GaRankuwa and Mabopane Residents Petition; Breede Valley Petition
01 March 2023
Chairperson: Ms R Semenya (ANC)
The Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements convened a meeting to receive briefings from the North West Housing Corporation and the City of Tshwane on the progress made on the petition of GaRankuwa and Mabopane Residents. The Western Department of Human Settlements and the Breede Valley Municipality conducted the second briefing on the progress made on the Breede Valley Petition.
The Department of Human Settlements provided that it had convened several meetings with the North West Housing Corporation and the City of Tshwane in 2022 on the progress made on the petition of GaRankuwa and Mabopane Residents. The North West Housing Corporation provided an update on the actions taken on the petition by some residents of Mabopane and Garankuwa Townships regarding vacant land. The Department had noted the frustrations of the petitioners. The commitments made by the City of Tshwane and the North West Housing Committee would provide an enabling environment for resolving the matter.
The Western Department of Human Settlements and the Breede Valley Municipality briefed the Committee on the progress made on the Breede Valley Petition. The Department presented the project background on the new Mandela Square. There had been a considerable settlement, and the project could not be implemented as envisaged originally. The Department committed to appointing an NGO to conduct a new enumeration, set up a community structure to ensure active participation, and repackage the project based on realities. The Department was reviewing an application from Breede Valley Municipality to extend the NGO’s contract to continue its work.
On the petition of GaRankuwa and Mabopane Residents, the Committee had expressed concerns about the need for more detail in the report on the petition of GaRankuwa and Mabopane Residents. The Committee had emphasised the importance of accountability and had proposed an oversight visit to the properties in the North West. Members had referred to the previous briefing by North West Housing, where it had committed to providing land to the petitioners.
On the Breede Valley Petition, members noted the challenges of land invasions and resource constraints in the local municipal areas. Members would deliberate on an effective strategy to combat the illegal land invasion. Further, members had expressed concern about the lack of toilets in the Emagwaleni area and asked the Department and Municipality to intervene urgently. Members had planned to conduct a follow-up oversight visit to the Breede Valley and had requested the attendance of all ward councillors during the meetings.
The Chairperson welcomed the Members and participants. She emphasised the importance of the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) and its stakeholders submitting their presentations to the Committee before the meeting.
She said late submissions were a recurring challenge and gave a final warning on this matter. She stated that future meetings would only be convened if presentations were received on time.
Ms Sindisiwe Ngxongo, Acting DG of the DHS, introduced her accompanying members.
Ms Ngxongo said that the DHS, the North West Housing Corporation (NWHC), and the City of Tshwane (COT) held several meetings in 2022 on the progress made on the petition of GaRankuwa and Mabopane Residents.
She requested the NWHC to provide an update to the Committee.
Briefing by the North West Housing Corporation and the City of Tshwane on the progress made on the petition of GaRankuwa and Mabopane Residents
Ms Grace Moshoeu, Representative of the NWHC, gave an update on the actions taken by the NWHC on the petition made by some residents of Mabopane and Garankuwa Townships regarding vacant land.
She said that the matter in question affected petitioners from Garankuwa and Mabopane.
She reported that the NWHC officials had gone to verify 17 stands which were in the Asset Register of the Corporation in Mabopane and Garankuwa.
She added that during the verification process, they had found that 15 of the sites were no longer vacant and had been occupied illegally. There were temporary structures erected on the sites.
She said that offers were then made to two petitioners on the remaining stands and that they had to verify more stands for the one remaining petitioner.
She stated that the petitioners had declined the offer, indicating they were not interested in the stands offered in Mabopane and Garankuwa; they had told the officials that they did not want to return to those townships as they had enemies there and their lives might be in danger.
• To be given vacant stands in Hartbeespoort as their standard of living has improved.
• They also mentioned that they were expecting to be offered houses like those occupied by Governors of the former Bophuthatswana Government, which, according to them, are in Hartbeespoort.
• In addition, they demand compensation for the furniture and other household goods they lost when they were evicted from their houses fraudulently.
She concluded that they also demanded that the NWHC pay the ex-gratia as ordered by the Public Protector to the petitioners who did not claim it.
She noted that the NWHC owned no vacant land in Hartebeespoort and, therefore, could not assist the petitioners in that area.
She suggested that the City of Tshwane should proclaim and register Zone 2 Garankuwa to register stand no. 2827 in the name of Michael Mere.
She assured that the Corporation continued to engage with all of them to reach an amicable decision in line with the Public Protector’s letter.
See the report for further details.
The Chairperson referred to the briefing by the NWHC during the previous meeting, where it had indicated a commitment to provide land to the petitioners.
She asked the City of Tshwane to clarify the issue of the sale of the houses and emphasised the importance of accountability.
Mr A Tseki (ANC) stated that he found the report regressive and suggested that the Chairperson delegate a member to support the resolution of the matter. He volunteered his availability.
