucket system, and there are no indicators for it; it is a matter in the purview of the Department of Water and Sanitation. There are issues with internal auditing with EAAB. The internal audit was not appointed for two year;, it will impact internal assessment controls. However, with those established they need to be thorough when looking into the documents or reports. There is no adequate review of these as well as action plans.
Lack of coordination is a recurring theme; they have tried to insure that there are customised indicators where all sphere of government will work towards a specific targets and indicators. It becomes easier to collate information across government and provinces. It is also aligned with what the Department wants to achieve over a five-year period.
Management should be able to respond and find adequate action plans and address root causes, where the findings have been identified.
A DPME official responded that the AGs office does a lot of coordination and collaboration with other departments that do investigations. They do refer material irregularities to public bodies such the SIU, PP, NPA, etc. they have signed a MoU, and there are regular engagements. They refer matters where they think they are better equipped. They share information with the fusion centre; in the centre there are the SIU, SAPS and NPA, for them to assess the information and further investigate if necessary. There are limited resources, and it is best to work together than duplicate the same work.
On the role of the PFMA and the role of an auditing officer: where they must ensure regular controls and identify irregular expenditure. There must be an investigation and consequence management. They must set the tone within that department, for a culture of accountability. The Minister’s oversight role is important. The support of the PC is also appreciated in terms of its oversight role and mandate. Members can assist in ensuring that there is a holistic follow-up process, and assist to assess how these targets of these departments add up; oversight meetings to keep track and ensure that houses are delivered.
Mr Robert Nkuna, Director-General, DPME, explained that they want to move to a point where they focus on impact, and that entails engaging with beneficiaries of their programmes. They need to be satisfied that implementation is happening and it is quality. They cannot assess impact without implementation. They will be releasing a mid-term review or report of the current administration next year. They are preoccupied with delivery. They are making plans for the next financial year, and they are paying attention to departments not bringing in new targets, ensuring that there are no new targets that are introduced.
Strengthening the performance management system: starting with Ministers and HODs, a lot of work is done by DPSA to ensure that we can only talk about consequences when there is robust management and they can share their own impression”, he said. They have given the information to the President so that he can have a sense of the state of performance of Ministers. They are also ensuring all outstanding issues are resolved so that they can cover and talk about the key instruments. These reports are also shared with Ministers and MECs to raise their issues, and that will be escalated by the office of the Minister.
Two days ago, they met with all the DGs of the departments to discuss the state of performance of the whole of government, as part of the process to go to Parliament to present on the performance of departments and consequence management if there is no delivery. Higher structures must also implement consequence management. DPME, just like the AG, does not have legal instruments that they can impose; they are merely facilitating. Perhaps DPME needs some legal teeth. Otherwise, they do not have any legal recourse. There are still pre-1994 title deeds where some of the beneficiaries have passed on. The issues raised here to give a sense of what must be prioritised. If there is a department with six DDGs, they want to accommodate them when they are planning, with those limited resources.
The structure of government must not affect how they approach planning; they are guided by the object of change, which will empower the citizens. Before APPs were submitted in Parliament this year; they will be submitted to DPME for analysis and taken to the President, so he can have a sense of what the departments are planning to do. They also do case studies.
They are going to report to Cabinet on the bucket systems, and they can share that report to the Committee. They have picked up from that report that bucket systems are on the rise with the increase of informal settlements.
He responded that they do intervene with departments – they do ask them to come forward when they have challenges, and they advise them. They do not want to make it easy, particularly where Ministers change – some come in and want to change plans that are already in place.
Next year they will come to address very specific issues.
Ms Powell asked for clarity on the presentation that the Members were sent. On page five of the BRRR report, there is a footnote that says section 4.3 entities are not included in the audit outcomes, but on page eight there is a housing development tag. Last year, the report for HDA was done by private auditors and a special request was made for them to audit the HDA.
She asked Adv. Masutha for his remarks on the work that was already done that was triggered by section 25 of the Constitution.
