Strategy to transform apartheid urban spatial design; Strategy for the issuance of Title Deeds; with Deputy Minister

Human Settlements

08 February 2023
Chairperson: Ms R Semenya
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Meeting Summary


The Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements held a virtual meeting to hear from the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) about its strategic plans for spatial transformation and the status of title deed issuance.

The Department presented that the factors that contributed to slow spatial transformation included slow transformation of the land use management system; powerfully entrenched spatial interests (e.g., represented through resistance to densification and new development by the middle class or urban edge type commercial and office development by large developers); inadequate use of new or existing fiscal and other instruments to incentivise or regulate spatial behaviours. The main activities of the Department to address that included: maintaining momentum with sector engagements to achieve coordination and the alignment of progressive public sector investments in PDAs – in line with the District Development Model; the coordination of the development of infrastructure and ensuring the sequencing of budgets and the implementation plans with other sectors the departments and other stakeholders and implementing a multi-sector response on public–private partnerships to improve social, economic integration.

The Department presented that there were financial implications that had led to the slow pace in addressing the backlogs on issuing title deeds. The Department required R1.1 billion to resolve the backlogs. A consultation process had been established with the Minister of Finance to work around the allocation of funds needed to address the backlog. The Department had proposed to key stakeholders to assemble a team that would assist with the fastening of the backlog. The work of the Department of Human Settlements required integration of stakeholders both in the public and private sectors to function at its full potential. The main reason for Operation Vulindlela was to assist with the Inter-Governmental Relations (IGR) processes.

The Committee asked if the Department had considered collaborating with the private sector to facilitate more job creation so that the suburbs do not become poverty suburbs where everyone had a house but could afford to live in it. Did the Department have a plan for social integration that did not involve only one race moving to former White areas? Were there plans to relocate other races into former Black areas as a means of social integration? What was the reason(s) for the Department not utilising the funds to implement PHSHDAs when a budget was allocated? Many poor people in North West (and across the country) did not have houses. Why were the funds not utilised when our country had a huge backlog?

While some of the Committee’s questions were answered, the Department assured the Committee that it would send a more detailed written response within seven working days.

Meeting report

The Chairperson mentioned that some areas were experiencing loadshedding and that some Members were struggling to connect. She asked for the affected Members to be given time to connect so there would be enough Members to form the quorum.

Dr N Khumalo (DA) & Ms N Sihlwayi (ANC) joined the meeting, forming enough quorum for the meeting to start.

The Chairperson stated that a lot of work had to be done by the Committee. She asked the Secretary to present the agenda.

Members were requested to observe a moment of silence.

The Chairperson announced a special welcome to the Deputy Minister of Human Settlements and her team.


The Minister of Human Settlements relayed her apologies.

Dr Khumalo  wrote on the Zoom chat that she would leave the meeting at 10am.

Committee Matters
The Chairperson asked the Committee Secretary if she had communicated via email with all Members about the decision made in the previous meeting. The Committee had decided to mark all the Members who did not report prior to the meeting, as absent. This included Members who sent messages during the meeting.

The Secretary said that she had not sent that communication yet.

The Chairperson asked the Committee Secretary to send out the communication to all the Members, informing them of the changes. The change(s) were that a Member of the Committee had to send an email before the meeting (a day before) to avoid being marked absent.

Dr Khumalo raised her hand to mention that, unfortunately, she would be departing early at 10am due to unforeseen circumstances. She apologised and indicated that she did not know that earlier and would have communicated prior to the meeting had she known.

Mr C Malematja (ANC) moved for the adoption of the agenda.

Ms Pam Tshwete, Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, greeted the Committee. She asked for the presentation on digitisation of beneficiary list to be postponed. Not much had been done since the Committee requested the report in December. That meant that the meeting had two items to be presented by the Department of Human Settlements.

The Chairperson acknowledged the request.

Ms N Sihlwayi (ANC) moved for the adoption of the agenda with its amendments.

Ms Tshwete indicated that she had serious network challenges. She mentioned that the same issue occurred even in her office. She asked to be allowed to give the Director-General the opportunity to present should the network challenges persist.

She introduced her delegates and continued to say that the aim of the meeting was for the Department of Human Settlements to present the strategies to transform the Apartheid urban spatial design and report on the issuance of title deeds. She thanked the Chairperson for inviting the Department. In the last quarter of 2022, there were plans to workshop the Members of the Committee on issuing title deeds – however, the workshop was postponed. Therefore, both presentations were new to the Committee. The presentations also served as updates on previous reports. The resolution of the reported matters lay on several external stakeholders whose processes and actions had impacted the progress especially on turnaround times.

That had negatively affected the desired outputs which most people in South Africa were custodian of. The apartheid spatial design transformation required national, provincial, and local governance interventions. The District Development Model (DDM) assisted the Department of Human Settlements in ensuring that those spheres of government worked together. The DDM also provided further skills which assisted the intersectoral, integrated spatial planning across the country. The presentations would show the inter-ministerial nature of Committees. There was a Committee of Land, and it was chaired by Deputy President David Mabuza. That Committee, which was also chaired by the Department of Public Works, looked at the available land to be used by the Human Settlements. The identified land got invaded as soon as the land had been disclosed. That affected the delivery of services in terms of building houses. That was one of the challenges the Department of Human Settlements faced. She mentioned that the Department resorted to litigation to deal with the invaders.