Ms E Powell (DA) disagreed with his suggestion and said it was not prudent for one member of the Committee to conduct investigative work. Instead, she proposed that the Committee as a whole should conduct a visit to the properties in the North West.
She expressed concern for the sentiments of the petitioners and the blatant disrespect shown to them. She reminded the Committee and the City of Tshwane that they had a constitutional duty to serve the country’s citizens.
She referred to the report of the Public Protector and rejected the report presented by the North West Housing Corporation on this basis, as it accused the petitioners of lying.
She requested that the City of Tshwane and the North West Housing Corporation provide a background explanation of the allegations of maladministration and the results of the criminal investigations of alleged fraudulent property transfers.
Ms M Makesini (EFF) expressed her concerns about the presentation provided by the North West Housing Corporation. She concurred that the Committee should conduct an oversight visit to the North West.
Ms N Tafeni (EFF) expressed her concerns about the absence of the CEO of the West Housing Corporation. She claimed there was a discrepancy between the contents of the report and the reality on the ground.
Mr C Malematja (ANC) endorsed the motion that the Committee should conduct an oversight visit to the North West.
He recalled the agreement that land would be allocated to the petitioners and the one on arresting officials.
He asserted that the late submission of the meeting report to the Committee indicated that this agreement had yet to be upheld.
Responses by the City of Tshwane and the North West Housing Corporation
Ms Moshoeu acknowledged the Committee’s resolutions and said that the North West Housing Corporation would collaborate closely with the Department and the City of Tshwane on them.
Mr Johann Mettler, Tshwane City Manager, City of Tshwane, expressed his appreciation for the Committee’s proposals.
He promised that a comprehensive report would be submitted to the Committee.
The report would include a background explanation of the allegations of maladministration and the results of the criminal investigations of alleged fraudulent property transfers.
Ms Ngxongo stated that the Department shared the frustrations of the petitioners. She hoped that the commitments made by the City of Tshwane and the North West Housing Committee would provide an enabling environment for resolving the matter.
Ms Powell requested that the City of Tshwane clarify how many officials were charged and what legal actions were instituted against them.
She advised that the City of Tshwane should be well-prepared for the Committee meetings and have the report available.
Mr Tseki pointed out that the City of Tshwane had committed to submitting the comprehensive report.
Mr Malematja sought clarity on whether specific or any other land was requested by the petitioners.
Mr Vuyani Gule, North West Petitioner, stated that the issue of house replacement was gaining direction.
He inquired whether the City of Tshwane and the North West Housing Committee would convene a follow-up meeting to discuss the issue of losses.
The Chairperson urged the City of Tshwane and the North West Housing Committee to escalate the matter for urgent resolution.
Briefing by the Western Department of Human Settlements and the Breede Valley Municipality on the progress made on the Breede Valley Petition
Mr Louie Welgemoed, Regional Planner, Department of Human Settlements, Cape Winelands District, Western Department of Human Settlements, and Mr Simphiwe Mayeki, Manager Human Settlements, Breede Valley Municipality, gave a progress update on the Breede Valley Petition.
Project background – New Mandela Square
He said the project consisted of two pockets serviced for the 1800 erven development. They added that as per the project application, the intention was to develop on the already serviced sites.
He reported that the application was submitted for the construction of 652 units and that all development rights were in place according to the application.
He admitted that there had been a considerable amount of settlement. They concluded that the project could not be implemented as originally envisaged.
The IGR meetings were held to unblock the project following the petition:
• 18 February 2020 with NDHS, PDHS and BVM officials.
• December 2020 with officials.
• 28 May 2021 with political principals and officials.
• 22 July 2022 with officials.
Following IGR engagements, it was resolved that the project should be repackaged, considering the realities.
Appointment of the NGO
As resolved in the IGR meetings, DHS committed to appointing an NGO too, amongst other things:
• Conduct a new enumeration.
• Set up community structure to ensure active participation.
• Repackage the project based on realities.
The NGO was appointed on 16 February 2022 with the following milestones:
• Milestone 1: Scoping, site establishment and aerial survey (Completed).
• Milestone 2: Establishment and formalisation of community participation structures (Completed).
• Milestone 3: Community-based planning (sustainable livelihood plans, upgrading plans. Relocation strategy, re-blocking strategy and implementation plan (Completed).
• Milestone 4: Continuity plan and closeout report (Completed).
A request for the extension of the NGO contract was received from BVM on 1 February 2023:
• Co-produce a toilet and tap layout for Emagwaleni.
• A co-design re/unblock section of North Mandela with trained EPWP workers.
• Assist BVM in submitting a UISP application for the upgrading of Emagwaleni.
• Assist BVM in applying for funds for land acquisition.
• A team of 20 trained EPWP workers that can continue to work after the NGO's departure.
Establishment of PSC
The Municipality and community structures signed the social compact, forming the basis for implementation.
