Department of Human Settlements 2022/23 Annual Performance Plan; with Minister

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Meeting Summary

Human Settlements

The Select Committee convened virtually to be briefed on the Department of Human Settlements 2022/23 Annual Performance Plan. DHS spoke to revised MTSF Five Year Targets; 2022/23 MinMEC priorities; activities and targets of its five programmes; matters for attention and its budget for the next three years.

Committee members challenged DHS on its plans to unblock blocked settlements, digitisation of housing waiting lists, eradication of mud-houses, and its progress in relocating displaced people affected by the recent surge of natural disasters in KZN, North West and Eastern Cape.

Members questioned the DHS performance for 2021/22 and the practical implementation of its plans. It pressed it about the recurring yearly title deeds backlog and the misappropriation of funds in various provinces for disaster relief. They asked about its part in Inter-Governmental Relations (IGR) and implementing bulk infrastructure for its housing projects.

Meeting report

The Chairperson recognised the presence of the Minister and Director-General.

Department of Human Settlements (DHS) 2022/23 Annual Performance Plan
Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi opened the session by summarising the outline of the presentation.

Director-General MbuleloTshangane delegated the Communication Services Chief Director to present the APP strategies and priorities and the acting Chief Financial Officer to present the financial details of the APP.

Mr Xolani Xundu, DHS Communication Services Chief Director outlined revised MTSF targets:
• Spatial transformation through multi programme integration in priority development areas (PDAs) from which 94 areas invested, and integrated programmes have been completed and 100% land acquired during 2014-2019 falling within the PDAs have been rezoned in the past five years.
• Adequate housing and improved quality living environments as 300 000 Breaking New Ground (BNG) houses have been delivered and 20 000 households have received financial assistance and purchased units through FLISP in the past five years.
• Adequate housing targets: 300 000 serviced sites; 18 000 rental housing units; 5 000 Community Residential Units (CRU); and 1 500 informal settlements upgraded to Phase 3.
• Security of tenure: 1 193 222 title deeds registered.

2022/2023 MinMEC Priorities:
• Increasing pace of providing title deeds to rightful property owners, prioritising pre-1994 stock.
• Unblocking blocked projects.
• Eliminating asbestos roofs across provinces.
• Eliminating deteriorating rural mud houses, with special priority for the elderly and child-headed households.
• Digitalising the beneficiary list for RDP homes to improve reliability, transparency and avoid fraud and corruption.
• Increased responses to emergency housing due to recent natural disasters in KZN, North-West and the Eastern Cape.
• Delivery of Community Residential Units (CRUs).
• 40% of the budget has been set aside for designated groups with quarterly monitoring reports
• DHS will produce quarterly reports on job creation
• Military Veterans covered under quarterly reports on the performance of entities.

The targets for each of these five programmes were provided:
• Programme 1: Administration
• Programme 2: Integrated HS Planning and Development Programme
• Programme 3: Informal Settlements and Emergency Housing
• Programme 4: Rental and Social Housing
• Programme 5: Affordable Housing Programme: Transversal Programmes and Projects

Matters for Attention as per Planning Framework:
• Infrastructure Projects and the District Development Model (DDM)
• Consolidated Indicators

Ms Lucy Bele, DHS Acting CFO, detailed the DHS 2022 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) budget specifying the allocation to the five programmes and the transfer of funds to the nine provinces as well as showing spending according to economic classification for the next three years. The various grants to provinces included the Human Settlements Development Grant and the Informal Settlements Upgrading Grant. Metros will receive the Urban Settlement Development Grant and the Informal Settlements Upgrading Grant.

See document for details

Mr I Sileku (DA, Western Cape) inquired about the criteria used by DHS to allocate grants to the different provinces.

DHS has undertaken new targets in some of its programmes, such as Inter-Governmental Relations. Can DHS explain some of these new targets for this financial year?

Mr Sileku was sceptical about the DHS agenda to unblock blocked housing projects due to cases of illegal invasion in these settlements. What is the practical agenda to unblock these?

He wanted DHS to explain why the use of consultants increases annually. He wondered if there was a plan by DHS to decrease the number of consultants used and consequently the costs incurred.

How does DHS plan to collaborate with provinces and municipalities to eradicate the illegal occupation of BNG housing in multiple municipalities around the country?

He lamented that the backlog in the release of title deeds continues every year. There was a target set for all unreleased title deeds since 1994 to be released by 2021. Has there been any progress with this plan because people’s right to tenure has been violated due to this historical backlog?

Mr Sileku said Social Housing programmes are not instituted in rural municipalities which inhibits business from investing and creating jobs in rural municipalities. Are there plans to extend these programmes to rural municipalities?

How many mud houses in each province are they planning to demolish and replace? Which provinces are being prioritised?

How do they plan to address houses with outside toilets?

Can they provide a timeframe for the digitalisation of housing waiting lists? What is the role of the nine provinces to achieve the digitalisation plan?

The Chairperson asked if DHS had taken stock of what happened in the last financial year? Have they noted the efficacies, improvements, and the concerns about last year’s performance? For example, last year the Department aimed to implement its internal audit plan, anti-fraud and corruption plan and strengthen its risk management plan. How far along is DHS with these?

DHS intended to oversee the Integrated Residential Programme and the Coordination of Inter-governmental partnership with other stakeholders. Is this working? We should focus more on building communal settlements with complete infrastructure rather than individual houses to amplify and strengthen communal will.

The Committee had raised informal settlements last year and he wondered if DHS would fulfill its plan to upgrade 300 informal settlements each year for the next three years.