The significant population growth in some of the priority development areas was something that the Department of Human Settlements planned to deal with. The Department wanted to bring stability to provinces to smoothen the process of building houses. Some monies were given to the municipality; if there was no stability within the municipality, the people would not get their services.

Deputy Minister concluded by saying that there had been a rise of people who were anti-transformational. That emanated from high to middle-income groups. Those groups opposed the building of low-income houses in certain areas. The matter of building low-income houses had been discussed in the Committee. The Department of Human Settlements was struggling to solve that. The presentations would show that there was progress in terms of the work done. The Department was also dealing with the effects of climate change in some of the provinces including KwaZulu-Natal.

The Deputy Minister handed over to Sindisiwe Ngxongo, Acting Director-General, DHS.

Ms Ngxongo introduced the delegates from the Department who were going to present in the meeting.

Strategy to Transform the Apartheid Spatial Design

The presentation was delivered by Ms Rashnee Atkinson, Acting DDG: Research, Policy, Strategy and Planning, DHS. She said the purpose of the presentation was to apprise the Portfolio Committee of the Strategy to transform the Apartheid Urban Spatial Design aimed at Spatial Transformation and Consolidation through Priority Human Settlements and Housing Development Areas.


South Africa’s challenging land and settlement patterns resulted from legacies of colonial domination & the apartheid system. Numerous legislations including the: 1913 Natives Land Act, 1927 Black Administration Act, 1950 Group Areas Act etc. were, entrenched dispossessions of land to African, Coloured and Indian communities. That resulted in massive, forced removals and land dispossessions leading to:

  • Unequal distribution of wealth coupled with class division.
  • Inequalities in spatial patterns
  • Poor planning
  • Slow provision of infrastructure and services
  • Poor land information systems
  • Slow and cumbersome land transaction procedures
  • Insecure tenure
  • Under-regulation of private land development
  • Difficulties in the availability of well-located land

The Department of Human Settlement found solutions to some problems through intergovernmental forums with the provinces, municipalities and other role players to deal with those challenges. The engagements had been ongoing.

There was urban sprawl. A major cause of sprawl could be the failure to properly internalise the costs of infrastructure, specifically the costs of bulk infrastructure. The intentional and unintentional impacts of government policies on spatial development had to be given careful consideration.

Despite the massive increase in housing delivery, state investments were still uncoordinated and housing delivery was relegated to the periphery of towns and cities.

Problem Statement and Strategic Intent

Problem Statement:

  • Human settlement patterns remain inequitable and dysfunctional with the form and location of land developments.
  • Human settlement projects and informal settlement upgrades rarely responding directly to the Government’s intent of spatial integration and spatial justice.
  • Providing shelter and security, tenure insecurity and poor response in addressing asset poverty persists.
  • Disasters and effects of climate change

Strategic Intent

  • National Development Plan (NDP) 2030 clearly expressed the need to redress and ‘address the challenge of apartheid geography.
  • Ensure spatial integration through the accelerated provision of well-located housing and land to poor South Africans.
  • Human settlements would address poverty, create employment, improve socioeconomic conditions and create a sustainable future.
  • An increasing housing demand, household size reduced and accelerated, leading to a proliferation of informal settlements.
  • South Africa was urbanising rapidly with 63% of South Africans already living in urban areas, which would rise to 71% by 2030.

MTSF 2019-2024 had overarching goals:

  • To improve integrated settlement development and link job opportunities and housing opportunities to support spatial transformation.
  • Spatial transformation through multi-programme integration in Priority Development Areas (PDAs) and ensure priority investment opportunities through an area-based approach.
  • Improved living conditions and environment through provision of adequate housing
  • Provision of security of tenure - the eradication of title deeds backlogs.

Spatial Transformation and Consolidation Strategy

  • To address the problem of building settlements in peripheries and away from amenities, the Department, in collaboration with the provinces and municipalities, developed a spatial transformation strategy, in line with the proposals made in the National Development Plan (2012).
  • Human Settlements Framework for Spatial Transformation and Consolidation aimed to:
    • Create opportunities for liveable, inclusive, resilient towns and cities through integrated settlement development.
    • Reverse the unjust and dysfunctional spatial legacy of apartheid.
    • Improve participation of the disadvantaged in the residential property market; and
    • Increase the asset creation potential of the state’s investments in human settlements.
  • Aligned to the principles of the NDP, NSDF and to the objectives of the IUDF and SPLUMA which included:
    • Spatial justice: reversing segregated development and creation of poverty pockets in the peripheral areas, to integrate previously excluded groups, resuscitate declining areas.
    • Spatial Efficiency: consolidating spaces and promoting densification, efficient commuting patterns. 
    • Access to Connectivity, Economic and Social Infrastructure: Intended to ensure the attainment of basic services, job opportunities, transport networks, education, recreation, health and welfare etc. to facilitate and catalyse increased investment and productivity.
    • Access to Adequate Accommodation: Emphasis was on the provision of affordable and fiscally sustainable shelter in areas of high needs; and
    • Provision of Quality Housing Options: Ensure that different housing typologies are delivered to attract different market segments at appropriate quality and innovation.
    • Human Settlements was a concurrent function, therefore, planning for human settlements development involved multiple stakeholders.

