Mpumalanga & Limpopo on MinMec 2022/23 Priorities and Budget Expenditure

Human Settlements

06 September 2023
Chairperson: Ms R Semenya (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements was briefed by the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces on the Ministers and Members of Executive Council (MINMEC) priorities and budget expenditure for the 2022/23 financial year.

The Committee heard that Mpumalanga had only two blocked projects in the 2023/24 financial year, which were situated mainly in the Govan Mbeki Local Municipality, due to a lack of bulk infrastructure and illegal land invasions. The province said it had not quantified or created a database of the number of mud houses in the province, and its eradication of asbestos programme had been allocated R50 million for the financial year. The Department indicated that some of the challenges related to disaster responses were because several of the reported houses could not be repaired as they were big structures, exceeding the size of a typical government low-cost house. Some houses were poorly built and did not conform to building standards, while others were mud houses and shacks which could not be repaired under the emergency housing grant conditions. The Department pointed out that residents would often report poorly maintained or incomplete houses as being disaster-affected.

Limpopo Province reported that it had 161 blocked projects on its housing subsidy system due to non-performance by contractors, lapsed contracts, terminations, and balances still reflecting on projects. The Waterberg, Mopani and Sekhukhune districts' townships were currently at advanced stages of proclamation, and would be prioritised in the 2024/25 financial year. The Department had appointed the Housing Development Agency to implement two main strategic programmes for eradicating asbestos roofs, and 1 500 roofs had been completed. The process of reviewing the informal settlement development strategy was currently underway across 81 informal settlements, affecting approximately 47 783 households. The province reported experiencing challenges with the availability of bulk infrastructure, which impeded the servicing of sites. Regarding the province's expenditure on its conditional grants, there was a lack of infrastructure records from municipalities, which delayed engineering services' designs, and inadequate capacity in the planning units of both the Department and the local municipalities. Underperforming contractors also contributed to delays.

The Committee expressed concern over the progress on bulk infrastructure, illegal land invasions, and how the provinces would avoid this in future. Members felt that not enough work was being done to eradicate mud houses. They questioned what the province’s disaster management plans were, given that challenges were likely to occur during the months of October to January, and highlighted that there should be awareness programmes to educate people residing in the wetlands.

The Committee was concerned about the blocked hostel projects and the implications this would have on using the budget by the end of the financial year, given that a poor performance on the grants could result in the funds being reallocated. They referred to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report on inflated prices by suppliers and emergency procurement, and asked how the Department would manage the emergency procurement and inflated prices. They urged the Department to consider mitigating factors to ensure suppliers were listed on the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) and ensure that jobs were completed. Members felt that in both provinces, housing opportunities had moved towards serviced sites, and given the vastness of the provinces, this was a good direction to take on a national scale.

The Committee felt the Department was doing well, but the slow pace of finalising townships was flagged. Members expressed their disappointment with the 40% of work allocation to the designated groups, and felt that women, youths, persons with disabilities and military veterans, should be given more attention. They were outraged that women were employed as “dagga boys” to push wheelbarrows, which was being portrayed as job creation. The Committee said it wanted to see value and investment to those being given jobs.

There was also concern about a departmental view that people did not need to own houses, and that there was room for renting. Members strongly rejected the idea, commenting that they found it to be distasteful.

In her closing remarks, the Chairperson said the Department of Human Settlements had to address critical issues relating to communities that were placed on the outskirts of cities due to apartheid, and cautioned that apartheid's spatial planning should not be perpetuated, as more inclusive communities needed to be built.

Meeting report

Mpumalanga DHS 2022/23 budget expenditure and MINMEC priorities

Ms Hazel Zithe, Head: Department of Human Settlements (DHS), Mpumalanga, took the Committee through the presentation.

She confirmed that the Department had responded to the letter received from the Committee.

The presentation focused on the budget expenditure for the 2022/23 financial year and progress reports on the various Ministers and Members of Executive Council (MINMEC) priorities for the 2022/23 financial year.