A general meeting was held on 6 March to elect PSC representatives.
The Ward Councillor and the MMC for Human Settlements oversaw the election of the PSC members.
Two representatives were elected from each of the five areas:
• North Mandela
• Behind MPC
The PSC comprises ten members from the five areas and municipal and provincial officials and meets monthly.
Meetings held to date:
• 25 February 2022 - Inception meeting with Ward Councillor
• 6 March 2022 - Meeting with community leaders & election of PSC
• 15 March 2022 - Project Steering Committee meeting
• 12 May 2022 - Community Meeting
Packaging and costing of the project
Mr Louie said that a GIS analysis had been done as part of the milestone two deliverable. Based on this analysis, it was evident that the various pockets had experienced growth since 2018.
The relocation strategy was a critical component of the work currently underway as decanting would be required to enable development. The relocation strategy had been completed and communicated to BVM.
The Municipality had submitted the project application for the construction of 652 at a total cost of R86 452 351.28, based on the 2018/19 subsidy quantum.
The subsidy quantum has since been revised with effect from 1 April 2022, and the project budget would need to be rephrased to align with the latest quantum.
The application had been supported. However, the resolution could not be finalised given the challenges in settlement growth, which now required a relocation strategy.
All the development rights have been obtained; the commencement date will be informed by the outcomes of the work done by the NGO, specifically as it relates to relocation and re-blocking strategy.
The NGO work was concluded in December 2022 with the submission of the Closeout Report.
DHS is reviewing an application from BVM for the extension of the NGO's contract to continue its work.
See the presentation for further details.
The Chairperson thanked the Department and Municipality for the presentation.
Ms Powell referred to the challenges of land invasions and resource constraints in the local municipal areas. She had said that the rapid growth of informal settlements had necessitated the City of Cape Town to increase budgetary outputs to provide essential services to newly formed informal settlements.
She suggested that the Committee deliberate on an effective strategy to combat the illegal land invasion.
She said the presentation should have focused on substantive matters and not politicised the issues.
Mr Mayeki expressed concern about the lack of toilets in the Emadwaleni area. He had asked the Department and Municipality for advice on addressing this challenge.
He suggested that the executive decision-makers from the Department should attend the Committee meetings.
He added that the Anti-Land Invasion Division was mandated to provide a strategy for combatting illegal land invasion.
Ward Councillor Mr Moses Mangali stated that there were various projects within the broader project. He had informed me of the slow pace of the upgrades in the informal settlement.
The New Mandela Integrated Residential Development Programme (IRDP) project to build new houses in Zwelethemba, Breede Valley, has yet to produce results. He had referred to the Committee oversight visit to the area on 4 December 2022.
There needed to be more progress on providing a beneficiary as funding needed to be availed.
He noted the need for more timeframe for the Municipality’s upgrade and building of houses.
Response by the Western Department of Human Settlements and the Breede Valley Municipality
Mr Welgemoed responded that there were several informal settlements in the municipality area. Worcester had the most significant number of informal settlements.
The informal settlement in the Zwelethemba area fell outside of the urban edge of Worcester. The spatial planners knew this and would address it in the new spatial development framework.
Furthermore, it was on private property and required the Municipality to proceed with a land acquisition to proceed with the formal upgrading of the site.
Ms Makesini asked the Ward Councillor to clarify why the resolution of the previous meeting needed to be implemented and why essential services were not provided to the new informal settlements.
She expressed concern for the selective provision of services to DA supporters in areas with a DA ward councillor.
Dr N Khumalo (DA) responded on the issue of the selective provision of services to DA supporters. She had said that it was a severe allegation. She had asked the Ward Councillor to share evidence to substantiate the allegations. It was the oversight responsibility of the Committee to address such matters.
Ms Powell added that it was prudent for the MEC to provide a written response to the allegations once there was evidence to substantiate them.
Mr Malematja reiterated the concern for the lack of attendance of the Department and Municipality executive representation in the meeting.
Mr Mangali said he would provide the evidence to substantiate the allegations of the selective provision of services to DA supporters.
He referred to the commitment of the NGO to submit an updated report. He had asked the Committee to share a copy of the report for onward submission to the ward.
The Chairperson referred to the oversight visit conducted on 4 December 2022 in the Breede Valley. She had expressed concern about the ward’s limited representation during this visit.
She provided that the Committee would conduct a follow-up oversight visit and requested the attendance of all ward councillors during the meetings.
She requested that Mr Mangali provide a written report to the Committee explaining all the issues communicated in the meeting.
She emphasised the importance of resolving the petitions before the conclusion of the Committee’s term.
The meeting was adjourned.
Semenya, Ms MR
Khumalo, Dr NV
Makesini, Ms M
Malatji, Mr T
Malematja, Mr C N
Powell, Ms EL
Sihlwayi, Ms NN
Tafeni, Ms N
Tseki, Mr MA
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