PHSHDAs - Instrument towards Spatial Transformation

The PHSHDAs were intended to realise opportunities within specific areas for development of mixed-use, high-density and multiple typology housing and human settlements.

  • There was a lot of resistance towards that. The high and middle-income groups often opposed those developments of low-income housing. There had to be an intervention from government and the communities to ensure that the former white areas were of mixed-use.
  • Those priority areas required specific programmatic interventions, interventions with transformation objectives and which allocations were progressively prioritised through the existing grants:
    • Forward-looking land assembly and township establishment
    • Upgrading of Informal Settlements
    • Declared Social (Rental) Housing Restructuring Zones
    • Opportunities for Greenfield Development (new places)
    • Distressed/ dilapidated/ degenerating communities/ precincts.
  • The commitment to invest in the declared PHSHDA’s by all stakeholders, would result in well planned, budgeted settlements with the required infrastructure, social services such as schools, health care facilities and social amenities.

Ms Atkinson moved to show the progress made through various graphs. (See attached).


  1. Factors contributing to slow spatial transformation: Slow transformation of the land use management system; powerfully entrenched spatial interests (e.g., represented through resistance to densification and new development by the middle class or urban edge type commercial and office development by large developers); inadequate use of new or existing fiscal and other instruments to incentivise or regulate spatial behaviours.
  2. Main Activities:
    • Maintain momentum with sector engagements to achieve coordination and alignment of progressive public sector investments in PDAs – in line with the District Development Model
    • Coordinated the development of infrastructure and ensuring sequencing of budgets and implementation plans with other sector departments and other stakeholders.
    • Implementing a multi-sector response on public–private partnerships to improve social, and economic integration.
  3. Key Priorities:
    • Explicit attention must be given to infrastructure within PDAs.
    • Innovative local responses to the promulgation and implementation of the SPLUMA + Accelerating measures on the approvals Development Planning applications
    • Structured and systematic implementation agreements, and monitoring & reporting system.
    • Complete township establishment processes before undertaking housing development.
    • Align land acquisition to priority development areas.
    • Undertake land zoning/rezoning processes as prescribed in SPLUMA and municipal schemes.
    • Use of Government Land and Buildings in Urban and Rural areas as a Catalyst for Integration for Spatial Transformation and Spatial Justice by allocating Government Land / Buildings


Ms Atkinson asked the Committee to take note of the Strategy to transform the Apartheid Urban Spatial Design aimed at Spatial Transformation and Consolidation through PHSHDAs. She further mentioned that the presentation was an overview of the PHSHDAs and welcomed the opportunity to be allowed to show a more detailed presentation on the PHSHDAs.

The Chairperson asked the Members to note all their questions and allow the second presentation to occur before asking them.

Ms Ngxongo presented the second presentation on the issuing of title deeds.

Strategy on Issuance of Title Deeds

The purpose of the presentation was to apprise the Portfolio Committee of the Strategy for the Issuance of Title Deeds.


  • By July 2014, the Minister of Human Settlements raised the issue of title deeds as a national priority and charged the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) with the responsibility of framing a strategy.
  • The Title Restoration Project was established, based on the initial title deed backlog of 818 371, which scope and nature could not be confirmed. To date, 39% of the original pre (45 992) and post 1994 (280,322) had been cleared.
  • Without making the key policy and implementation changes on the Human Settlement Development Grant – side of the Human Settlements Programme, insofar as it applied to new projects (1 April 2014 to date), the backlog recurred – 252 928 post 2014 and new.
  • The current 2020-2025 Medium Term Strategic Framework pegged the backlog on title deeds at 1 193 222.

Interventions to Date

1. Policy Interventions:

  • Revision of the Housing Code 2009
  • Updating of the 1997 Housing Process Guide in 2017
  • A Strategy for the Transfer of Properties (2016
  • Guidelines for Dispute Resolution
  • Ministerial Directives in 2017 to tighten certain policy and project management processes.

2. Administrative Interventions

  • Ring-fencing funding for title restoration since 2016/17 in the Human Settlement Development Grant 
  • The TRP Dashboard was introduced in 2016, enabling the electronic submissions for documents to register title deeds.
  • The Title Restoration Grant was introduced as separate grants in 2018/19 - 2020 to eliminate the pre and post-1994 title deed backlog. Accompanying the Grant Framework was a Compliance and Reporting Framework, which purpose was to
  • operationalise compliance to the Conditions of the TRG

Ms Ngxongo did not go through the institutional arrangements and the nature of the backlogs. (See attached to learn more about this).

Township Establishment affected by lack of Bulk

Ms Ngxongo said there were financial implications that had led to the slow pace in addressing the backlogs. The Department required R1.1 billion to resolve the backlogs. A consultation process had been established with the Minister of Finance to work around the allocation of funds needed to address the backlog.

Capacity for Implementation

The Department had proposed to key stakeholders to assemble a team that would assist with the fastening of the backlog.