The province had identified two blocked projects in the 2023/24 financial year mainly situated in Govan Mbeki Local Municipality. The common reasons for blockage:

  1. Lack of bulk infrastructure
  2. Illegal invasion.

Eradication of mud houses

  • Mpumalanga Province can be characterised as a rural province due to the nature of its settlement, wherein, a vast number of its population live outside the periphery of urban areas.
  • Mud and shack informal dwellings are typical in such rural areas.
  • Following the MinMEC decision to eradicate mud houses in the province, the Department identified highly dense areas with mud houses under the Rural Housing Programme.
  • The Department is collaborating with Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to eradicate mud houses in farm areas within the villages in Mkhondo, Albert Luthuli, and Bushbuckridge Local Municipalities identified in the first phase.
  • The Department has not quantified nor has a database of the number of mud houses in existence in the province.
  • The identification and prioritisation of the areas were done through the: -
  • Identification of households and areas by Beneficiary Management; and
  • Submission of dense areas and villages with mud houses from municipalities.
  • The above was used to draw up a project list for the current financial years.
  • Most of the identified houses are in rural areas where the Department has not undertaken geotechnical studies therefore enrolment with the NHBRC becomes a challenge and results to project delays.
  • The scattered nature of the houses makes coordinating construction activities difficult as it is not a planned development.
  • Eradication/demolition of some of these houses seems impossible due to the following reasons: Despite building new houses, some of the beneficiaries are insistent on keeping their mud houses as back, storage or as an additional house for the extended family members who cannot be accommodated in a BNG house.

Replacement of asbestos-roofed houses

  • Asbestos cement fibre sheets have been previously and commonly used as roofing sheets in low-cost housing. Exposure of households to this hazardous material has been identified to pose a health risk and a causative of lung diseases and cancer.
  • Pre-1994 housing stock has been found to be mainly affected.
  • The Minister has made the eradication programme a national priority of Human Settlements.
  • To that effect, R50 million has been set aside in the 2023/24 financial year for the programme.
  • It should be noted that the programme will be implemented with the current HSDG funding as no additional funding has been committed to the programme.
  • The Department has received a list of 20 056 asbestos roofed houses across the 17 local municipalities in the province
  • Due to the high demand and limited funding for the replacement of asbestos-roofed houses in the province (i.e., 20 056), the programme must be implemented over multi-financial years which will take more years
  • The budget allocated allows for the eradication of about 650 houses.
  • The programme will compete for funding with other housing programmes planned to eradicate the housing backlog.
  • The high transportation cost associated with the removal and disposal of asbestos material as the province does not have an approved dumping site.

Disaster responses

  • Over the past five years, the northern part of the Mpumalanga Province (mainly Ehlanzeni District) has been prone to devastation from disasters ranging from hailstorms, thunderstorms, flooding, cyclone tropical storms etc.
  • Ehlanzeni District is densely populated with the mushrooming of new informal settlement near the economic nerve centre of Mbombela.
  • This has resulted in the construction of several substandard low-cost houses in low-lying areas and flood lines susceptible to destruction by even low-impact storms or flood.
  • Several of the reported houses could not be repaired as they were big structures (i.e., floor plan exceeds 40m2 for a typical government low-cost house) with cost of repairs exceeding the maximum allowable for emergency assistance.
  • Some of the houses were poorly built and do not conform to building standards and as such, are not able to withstand abnormal weather conditions, i.e. Poor material used.
  • Some houses are mud houses and shacks that cannot be repaired under the Emergency Housing Grant condition.
  • During disasters, there is a tendency to report poorly maintained or incomplete houses as disaster-affected.
  • Construction of low-cost (BNG) houses for households affected by a disaster is not a responsive solution as our experience has shown that delays such as availability of services, identification of a developable site and enrolment can drastically delay construction. Providing repairs or TRU provides immediate relief if deployed fast.
  • The development and implementation of an Emergency Procurement Policy is very important as it fast-tracks the procurement of service providers and allows for the identification of good and capable service providers.
  • Grassroot coordination and mobilisation of the various stakeholders through the Disaster Management Centre is very important as it speeds up the delivery and response process

[Refer to presentation for details]

Limpopo Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements briefing

Dr Modjadji Malahlela, Chief Director: Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (CoGHSTA), Limpopo, took the Committee through the presentation.

The presentation focused on the progress and plans by the Limpopo Department of CoGHSTA to address the various human settlements’ sector priorities, and spending on conditional grants.

[Refer to presentation for details]


Ms M Makesini (EFF) asked how far the bulk infrastructure programme in Govan Mbeki Municipality, which was still being engaged, had progressed. There were illegal invasions and court outcomes which were awaited, so were similar projects also at risk of illegal invasions, and how would this be avoided to prevent projects from being delayed? When would mud housing assessments be complete? It seemed that the work was not being done. She asked what the problem was. Natural disasters would occur in Mpumalanga from October to January. What plans were in place for disaster management? Were there awareness programmes to educate people living in the wetlands?

