Human Settlements Budget: Committee Report

Human Settlements

09 May 2023
Chairperson: Ms M Semenya (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


Tabled Committee Reports

The Committee on Human Settlements met on a virtual platform to discuss its draft report on Budget Vote 33 and the minutes of a previous meeting.

After discussion, it was decided that the Members could read the minutes on their own, and rather meet next week to adopt them. This was done because of time constraints, and all were in favour of this proposal.

The Committee was taken through the draft report. They noted several grammatical errors in the report. They suggested many amendments, among which it was stressed that six months was too long a period of time to wait to do effective oversight. It was proposed that this time period be revised. Members recommended that the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) and any relevant stakeholders needed to accept accountability and improve their performance management. It was also asked why R18 million had been spent over a month just to house flood-affected residents from Crystal Valley. One of the Members suggested that the goals not achieved in the previous year be noted, and that they had to be achieved in the new year.

The draft report was subsequently adopted with the amendments.

Meeting report

Consideration of Committee minutes

After the Committee had observed a moment of silence for a Member who had recently died, the Members were taken through the minutes of previous meetings.

Dr N Khumalo (DA) interjected to ask if they were really going to be taken through all detail of the minutes. She suggested that if it was not urgent, they should rather have the minutes circulated to them so that they could read them in private and meet to adopt them on another day.

The Chairperson responded that they had been instructed to read the minutes, along with the draft Committee budget report at the meeting. She asked what other Members thought about this?

Mr L Mphithi (DA) supported Dr Khumalo, and suggested that the minutes be sent well in advance, along with the report, so that everyone had more time to read and be prepared.

Ms M Makesini (EFF) echoed the previous speaker’s comment and suggestion.

Mr T Malatji (ANC) proposed that given time constraints, they should perhaps start with the report and then review the minutes afterwards.

Dr Khumalo interjected that the Committee expected the Department not to take action just to ‘tick boxes’ [implying that the Committee should not just tick boxes either] . It was not practical to perform both tasks effectively at the same time. She stressed the importance of taking time for both tasks, suggesting they could do them separately and meet next week to adopt the minutes.

The Chairperson resolved to table the minutes and meet on another day to adopt them. She asked if this was agreeable with everyone, and everyone responded positively. She then asked that they move on to the next item on the agenda

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements on Budget Vote 33: Human Settlements, the revised Strategic Plan for the coming Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period and the Annual Performance Plan 2023-24

Mr Sabelo Mnguni, Committee Content Advisor, took the Members through the draft report, which was flighted for all to see, and mentioned that he had noted some grammatical errors and amended them. He explained that the reason why the report was always written in the past tense was so that the person reading in future would make more sense of the report written in the past.

The Chairperson suggested that certain parts of the report need not be read out because of time constraints, and that he should focus on the important information that Members needed to know.

The draft report reading continued until the end, even when Mr Mnguni was suddenly kicked off the meeting's platform due to technical issues.

The Chairperson thereafter opened the floor for questions on the draft report.


Dr Khumalo began by suggesting that the grammatical errors in the report should be corrected as soon as possible so that it was a good quality report that the public would read. She wanted to know what was meant by “Securing of the Department of additional capacity” on page 6. Regarding informal settlements in point 4.6, was this reporting on performance? What was the time frame for blocked projects to be completed? She said that six months was too long a time to wait to do effective oversight. Where did the six-month time period stem from? She mentioned that constant monitoring on the ground would be beneficial so that they could make the necessary changes. She suggested they break down all the reports over the upcoming four weeks.

She noted that the Minister had once mentioned that the failure of provinces to utilise the emergency grant effectively was a contributing factor in phasing the grant out. Could the strategy be given some urgency because the Committee had to be accountable to their constituents, who would not wait six months for clarity on the way forward now that the emergency grant had been discontinued?
It had been suggested that the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) and any relevant stakeholders needed to take accountability and improve their performance management, to which the NHBRC had agreed. Could this also be included in the report? She suggested a timeframe for Point 6.11, which would hopefully not be six months, but rather four weeks. The recommendation on 6.12 was also made for entities. She did not think that 6.14 was recorded accurately -- could they rephrase it? She suggested that random audits be considered to be conducted around the provinces so that the necessary action could be taken where applicable. On 6.17, could they make accurate observations and mention that it was done in the Eastern Cape? 6.20 was a repetition. In 6.21, they should perhaps consider summoning the provinces to appear on a certain day and pose consequences for failure in doing so, but without taking away services from the residents. 6.31 needed to be measurable regarding the availability of CSOS. They expected the Department to have plans in place, and they needed to be held accountable for those plans.

Ms M Makesini (EFF) agreed that six months was too long a time to wait. She asked for clarity on the observation at number 36 -- was the NHBRC to appoint contractors, or were the contractors appointed by the municipality, or the Department? She did not see the municipality that had been given accredited status to be a developer, and this should also be included in the draft report.

Ms N Sihlwayi (ANC) was happy that the issue of bungalows had been raised as a Department intervention. She was unclear about the terminology on informal settlement upgrading and integrated informal settlements, and requested clarification to not raise the hopes of the people. She asked that they try to amend the use of the term 'Jojo tanks' -- could they rather say water tanks and not Jojo tanks, to avoid being accused of promoting the Jojo brand. Where was the NHBRC when a standard of house was adopted and approved? The issue of Germiston was very sad -- many people had received happy letters but no housing, and this issue required attention. The NHBRC's role was critical in the case of persons who became handicapped after having been approved for housing. Could they get more clarity on the blocked projects?

Mr L Mphithi (DA) referred to 6.1, and asked when the targets would be reflected. On 6.13, how was the Department addressing issues where people were sold houses under false pretences and then the money was given to scammers? Regarding CSOSs in point 6.32, he asked for clarity because the observation was still unclear. He warned against developers who tried to cut corners by not having the proper building requirements done correctly. He noted that they should think about ensuring access in the urban boundaries and moving away from periphery-based land that was disconnected from urban centres. He acknowledged that some of these lands were placed in trusts and were contracted to government for military purposes. The issue in Crystal Valley was fundamental and should thus be reflected in the draft report. Why had R18 million been spent over a month just to house the residents from Crystal Valley?

The Chairperson noted that the amendments would be sent to Mr Mnguni to make the necessary adjustments.

Mr A Tseki (ANC) commented that the plan should be linked with the upcoming annual performance report. They should note the goals not achieved in the previous year, and which had to be achieved in the new year.

The Chairperson said that when they dealt with the report, the Committee had to make recommendations based on the outcome of the annual report. The issues of oversight would become the resolutions of the oversight report, which would then be incorporated into the programme as they proceeded with implementation.

Regarding the issue of the allocation for handicapped persons, she said it was called the ‘validation and verification of beneficiaries’. She agreed with the earlier suggestion about the Jojo tanks, and trusted that the Department would capture this accurately. They should welcome the suggestion of digital management of projects by the NHBRC. She supported several other amendments brought up earlier by the Members, and felt they needed to be escalated and incorporated into the draft report. The Committee expected the blocked projects to be finalised within the following year.

Mr C Malematja (ANC) asked if the digitisation of the list was meant to be finalised and extended to June/July 2023.  

The Chairperson responded that this would be verified later.

The draft report was subsequently adopted with all the amendments.

As there were no further comments from the Members, the meeting was adjourned.


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