  • National Project Office: Chief Town & Regional Planner
  • Eastern Cape: Assistant Director
  • Free State: Director and Deputy Director supported by external service provider.
  • Gauteng: Chief Directorate supported by external service providers.
  • Kwa Zulu Natal: Directorate
  • Limpopo: Directorate
  • Mpumalanga: Deputy Director & Planner
  • Northern Cape: None
  • North West: Deputy Director, Assistant Director, supported by Programme Delivery Facilitator
  • Western Cape: Chief Directorate – tranches money to municipalities for implementation, supported by Housing Development Agency.

MTSF Targets & Delivery

Ms Ngxongo stated that the slide showed the 2020-2025 financial year. She said the slide showed that the Department was not doing well regarding the outputs since pre-94. There had not been much progress in terms of achieving its targets.

2022/23 Planned Title Deed Output

(See attached)

Sector-wide Risks

The graph shows risks and mitigation measures and there are as follows:

Growing recurring backlog

  • Implementing the MinMec Resolutions on Titling during the business planning process.

Refinancing of old projects

  • Considering costs cutting measures in respect of conveyancing contracts against the appointment of legal professionals in provinces.

Declining financial priority

  • Determining minimum annual targets per province per output

Reduced institutional capabilities on the project.

  • Prescribing capacity requirements at provincial level

Fiscal constraints at policy level

  • Resolution through grants revision process

Recommendations for intergovernmental working arrangements – Operation Vulindlela

The work of the Department of Human Settlements required integration of stakeholders both in the public and private sectors to function at its full potential. The main reason for Operation Vulindlela was to assist with the Inter-Governmental Relations (IGR) processes. (See attached)

MAWIGA Ministerial Project

A new project started in January 2022 and was approved in July 2022. The project aimed to assist those who lost their titles deeds when the borders were adjusted from former Bophuthatswana

These were the title deeds that had to be delivered:

  • 4 886 title deeds in Garankuwa Unit 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 16; Kudube Unit 1 and 2 and Mabopane A, B, C, D.
  • 3 048 title deeds in Garankuwa Units 7 and 8, Mabopane M, S, U, X and Winterveld.
  • Appointed 2 Conveyancers: JTP Consortium and Pfukane Khusile – beneficiary verification is underway, with the first title deeds expected to be delivered in April 2023.


Ms Ngxongo stated that the Department was aware of the backlog and had strategies in place to expedite the processes. Some of the strategies were not included in the presentation because they had to go through certain approval channels. The Department recognised the importance of beneficiaries concerning inequality and the need for job creation.

The Chairperson thanked Ms Ngxongo for her presentation and asked the Members to raise their hands for questions and comments.


Ms S Mokgotho (EFF) welcomed the presentation. She asked about the budget allocated in North West for the PHSHDAs to be implemented; the graph showed no development or zero PHSHDAs were acquired. No expenditure was incurred from 1 April 2022 to 30 September 2022. What was the reason(s) for the Department not utilising the funds to implement PHSHDAs when a budget was allocated? Many poor people in North West (and across the country) did not have houses. Why were the funds not utilised when there was a huge backlog in our country?

Many provinces, including Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Free State, Eastern Cape, Limpopo and North West, had their ISUP grant not used to develop PHSHDAs. This was even though the Department had a huge task to address the problem of the lack of housing in South Africa. Why was the money not used to address the issues of lack of housing?

Mr B Herron (GOOD) thanked the Department for the presentation. He said the Spatial Transformation presentation included improving the location of new housing opportunities, better-located housing opportunities, and improving the development of historically underdeveloped communities. If that was understood to be the goal of spatial transformation, then the problem statement about urban sprawl being a problem, in conjunction with under-regulation of private land, could be mitigated. The Department PHSHDAs as a solution. After looking at the Gazette of the PHSHDAs, the locations of many PHSHDAs did not address any of the issues. In fact, some of them perpetuated urban sprawl. Some of them were not located in the way that was going to achieve spatial transformation and integration. The Gazette was excellent at identifying locations, but the Committee required projected lists to determine whether the locations would meet the project objectives.

He asked if the PHSHDAs were going to involve the private sector in specific projects. For example, a development could include BMG housing, Social Housing, GAP Housing, and market-related housing all in one PHSHDA. The mixed-use of housing could include commercial and retail spaces. Was that the idea? Was there an integrated suburb instead of poverty suburbs where everyone had a BMG or social house? A pattern to date showed that South Africa had managed to achieve remarkably well in developing high numbers of housing. However, a free house was not necessarily affordable if it was located on the outskirts of cities and towns and people could not afford to travel to work where the amenities and services were. If the Department planned to prioritise those PHSHDA, would the Department stop sprawling and start saying to provinces and cities that projects on greenfield land would no longer be approved? That also went for the projects on the outskirts of cities because those projects perpetuated spatial inequality and segregation and failed to fully achieve the spatial transformation agenda.