Former Minister Sisulu had received complaints on blocked projects in Tzaneen in 2019. Why was the hostel project delayed, and why was it not a priority? The Department's informal settlements grant (ISG) performance was below target -- was it confident that it would use its entire budget before the end of the financial year? What had caused the poor performance of the grant? She did not want to see the funds being taken back and offered to another province.

Ms Zithe responded on the Mpumalanga mud houses, and said that the Department had integrated the programme under rural housing. The database was being worked on, but the community works programme (CWP) and beneficiary management unit had been assisting in identifying the most needy households, and the Department was aware it needed to conclude the process. This would not be a once-off project, as there were a number of households which needed intervention.

Mr L Mphithi (DA) asked about blocked projects due to infrastructure and land invasions, and whether there were any other reasons for this. What type of communication is taking place with municipalities on bulk infrastructure to support the projects? On mud houses, the report said there was no database, but what index was the Department using at the moment to identify the sites in the province? On the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report on inflated prices by suppliers and emergency procurement, how would the Department manage emergency procurement and the inflated prices issues? There was a Jojo tank which had been sold for R5 million. How would corruption be dealt with? He asked if suitable land had been identified for flood victims, and where those victims were at present.  

He asked about emergency shelter in Limpopo, and whether the province had procured this or if it would be rented. A company had falsified information and received a tender on temporary accommodation. What mitigating factors would be considered to ensure suppliers were listed on the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC), and what would be done to ensure the jobs would be finished?

Ms Zithe responded on the blocked projects and illegally invaded projects, and said communities had forcefully invaded the area during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite there being security. The Member of the Executive Council (MEC) had engaged people on this, and they had acknowledged the fact that they were in the wrong. The Department was working with municipalities to see how best to assist these people. On bulk infrastructure, the Department had asked for collaboration on the project, and had committed to servicing sites. The sites were serviced, but there had been delays. They had gone back to the drawing board to see how they could assist. They were currently working with the Govan Mbeki Municipality to unblock projects. They could not place people in areas that were not serviced. After the sites were serviced, only two projects now fell into the category of blocked projects.

No similar projects had reported illegal invasions.

On the informal settlements grant, she said it had conditions and it encompassed three phases. The third phase allowed them to service sites. The serviced sites were counted under informal settlements. Many sites were being serviced, and the Department tried to make provision for top structures and those who qualified for it. They had serviced more than 5 000 sites, and were working with the municipalities.

Mr Speedy Mashilo, MEC: Human Settlements, Mpumalanga, said that foreign nationals had invaded land, and the municipality had not been aware until disasters occurred. They had tried to create awareness with the municipality and traditional leaders.

Responding to the R5 million Jojo tank, he had an open tender for the provision of a steel tank in 2017,  and one was purchased for R5.7 million. Some townships were old and not declared, so title deeds were not registered. This meant proclamations had to be done. In areas with new settlements, title deeds were not an issue.

Dr Malahlela referred to the emergency shelters in Limpopo, and said that tents were used previously at the disaster management centre. Temporary shelters were now manufactured, as these could be dismantled and reused at a later stage by the centre. As soon as a disaster strikes, the shelter would be available, but a permanent solution would differ, based on the extent of the damage. They had budgeted for certain hazardous areas every year, based on their geographical conditions.

Of the blocked housing units, 933 had been completed last year and were occupied, and beneficiaries had signed for them. In some instances, contractors had left just the foundations, but the beneficiaries were traceable.

Mr A Tseki (ANC) said the target on mud houses was a problem in Mpumalanga. How was this target being dealt with? The Department should set a target for mud houses, and not refer just to an overall target. On informal settlements versus serviced sites, how was this counted? If informal settlements were given serviced sites, how was this counted, as it may be double counted. He said that in both provinces, housing opportunities had moved towards serviced sites, given the vastness of the province. This was good, and things should move in this direction nationally. He asked whether reconstruction and development programme (RDP) units would be built at serviced sites.

On the challenges relating to the municipality, such as title deeds and tracing people, and houses that were already built, were the new hostels rented, and were they really getting revenue from municipalities, or had they been invaded? Was the work in Giyani being done in conjunction with the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS)? He said the Department was doing well, but the slow pace of finalising the townships was flagged as an issue. Regarding the blocked projects, were all the units that were built occupied?