Why does the Department believe that there is a finding against on the issue of tender portal but the AG had no finding against them? The amended PAA and coordinated response is generalised. They do not speak of those outcomes of those discussions. His example of SASSA (South African Social Security Agency) was to show that it is possible to come up with a dispensation into chapter of the Constitution – a dispensation that ensures that there is universal standard setting through a single policy and legal framework; that ensures equitable delivery of housing across provinces. It seems the effort is far from being initiated, which explains why in certain provinces money is not spent and is taken back to Treasury. This then explains the lack of coordination between provinces and municipalities. When they evaluate compliance, do they also take account of the Constitutional Court judgements that have set out clear obligations around implementation of socio-economic rights and other rights? Is the Act interpreted as is, without reference? The setting of targets should not be up to the discretion of any department; they should craft their performance target against the NDP (national development plan), which is the overarching national policy framework, the Constitution and other applicable legal and policy instruments that are in place. Whether those targets meet those standards or not should be a factor in determining the adequacy of those targets.
Ms Mokgotho wanted answers on how they intend on addressing the human settlement patterns that remain inequitable and dysfunctional with land development. How are they going to ensure that planned evaluations do not have a negative impact, and when are they going to address underperformance of programmes and pragmatic, systemic issues?
Lastly, the lack of forward planning by provinces: how is DPME going to address the problem?
Ms Sihlwayi asked that the AG and DPME go back to the action plans that are put in place to assist. That should be strengthened within the Department, to call on them when they are preparing their reports.
HDA is still audited by a private firm; they included the page eight because, last year, there was a special report and request that the audit for HDA be presented to the Committee. Subsequent to that, there was a request by SCOPA to present the issues at HDA that meeting was postponed; they thought to include it despite it not being audited by them.
They will be part of the meeting to see which entity includes the non-advertising of tender in their report, because they still do not have it. If they did, they would have limited it to the management report. With regards to indicators, they do look at the applicable legislation and Constitution, and they also look at the mandate and focus on particular programmes, as indicated.
On the PAA, a DPME official said that they are currently busy with their general report and will table it on the 08 December. Included in the report will be details on the progress that has been made. In terms of the audit report, they are limited to report on the financial statements and performance information. If they identify findings they would have identified root causes and confirmed with the department. The unavailability of land was not necessarily a cause that has been identified, so they would not have had scope to bring it into their presentation.
In approving the PAA, the intention was never to take away any of the powers that sit with an accounting officer. It is a tool within government and within their mandate, but it cannot be seen as only reason to hold accountability in government.
The DPME responded on the human settlement patterns and projects. She said that the priority development areas in the MTSF were introduced to address specifically these patterns. They are situated in well-located areas in the cities, and no other development will be approved outside the priority development areas. The conduct evaluations and reviews are where they work together with the department after they have identified the problematic areas.
DPME has just introduced National Annual Strategic Plan, where they are bridging between the APP and MTSF targets, but with special focus on fiscal development programmes. Lastly, when they do the evaluation they get to the depth of problem in conjunction with the data they have received.
The Chairperson said that they adopted the report on planning and monitoring.
She answered the question Ms Powell had asked about the reports. She said that the report was presented to them on the finding of the NHBRC and the project for Limpopo. Other committees have had meetings in terms of their own programmes since the President separated Water and Sanitation and Human Settlement. The Rules Committee, which guides the functioning of Parliament through the Speaker, in terms of the establishment of committees, took a decision that the committees will be divided and elect a new chairperson for the established committee.
She also advised that it was Ms Powell who rejected a proposal to meet outside of the regular schedule, during the sitting of Parliament.
Ms Powell asked to respond.
The Chairperson did not allow for that response.
There was a back and forth between the two, where Ms Powell said that the Chairperson is already on a thin rope. She has received numerous warning from seniors around her conduct on chairing this Committee.
The meeting was adjourned to continue in the afternoon.
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