There had been talks about mandatory inclusionary housing policy but that seemed to have fizzled out. There was a draft bill or a draft policy that the Department of Human Settlements prepared. It was a tool to address integration and spoke to landowners that the right for them to develop, belonged to the public. Therefore, the public had to benefit from an additional right when the landowner got to increase the bulk on their site. If the landowners were going to apply to increase the bulk on their site, they needed to contribute to the housing crisis by ensuring that there were affordable or social housing units within their development. If the Department was working on an inclusionary housing policy, could that be a standalone legislation or an amendment of SPLUMA? The title deeds presentation flashed quickly, for one to see it clearly. The presentation however, showed that funds were allocated for the title deeds project. Those were largely conveyancing costs. Had the Department considered including the appointment of developers of new housing projects and the obligation to transfer or to include a title deed upon completion of the unit?

Mr C Malematja (ANC) welcomed the presentation. He said the work done by the Department was commendable. The legacy of apartheid could not be an easy road to work or travel. The Department had managed to achieve positive results. The Department had been dealing with the legacy of apartheid, where certain a race was denied access to the economic activity zone. Those that wish to keep the legacy going, would never understand as they benefitted from that practice. If the Department planned to bring formerly discriminated races into the city, and those that dwelled in the city – for years – it would have a challenge comprehending or accepting such practice. In addition, they would hinder any development of building houses to prevent the practice from occurring.

The Department had to provide more details on the MAWIGA project, specifically, the timeframes. What would be the timeframes so the matter(s) could be fast-tracked and dealt with? The approach to the matter was commendable, however, the project needed a timeframe. The MinMec was one of the excellent achievements. It was a move towards the right direction. Going forward, there had to be a situation where structures were aligned with the title deeds as the Committee understood\ what the title deeds meant to its masses. There was progress but the timeframes would put people at ease.

Ms N Sihlwayi (ANC) said that there were matters that could be seen as sensitive regarding service delivery. There was a plan presented in 2021, the Committee was excited to see that plan. However, the challenges associated with the programme of 136 were unforeseen. The implementation and programme plan to see the programme to fruition was to be appreciated. The Department was challenging the legacy of apartheid, a process to exclude certain races from economic activities as the system deemed certain races to be “izimpumputhe” (idiots).

The presentations from the Department were an eye-opener on the complications of implementing transformation. The efforts attempted by the Department could be achieved through the implementation of SPLUMA. That was the catalyst that would give a sustainable and democratised project. The District Development Model had been of great assistance; however, it had been recently introduced by President Cyril Ramaphosa. It could have hiccups regarding the implementation as it incorporated the public and private sectors. It was a continuation of the other project that sought to bring unity in the sectors. The inclusion of community participation was commendable as the project was for them. The participation assisted the communities in empowering themselves and the involvement of communities would be able to assist the Department with some of the challenges, too. The communities were knowledgeable in resolving some challenges.

The Ministerial Task Team had escalated the process to a greater level. However, there had to be a recommendation from the Ministerial Task Team that would give a sense of how the Ministerial Task Team felt about that process as it was leading various departments that were stakeholders in those problems.

Ms Sihlwayi was pleased with the Director-General’s conclusion. She added that the conclusion gave hope to the Committee. She stated that there should be monitoring of infrastructure grants. The PHSHDAs were the catalysts of many problems facing the country. The infrastructure grants had to be used effectively. There had to be an integration of land planning to benefit everyone in the society, especially those previously marginalised. Ms Sihwayi appreciated the progress made towards changing title deeds ownership to not limit it to the house but rather to the site. That way a person could occupy the site and even build a shack while waiting for government to build them a house. She sought clarification on the declining financial allocations in some provinces, as alluded to by the graphs (see attached). The presentation had not divulged deeply enough to give that an understanding.

She encouraged Operation Vulindlela to continue and work hand in hand with other projects of the Department of Human Settlements. She appreciated the progress thus far but stated there was still a need for Ministerial recommendations. The Ministerial Task Team had to present to the Committee on the land title deeds.

Adv M Masutha (ANC) appreciated the presentations and said they were a “very” inspiring set of presentations. He dived into a historical context and said, “About three years ago the African diaspora, especially in the US, commemorated 400 years of slavery. Ironically, soon thereafter the issue of using a security apparatus to unleash racially based violence against Black people became prominent.”. In a South African context, South Africa would be in a similar situation in a few years to come. That followed the 1652 arrival of Jan van Riebeeck and colonialisation of South Africa. The commemoration coincided in 2024 as South Africa commemorated 30 years of democracy.

Adv Masutha stated that in 2023 South Africans would be on the mark of 30 years to 2052, which would mean that it would be 30 since South Africa first celebrated its first 30 years of democracy; this can be summarised as the era of the “crossroads”, both locally and in the broader African diaspora. The momentum needed to be utilised to make a deep reflection on gains and losses; achievements and failures that had been made on Black people across the globe.

He said that he was raising that to address a broader political context of where South Africa was. Some questions had to be answered; how far had South Africa gone? Had South Africa managed to create better opportunities for those who were previously marginalised? Learning from the first 30 years of democracy, what needed to be done differently for the next 30 years [leading to 2052] so South Africa could be seen as having “turned the tide” significantly?

Adv Masutha discussed spatial transformation in two contexts.

The race context.