Dr Malahlela said there had been a number of projects in Polokwane involving title deeds since last year. There had been a delay in the signing of papers by municipalities to deal with transfers, so the municipalities had been engaged on standard operating procedures, and the Department had dealt with all these challenges, considering its first quarter performance. To deal with asbestos, they had completed 1 500 houses, and for the current financial year, 755 houses had been targeted. The Department used the Housing Development Agency (HDA), and legal compliance issues caused delays.

She said there was no double reporting regarding the informal settlements.

Ms N Sihlwayi (ANC) asked about eradicating mud houses, and said a Limpopo contractor had built her house. She said municipalities should be engaged and asked how houses which had not been legalised, or had not obtained building rights, were dealt with, and how contractors who did not have their legal status in order were dealt with. Were there consequences for this? She said the plans in place to address asbestos-roofed houses were good. She asked about criteria used in the city of Mbombela -- how was the plan developed and what houses were prioritised in terms of using the budget?

Referring to the disasters on page 31 of the presentation, she wanted to know if the areas had a trees, as sometimes this helped to protect houses. She suggested that plans be integrated with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) for sustainability. How were the mud houses dealt with? On page 41,  which grant had been utilised? The Department should not undermine the process due to technical challenges. What were the challenges in the hostels? This was not clear. What was being done to improve this? Many people suffering in the hostels were women and children. She said people would leave, stay somewhere else with someone, and leave the family behind in that conflict.

MEC Mashilo referred to the asbestos removal, and said some contractors had approached the Department, and the Department had asked for a list of qualifications of those employed. Asbestos had to be disposed of in Benoni or Gauteng. There was no specific budget for asbestos, so this had to be taken from their own budget. Unfortunately, this took a longer time due to expenditure issues.

He said Mbombela still owed funds to the province, hence the issue of bulk infrastructure had become a challenge. The province had met with the business forum and agreed on the top structures through the Local Economic Development authorities, to develop areas. This has helped in instances of blocked projects. There had been agreement to go with 60% to municipalities, and they would resell this to make money. Some people did not want RDP houses and preferred land, so there would be a 40:60 division in areas that had been serviced. Locals would benefit twice -- from the serviced land and the top structures.

On the cannabis project for women, some female contractors had been given contracts to the value of R27 million. Jobs had been created, but these were given to foreign nationals as the local people would work for one day and the project would get stuck. Contractors could also appoint the same people, but they could not be counted twice in terms of job creation.

Dr N Khumalo (DA) referred to blocked projects, saying only two had been mentioned, and asked what exactly happened with hijacking. Was it citizens or other service providers who wanted to claim something? She said the two projects mentioned were concerning and asked if these were the only two projects worked on or if there were more. She said 131 houses had been delivered in the previous year, but how did this relate to the target on the mud houses, and how was this target set? How old were the asbestos houses, and what was the priority level in dealing with this? What amount of time was set for the Department to give Transitional Residential Units (TRUs), and how long were people kept in them, for example, in tropical storm cases?

She asked about citizens who were not assisted in Mpumalanga. She asked about the 40% work allocation to the designated groups and the type of work -- whether it was contract work or employees of contractors in the various municipalities. She asked that more be shared on collaboration and best practices in Mpumalanga, for Limpopo to learn about employing people with disabilities, as they were in various professions. They should consider where they were looking for such people and how other provinces had tried to reach these targets. She was concerned about health projects and why municipalities were not coming on board, although they had reported working well with the municipalities.

On title deeds, she said she was concerned about the statement that people did not need to own houses, and that there was room for renting. There should not be the notion that people in South Africa did not need to own houses. That was completely distasteful. How long had old townships remained unproclaimed, and why? She added that she had not seen anything in Mpumalanga's presentation on eradicating asbestos.  

Ms Zithe responded that the comment on rental was perhaps misunderstood, but grants allowed them to offer the communities different options, and TRUs catered for people who wanted to rent while working in Cape Town.

The Department did continuous consumer education for those wanting to build their own houses, and those renting. All projects were still under construction. While they worked towards project completion, they were dealing with stakeholder management.

Dr Khumalo said that contractors in Limpopo contributed to poor performance, and the province had responded that women were being hired. Was this the response to the problem, or was this in line with 40% prioritised by the Minister? Were the 161 blocked projects in Limpopo the total number, or was this what the province was aware of? Were all the projects committed to realistic, and the funds sufficient to cover the blocked projects? She said the National Department should reflect on the presentation in relation to how the Minister had prioritised.