He noted that many of the boards of the DHS entities were stalling to appoint permanent executives. This is a leadership problem and is an indicator for non-compliance and possible instability.

The Chairperson asked if the problem of the unreleased title deeds in Buffalo City, Mpumalanga, had been resolved.

What are the DHS plans to support communities that suffered from natural disasters? Resources have been exploited by corrupt officials for the Covid-19 pandemic. Has DHS implemented preventive measures to protect and correctly utilise funds for natural disaster support in KZN, North West and the Eastern Cape?

DHS responses
Ms Sindisiwe Ngxongo, DHS Chief Operational Officer, replied that DHS is looking to fill management and executive vacancies for a complete government. They have sent reminder letters to board members to carry out their mandate.

She addresses the matter of inter-governmental relations (IGR) noting that the work of Human Settlements cannot be the sole responsibility of the national department, it requires all spheres of government to cooperate and work together. The Minister has travelled the nation to campaign on collaborative governance. DHS is still in the early stage of the IGR campaign, but its effects are beginning to permeate.

Ms Bele, Acting CFO, replied about the criteria DHS uses for grant allocation to provinces. The formula was adopted in 2013 based on the 2011 census data. As soon as the data from the 2022 census is accessible, they will reconfigure the formula with the new census data. The allocation formula focuses on three factors: 1. Inadequate housing (70% priority) 2. Population size (10% priority) and 3. Poverty (20% priority).

The bulk of the concern is inadequate housing, which encompasses traditional dwellings, shacks, and backyard shacks. Since Gauteng has the highest cases of inadequate housing and is the most popular migrant province, it is allocated the greatest bulk of the housing grants.

Ms Bele replied that they have yet to close the book on the 2021/22 finances, but they are certain that the DHS expenditure fulfillment rate for provincial and municipal transfers rests at 98%. National government expenditure was 74%.

The operational budget sits at 70% because Treasury expects the National Departments to show how they have saved and cut down on their expenditure due to the Covid-19 pandemic. DHS has saved by cutting down on outsourcing consultants and travel costs.

The APP and the Quarter 4 report for 2021/22 demonstrate that they have drastically decreased their use of consultants.

Transfers are sitting at 98% not 100% due to a drop caused by the Provincial and Municipal Emergency Grants which are yet to be allocated. The 2% was unused in 2021/22 as the country was not affected by natural disasters that have since plagued South Africa this year.

Mr Neville Chainee, DHS DDG: Research, Policy, Strategy and Planning, addressed title deeds, IRDP and building amenities such as schools and clinics.

DHS frontlines its policy on the Integrated Residential Development Programme (IRDP) which includes all aspects of human settlements and the residential service delivery chain. Their current framework provides paid households with to access funding for internal services such as water, sanitation, and title deeds for houses.

One of the weaknesses identified is that the alignment of grants at municipal and provincial level for integrated housing and human settlements is not well implemented. DHS has pioneered efforts towards building bulk infrastructure to mitigate the broader challenges of integrated settlements service delivery.

DHS has enforced the mandate that an official house key should accompany a title deed so that the rightful owners can have access to their houses.

He noted the delay of township establishments and deceased estates.

Mr Chainee promised to come back to the Committee to address the final resolution of the national title deed problem.

As Ms Nonhlanhla Buthelezi, DDG: Human Settlement Delivery Frameworks, was having network difficulties, Mr Chainee replied for her and said that the blocked projects have been identified as a ministerial/political priority. DHS has undertaken to resolve all the identified blocked projects in the next five years. The business plan for 2022/23 Human Development and Settlement Grant is to unblock approximately 326 blocked housing projects throughout the nine provinces.

Provinces have undertaken assessments for eradicating mud houses.

Director-General Tshangane noted that the plan to totally eradicate mud houses has been stalled by the stagnant provincial assessment groups in some provinces. For example, KZN has been steadfast in providing detailed and comprehensive assessments on their plan to eradicate mud houses by district while other provinces are still at the assessment stage.

He assured the Committee that the vacant managerial and executive posts in the DHS entities will be filled within the next two weeks.

DHS is awaiting the fourth quarter results which will be released this week to be able to track the progress on Informal Settlement Upgrading.

The provinces have been assigned to do necessary assessments of blocked settlement projects and asbestos roof houses.

The waiting list digitisation programme is to ensure that people do not need to wait for the construction of their houses to be completed to access their houses. This alleviates the problem of stolen, hijacked and unclaimed houses.

Minister Kubayi noted the concerns about the DHS slow pace to relocate people who have been affected by the natural disasters to temporary settlements.

The Minister replied that the process to allocate funds for temporary relocations has been transparent and DHS has been accountable. She noted the problem of land as certain portions of land affected by the floods are unsuitable for human settlements. The intention is to relocate people affected by the floods in KZN by the end of May.

They have received a procurement plan by the Eastern Cape to quicken the province’s pace in relocating displaced people.

In North West, DHS and the National Monitoring team have given the province the go-ahead to proceed with its plans to relocate 200 displaced households.

She explained the function of the National Monitoring team, which holds government departments accountable; is to oversee, evaluate, and audit the procurement of their plans.

She explained that the vouchers supplied by DHS are non-refundable.

On the old-stock houses with outside toilets, DHS is assessing these households and it is mostly concerned with the most vulnerable groups such as senior citizens and child-headed households. They are committed to providing building materials for people who still dwell in old-stock houses so that they may rebuild new houses for themselves.

The Chairperson's final remarks spoke about the general difficulties of presenting budgets and the practical implications of the linked annual performance plans.

He adjourned the meeting.


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