His observation was that while apartheid structured the country through different instruments alluded to such groups such as Group Areas Act, Separate Amenities Act, etcetera; it ensured the taking advantage of that natural sense of proximity towards a specific race kind, exploiting it to group people along racial, tribal, and whatever other forms of identity. It was very easy to entrench from a psychosocial perspective. The segregation was not about the houses; it was also about social integration. It was not something easy to diffuse after 400 years.

The ANC policies had done well in ensuring that historically White areas were opened to be accessed by Black people. However, that had not been achieved in ensuring that other races moved into Black areas so that social integration was not a one-way process; where Black people felt it was an achievement to move to a historical White area. Gentrification was taking place as more Black people moved to the inner cities, which were previously reserved for Whites only. White people move out to seek shelters in other suburbs, moving away from Black people. That hindered the progress towards social integration. The undoing of apartheid included the planning and execution would require more than one Committee. It had to be a multidisciplinary exercise. People of different races were buying [land] in rural townships like Giyani. Adv Masutha said that that was an interesting phenomenon that the Committee needed to understand its context.

When it came to rural areas, the scenario was, there was a split between land traditionally held, where there was no individual ownership – therefore- no title deeds applied. The traditional leaders who held the land in trust for the benefit of those who lived there did not own the land. The residents did not own the land even though it was called communal land. In the past, it used to be called the State President’s, and that legal arrangement still pertains even today. It made it difficult for property developers to conduct business for economic space. That included evaluating assets for value. Banks would not invest in property that lacked an owner. They could not be used as collateral as no individual owner existed. That property was communally owned, but at another level, it was owned by the state. He asked how could development be achieved in rural areas without title deeds. Was SALGA and the House of Traditional Leaders, dealing with the complexities and backlogs? Was the Department engaging with the structures about those challenges? In [the year 2000], a National Planning Commission by Professor Vivienne Taylor was issued to deal with the question of poverty. It categorised poverty into three categories: income, capability, and asset.

He said that Black people were subjected to inequality that had started in 1913 when the Land Act was passed. He said [as a result] most Black people could not pass wealth from generation to generation since 1913 as the right of ownership of land was taken from them. Over a century, the dispossession resulted in inequality. Undoing that was going to require a multidisciplinary effort; which other departments were the Department of Human Settlements engaging with? Which departments shared a similar interest? A project under the leadership of Deputy President Mabuza, sought to address the inequality of land dispossession. He alluded that most Members participated in that project.

As Black people move into urban spaces, white people migrate into other suburban areas and form newly developed areas. If Black people follow them, they keep moving. As they move, their former areas [now occupied by majority of Black people] degenerate. In those areas, levels of crime rise, and dilapidation of buildings occurs; how was the Department dealing with that? He that that was not just a South African issue, but the United States of America had faced the same challenge of gentrification. What measures was the Department taking to address that as gentrification affected a united, integrated society?

The Chairperson welcomed the presentation and she spoke about the presentation on Spatial Transformation. She supported Mr Herron's sentiments on how the Department could ensure that the plans in place did not perpetuate apartheid spatial planning. The partnership with the private sector had to be monitored to ensure that it became effective, as it had to be able to resolve what the Department and Committee were trying to achieve. In Polokwane, the private sector had continuously built infrastructure with high security away from Black people. That led to the deterioration of the city. How could the Committee ensure that the nodal points declared in the meeting ensured that the private sector was aware of how the plan of social integration had to pan out? If the Department planned to build inclusive properties, how were the communities going to afford the properties? How could the property market be transformed into one that enabled access to urban areas and therefore, social integration? The property market had to promote access to urban opportunities and social integration through access to well-located and affordable housing and decent shelters. That could be achieved by revising the urban fragmentation and highly inefficient sprawl.

The nodal development identified was worrisome as the budget was not challenging the status quo. It was a long journey. However, the efforts had to be aligned with the NDP (National Development Plan). The targets had to be met before the people lost hope in the transformation. IGR was trying to build social integration. The municipalities continued to have segregating rates that were too expensive in former White areas. The marginalised races were hindered by laws that were in the municipalities to gain access to those areas. The people working in the public services, be it, nurses, teachers and police, struggled to move to the areas and often resorted to staying in the rural townships and villages. Some preferred those areas as there were no abnormal rates for basic services. A cohesive society had to be built on all aspects. The funding model had to be modified to support the country's transformation agenda.

The Chairperson appreciated the presentation on title deeds. She said the process put in place showed that there was an effort to deal with the challenges faced by the marginalised races. However, the backlogs were unacceptable. There had to be intervention from other spheres of government, and through Operation Vulindlela, there had to be an unlocking of the backlog challenges. Many South Africans were struggling because of title deeds. There had to be a way to bring hope. The Department needed to start having milestones, where people could look back and say what it had managed to achieve for them.

She spoke about the budget which proved to be a challenge. She proposed that there had to be an engagement with the treasury as provinces would continue to budget for what they wanted despite the budgetary constraints. While provinces were the implementing agencies, the Department would always be questioned for lack of service delivery. The infrastructure grants had to be utilised to develop a framework within the Department of Human Settlements.

She asked Deputy Minister Ms Tshwete to respond.

Response by the Department of Human Settlements

Deputy Minister Tshwete, had severe network challenges and therefore, mostly inaudible, stated that she would be answering a portion of the questions and would delegate other questions to her team.