How long could the victims of disaster stay in TRUs? She said title deeds were a concern and 111 had been given out in the year against a target of 984. How had these challenges been addressed, given that the previous year would be added on now? How would this target be achieved in relation to previous challenges, and how had previous challenges been dealt with? How many asbestos roofs have been replaced in the province?

Mr Rodgers Makamu, MEC: Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, Limpopo, said the informal settlement in Lephalale had been established only during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was when the TRUs had been put in place, but a plan had already been in place to conduct a feasibility study. Some people staying in the informal settlements did not qualify for RDP houses, as some had houses, but wanted to be closer to work or the town. The Department would build a Community Residential Unit (CRU) which would allow rental, and was working with the municipality to resolve this challenge. A contractor would be appointed who could complete this project.

The Department had not transferred money to pay the service provider, as the HDA had already paid the service provider for something that had not been completed. The current Minister was aware of this. The funds which the Department had budgeted for this payment had not been made. The money paid by the HDA to the service provider was being recovered by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). He assured the Committee that the province did not lose funds during this project.

On mud houses, the issues occurred when it rained and the bricks used were not of good quality, which meant the structures could easily collapse. The main mud house had to be eradicated, but sometimes people used it as a kitchen, so the focus was on the rooms where people slept and which were used as the main house. That was what was targeted or prioritised.

The majority of people had money to build their own houses, but wanted services such as water and sewage systems. For example, houses in Giyani were beautiful, and double-storey houses were built, but the people did not want RDP houses. He said it was painful to build an RDP house, and once people got better jobs, they would demolish it. If it was a site, people would continue to build structures there.

Regarding the water project pipeline to Giyani, reticulation had been done in villages so that water reached the residents. Water treatment was also done. At some point, they lost money due to a lack of bulk projects. The municipalities were water service authorities who needed to approve the Department's designs but were also responsible for bulk projects. Without these and a water source, the Department could not service sites, as they would not have water. Many contractors had now been appointed for bulk designs and construction. The Department required support, and were trying their best to have complete projects.

Mr Tseki asked about the projections in both provinces, as they were halfway through the year, and the provinces were saying they would be completed by the end of year, but would the non-performing provinces get the funds for this?

Ms Sihlwayi referred to the list of blocked projects on the Housing Subsidy System (HSS) and on the number of projects during 2022, which had progressed to 347 and 180, and wanted to know what was happening there. Was this 180 per project, and not per area? On pages 5 to 7, regarding jobs created and set asides, she said this was a grey area. She said a woman would be appointed as a "dagga boy" to push a wheelbarrow, which was understood to be job creation. The Committee wanted to see value and investment in those being given jobs. She knew that the expanded public works programme (EPWP) was a job opportunity, but there was a diversity in the character of jobs created in construction. She asked about empowerment targets and whether women were being empowered. She said the title deeds situation should be taken seriously, as it was a slow process. Many people thought it was a quick win, as houses had been built already, but new houses were built while the title deeds were not prioritised. Beneficiary lists should be avoided.

Dr Malahlela said on the set asides, that the 40% covered all female, youth, people with disability, and military veterans, and the province was struggling with people with disability and military veterans. Even when a disaggregation was done in terms of performance, the challenge was not having companies owned by persons with disabilities registered with the province, to contract with. The reason for the poor contractor performance and set asides was that most of the best-performing contractors were women, so having a set aside and transformation agenda had helped them. This was more a national transformation agenda issue, as opposed to a set aside. This has contributed positively to the Department's performance.

On slide 5 and blocked housing projects, looking at Capricorn District, five projects had been targeted which provided 70 units, and this was completed at the end of the financial year.

The Chairperson said there was a critical issue the Department of Human Settlements had to address relating to the communities placed on the outskirts of cities due to apartheid, and inclusive communities needed to be built. Was apartheid planning being perpetuated, and what could be done to address this? Building inclusive communities should be interrogated by the Ministers and Members of Executive Council (MINMEC). She said one of the MECs had mentioned that when people get older, they return to their home provinces from Gauteng. How could they balance this and the presence of the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA) and the Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) to deal with illegal migration? How should they deal with the eradication of mud houses?

She said the provinces were doing well on blocked projects in Mpumalanga, and asked whether this involved only two blocked projects. Had the 950 houses completed in Limpopo been handed over to beneficiaries with title deeds, as these people had lost hope? She asked about capacity, referring to Mr Tseki’s previous question on whether there would be issues with internal capacity. On job creation, what was the 40% being referred to? She asked the province to elaborate on this, as 40% should refer to women.