Responding to Ms Mogoktho, she said that she was correct. There were talks with the traditional leaders as the land belonged to traditional leaders and the developers struggled to remove people from where they were.

The Chairperson intervened to say that Deputy Minister Tshwete was inaudible and other the Members were unable to hear her. The Ms Ngxongo was given the opportunity to answer the questions.

Ms Ngxongo allowed Ms Atkinson to respond to the question.

Ms Atkinson appreciated the comments from the Committee. She said that they gave a sense of urgency to the Department to achieve what it had planned. The mixed-use, integrated development in PHSHDAs partly dealt with a question about whether that was mandatory, or did provinces and municipalities have to ensure that they spent in those areas? The answer was yes.

The business plans that the Department had were aligned with that. All the projects that were submitted were aligned with PHSHDAs. The Department understood that there were processes across the provinces because some of those projects would be found outside the PHSHDAs due to previous project commitments. Mixed-use was enabled through the housing grant; the Department had its eye on the ball in terms of its housing programmes, namely informal systems and upgrading the first social housing. That was what the Department had insisted the provinces needed to be directing their funding to. The Department had appreciated some of the project commitments previously to the declaration of the PHSHDAs with that of the provinces. Giving them an opportunity to transition out of that, the Department had installed consequence management where it was not prioritising the PHSHDAs, especially regarding the programmes that the Department had highlighted in the housing code. The private sector was one of the challenges that the Department took on when it declared those areas and primarily why and the Department declared those areas. There had to be private sector investments to address the issues of sprawl. Government was committing R2 billion in housing developments and the private sector had to be aligned as that was also beneficiary to the sector as well.

High priority was securing home ownership and how the people allocated houses determined if they could survive financially through affordable housing. There was an engagement with the Banks to look at tailor-made housing finance packages for those who could not afford housing, mainly due to the qualification criteria.

The Department had emphasised that there were by-laws that controlled and even sometimes prevented the Department from achieving certain objectives. Those laws were mostly in the metros, and some did not make sense. She made an example of the City of Johannesburg which did not have its inclusionary housing policy, but with questionable application of the policy – mainly on its offering of incentives to the private sector. The by-laws and frameworks by municipalities had prevented some of the objectives and were strict regulations. The municipalities were also not implementing the right by-laws in place. The Department was working with the municipality to implement those by-laws correctly.

The comments from the Members were a priority that the Department would acknowledge to achieve the objectives of the PHSHDAs and would be used to address the challenges, particularly around the high-income owners who were resistant to the transformation. PHSHDAs were going to transform space. She concluded that as the project moved forward it would attract the right investments and developers.

Ms Luanne Werner, Programme Manager, DHS, asked if it was necessary to show her face as she was not a new face to the Committee.

The Chairperson said it would be advisable to do so to remind the Members of what she looked like.

Ms Werner said that there were very specific and pointed questions and provided clarity that she wanted to address them, starting with the question from asking about the R216 million. The R216 million was not only for conveyancing. It was also for the title restoration project as it came as a whole package.

The Department had to first verify beneficiaries and make sure that the right person was ultimately given the title deed. She broke down the R216 million into the following key outputs:

  • R72 million – The Conveyancing Part; Lodgement Process
  • 12% of the R216 million – the beneficiary verification
  • 14% of the R216 million – the dispute resolution
  • 42% of the R216 million – township establishments

The Operation Vulindlela slide was to appraise the Committee on the specific areas that the Department was working on to resolve Operation Vulindlela. The process was going to move speedily. It was not a difficult task; it was a matter to get all the ideal partners to commit to the various actions that they needed to take. The Department had met with them 2 or 3 times and the Department was reporting quarterly; there would be regular feedback to the Committee. She reminded the Committee that Operation Vulindlela did not get involved in the implementation stages of the project; and that there were conflicting policy matters hindering the progress of the project(s).

On the development of Communal Land Rights, she stated that the Department of Human Settlement had a rural housing programme which had been ongoing for years. The programme constructed a significant number of individual residential units on Communal Land. Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KZN, Free State and some parts of Eastern Cape had received construction of subsidised units under the rural housing programme that had no title. As a result of being a state land, the Department planned to do a formal township establishment(s) which would then enable the Department to provide individual and full title on the pieces of land. The Deeds of Grant were prevalent in the old homeland areas; there was a mechanism in place to endorse those Deeds into full title Deeds.

However, that could only occur once a township establishment had been completed. That was a conversion to be achieved under the MAWIGA Ministerial project. The conversion process had 8 000 residents who had Deeds of Grant.

The title restoration grant had better outcomes, but the Department had a team working on revising the Human Settlements Grant. The recommendation was welcomed. She said she did not fully understand the question on the Ministerial Task Team and asked if her colleague, the Director General, could be able to answer the question.

Ms Werner answered the question on the allocation of money in provinces. She said there was a slide in the presentation on allocating funds. The slide clarified that 2018/2019 was the baseline year for the title restoration grant. R518 million was taken from the HSDG into a separate grant, with its own set of conditions. Some conditions included the grant being specifically dedicated to the Title Restoration project. The 2022/23 financial year had an end to the Title Restoration grant and went back to the HSDG. The budget for the titling became discretionary for the provinces. The 2022/23 financial year slide showed how the provinces used the discretionary funds and budgeted for the title grant. From the financial point of view, the titling project might not be prioritised by the provinces. Therefore, the Department had made proposals to ensure that the Title Deeds project got the resources it needed to get good traction, including financially and/or otherwise. Through MinMec, the Department was determining minimum annual targets per output which coerced the provinces into the direction of throwing the proper financial resources into those expected outputs.

She apologised in advance for missing any other questions and concluded her responses.

Ms Ngxongo said that most of the questions had been answered. She answered the question on how the Department of Human Settlements was attracting the other race into “Black” areas for proper integration. The Department had focused on that as it would bring the social integration that the Department sought.

Ms Ngxongo sought further clarification on the question about the Ministerial Task Team.

Deputy Minister Tshwete said she had been struggling to connect smoothly (still inaudible).

Ms Sihlwayi intervened to ask to clarify the question.

The Chairperson said that the meeting was not over yet and asked for Ms Sihlwayi to allow the Deputy

Minister to give her remarks first.

Follow-up questions

Ms Sihlwayi had questions as follow-ups. She said she lost the interpretation on the slide about the link between Title Deeds vs Land Site vs Service Site. Could the Department elaborate further on that?

The second question was on declining financial priorities. What had the Department meant by that?

On the Ministerial Task Team, the Committee had to be appraised on the recommendations from the Ministerial Task Team so that the Committee could engage with the Ministerial Task Team on the matter of PHSHDAs and the title deeds as that was an important issue. What were the timeframes for completing at least 50% of the title deeds?

Ms Mokgotho asked that, since the Deputy Minister had network challenges, the other Members of the Department attempt to the questions.

Follow-up responses

Deputy Minister Tshwete said that the Department went to the North West (inaudible again).

Deputy Minister Tshwete said that she would be providing a written response rather as the network had prevented her from responding verbally.

The Chairperson supported that and said that if there were no responses from the Department’s team, then there had to be responses written and sent to the Secretary to be circulated.

Ms Ngxongo said a decline in financial priorities had affected the annual targets, in response to the provinces’ response to the title deeds backlogs. There had to be a minimum annual target as the title deeds project had been moving very slowly and that had to do with the financial constraints the Department sought to sort out with the Ministry of Finance.

Ms Mokgotho said that her question was not answered and that the responses were irrelevant to her question.

The Chairperson said the responses were to the questions raised by Ms Sihlwayi. She asked if someone from the Department could answer the questions by Ms Mokgotho; if not, could the Department provide a written response within seven working days?

Ms Mokgotho agreed with the Chairperson but said she could not understand why the Department of Human Settlements team did not have answers. She said that was questionable.

The Chairperson reiterated that the written response(s) had to be provided within seven working days and asked for the meeting to move to the next agenda item.

Consideration & Adoption of 2022 Annual Report

The report was presented on the screen.

The Chairperson scrolled page-by-page and, at the end, asked the Members to have their say about the report.

Mr Tseki said that the report seemed more like a scheduling programme than a report. The report lacked the essence of any report which was the analysis(es) section. Some recommendations were raised by the Committee in every meeting; the summary of those would have been a good analysis to have. Those could have been included in the footnotes. The highlight of 2022 was the public hearings. Some issues were received from the communities visited and some were even reported to the Department. He spoke about the headings and said they were important, one of them being Analysis of the Paper in terms of the Government priorities and outcomes.

He scrolled to the column about Analysis of public hearings and said that analysis was very important. Therefore, there had to be at least one page that spoke on the highlights of PRAA as it was also a highlight.

The Chairperson said that Mr Tseki had been given an opportunity to submit his inputs on the report and said that Mr Tseki still had the opportunity to do that. She wanted the Members to agree on the events that had transpired as per the Annual Report which was the summary consisting of all the quarterly reports, including the public hearing reports. The annual report was a compliance report. The previous reports had been adopted by the Committee. The Chairperson suggested that the Secretary note what had been said about the one page to avoid further questions from the people reading the report.

She asked if the Members agreed on that.

Mr Tseki agreed that he would have a way to express his views. The other matter of compliance, what had been achieved through the meetings that took place in 2022? What was achieved in 2022? He concluded by moving for the adoption.

Mr Herron seconded the motion.

The report was duly adopted.

The Chairperson asked for the outstanding minutes to be considered and adopted.                                                                                                            

Consideration and Adoption of Committee Minutes

Minutes dated 1 February 2023

The minutes were of a meeting on the first term programme and the adoption of outstanding minutes. The Chairperson scrolled through the minutes page by page and asked the Members to consider and adopt the minutes.

Mr Tseki moved for the adoption of the minutes. He questioned why other sets of minutes had to pile up. That was based on the number of minutes that had to be adopted in the meeting on 1 February 2023. He asked if the Committee could adopt minutes timeously in the future.

The Chairperson said sometimes outstanding minutes were not adopted due to a tight schedule.

Ms Sihlwayi seconded the adoption of the minutes.

The minutes were duly adopted.

The meeting was adjourned.


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