On invasions in Mpumalanga, were there hijacked buildings, or was there a lack of maintenance in buildings in the inner cities? The Committee had met with the SIU and some people had been arrested, but the SIU had highlighted Parliament's role and the need for consequence management. One of the things the Committee had engaged the SIU on was whether it could recommend systematic changes to challenges in dealing with the project, and how it would communicate this with departments.

She said the inflated prices on Jojo tanks were actually embarrassing. How could they work with the HDA to assemble proper land for human settlements and get serviced stands? She said double-storey houses were built in Skhukune, but there was no water and infrastructure. If these houses got services, this could add value, but they were situated where there was no water.

She said Mpumalanga had raised a critical issue on removing asbestos, and asked what the latest information was on the matter and whether the Department of Environmental Affairs was involved, as it was not a housing matter. The DEA had to budget for this. Was there any extra budget to deal with this so the issue did not recur? She pointed out that not all contractors could deal with this, as they needed environmental skills and knowledge to remove the asbestos. She asked whether this had been taken into consideration.

The Chairperson asked if Members had any follow-up questions.

Ms Makesini asked how many units had been upgraded, as one project had been referred to.

Mr Tseki said people complained that the government did not consult people when they built on land. One should accept that women contractors were better, and allow women to lead. He asked what the SIU had said about irregularities, and for a comment on a house that had been incorrectly built in water.

Dr Khumalo asked how long people were kept in TRUs. She asked about the incidents of land invasions. She would like to see beautifully built mud houses being built in South Africa, as she could only see those built in Kenya on Google.

Ms Sihlwayi said reticulation had preceded bulk infrastructure. She asked what happened to the process of using geotech before building, as this told one what was underground. Was this process not fashionable in municipalities? Where housing was allocated by chiefs, of which the province was not aware, what was the relationship with the chiefs? One had to remember that they were traditionalists and they believed they controlled land. Regarding persons living with disabilities and military veterans, she said they excluded the other part of our community from the transformation agenda. There was a need to be creative about this, and the state must make this happen. The Department of Military Veterans should be engaged.

The Chairperson said women contractors were created by government. On land invasions, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) had advocated for the amendment of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction (PIE) Act. She asked for both provinces' views on this. How did traditional leaders cooperate when giving people land? The Department of Agriculture would previously have been involved in this. Geotech assessments and how to build houses that respond to climate change were important.

On the accreditation of municipalities and the capacity of the provinces, this was a delegated responsibility. The conditional grant states that capacity must be built in the provinces, but some provinces did not have engineers or quantity surveyors, but houses had to be built. As they finalise the Bill, if they did not have capacity and an engineer to tell them it was the correct thing, that was where they would falter as government. She highlighted that even monitoring of products was outsourced, and this should not be the case.

MEC Mashilo said that sometimes projects were stopped when there was new leadership, as the leadership sometimes wanted the project to start afresh. The challenge of land invasions was that, most times, this was about how municipalities responded, as some did not have bylaws. For this reason, more serviced sites were promoted. In the absence of others, traditional leaders allocate land, and municipalities were encouraged to have a memorandum of agreement, and not a memorandum of understanding. Sometimes money was paid, and this was unaccounted for. On military veterans, he agreed that there were delays and that the majority of progressive contractors were women. Beneficiary lists should be put before the Council.

MEC Makamu said township establishments were done, and there were phases to this. The final phase is related to servicing the physical infrastructure.

Dr Malahlela said there was a stalemate with the National House of Traditional Leaders. The traditional leaders had been given an opportunity to make inputs on the Bill.

The National Department of Human Settlements referred to the MINMEC priorities, the blocked projects and mud houses, and said it was aware that with the grants it received, this should not perpetuate the apartheid spatial legacy. There was an emphasis on utilising programmes and grants to balance the rural urban dichotomy, and the Department was looking at some policies such as alternative building technologies and climate change, which had a worse effect on rural communities. The way they directed their grants should respond to climate change, and this did not mean moving people from where they had already settled. The Department could not force people to live with the perpetual legacy of apartheid. The spatial development framework recently approved by Cabinet would assist with this.

Accreditation was initially supported, as metros wanted to do the work the national Department was struggling with in terms of bulk infrastructure and land acquisition. Capacity had dwindled in metros and secondary towns.

The Department was doing quarterly reviews with provinces on military veterans to flesh out and address the challenges.

The Chairperson thanked all present in the meeting and congratulated the two provinces on their improved presentations, as they were structured so that Members could interact with them.

The meeting was adjourned.

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