Ga-Rankuwa Petition; Third Quarter Committee Report; with Deputy Minister

Human Settlements

13 March 2024
Chairperson: Ms M R Semenya (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary


The Portfolio Committee convened a virtual meeting with the national Department of Human Settlements, the North West and Gauteng Departments of Human Settlements, the North West Housing Corporation (NWHC) and the City of Tshwane (CoT), to be briefed on the progress of the case involving four Garankuwa/Mabopane (MAWIGA) petitioners.

In 2018, the Public Protector published a report on an investigation into allegations of maladministration by the NWHC and the COT regarding improprieties in the sale and transfer of properties situated within the boundaries of the City of Tshwane by the Corporation. It had been discovered that three of the four petitioners’ properties, located in Mabopane and Ga-Rankuwa, had been illegally sold and transferred by officials in the COT and NWHC officials. The fourth petitioner already owned property in Ga-Rankuwa but had not been issued a title deed. The Committee then decided to assist the petitioners on humanitarian grounds and took up the matter.

The MAWIGA petitioners, whose houses had been illegally sold, expressed dissatisfaction with the Department's provisions for several reasons, such as the size of the properties allocated, and the level of redress arising from the fraudulent activity by municipal and provincial officials. The Committee set deadlines for the resolution of these matters.

In a previous meeting, the petitioners had accepted the offers to land in the presence of the Committee. It was then agreed that the City of Tshwane (CoT), the national Department, and the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements, would build houses on the 50 m² allocated. Two petitioners later indicated they would accept this offer, while one other rejected it. The fourth petitioner had still not received a title deed to his property. The CoT had said that they would fast-track the title deed process, and had then advised that they were unable to finish this process as the land in question belonged to a private entity.

For these reasons, the Committee was compelled to call this meeting. The Committee had understood that the land in Ga-Rankuwa belonged to the NWHC. It also wanted clarity on why the CoT had changed their minds about building the promised houses. The CoT had since sought legal advice on whether they could pay a monetary contribution instead. For the purpose of this meeting, all stakeholders were requested to provide signed written presentations.

The Members agreed that the various entities involved urgently needed collaboration to reach a solution. They also said that consequence management should be strongly pursued, and that the Hawks would need to be engaged to bring those involved in fraudulent activity to book.

Meeting report

Chairperson's introductory remarks

The Chairperson informed the meeting that the Chairs of Chairs had convened a meeting where a revised programme for the Committee had been adopted.

Initially, the Committee wanted to host the National Minister of Human Settlements, the Gauteng Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Human Settlements, as well as the Mayor of Tshwane, on 22 March to engage on the Ga-Rankuwa Petitioners. This was not to be, as the date was an extra leave day for Members. It was then decided that 19 March 2024 would serve as the date for this interaction.

In the meantime, the Office of the Auditor-General (AG) requested a slot to brief Members on material irregularities related to the Department of Human Settlements (DHS).

This meeting also looked at prioritising issues that needed to be finalised by the Sixth Parliament, such as legislation that was already at an advanced stage.

The Chairperson called on Members for their views.

Ms M Makesini (EFF) recalled that a scheduled oversight visit to Kwazulu-Natal had been cancelled due to the voter registration drive. She wanted to establish whether the visit would still proceed.

The Chairperson replied that there was no space in the Committee's programme as the Sixth Parliament's term was coming to an end. The Committee would have loved to go, but did not have enough time for the visit.

The agenda was duly adopted.

Ga-Rankuwa petitioners issue

Introductory remarks on background

The Chairperson said that the petitioners -- Mr Ernest Kgasoe (2281 Unit 8, Ga-Rankuwa), Mr Michael Mere (2827 Zone 2, Ga-Rankuwa), Ms Bongo Sepeng (992 Zone 7, Ga-Rankuwa) and Ms Marie Ledingoane (309 Block X, Mabopane) -- had in the presence of the Committee accepted offers to land. It had then been agreed that the City of Tshwane (CoT), the Department, and the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements (GDHS) would build houses on the 50 m² allocated. Two petitioners had later indicated that they would accept this offer. One other had rejected the offer.

The other petitioner was Mr Mere, who had still not received a title deed to his property. The CoT had said that they would fast-track the title deed process, but had then notified that they were unable to finish this process as the land in question belonged to a private entity.

Due to these reasons, the Committee was compelled to call this meeting. It was understood that the land in Ga-Rankuwa belonged to the North West Housing Corporation (NWHC). It also wanted clarity on why the CoT had changed their minds about building the promised houses. The CoT had since sought legal advice on whether they could pay a monetary contribution instead.

For the purpose of this meeting, all stakeholders were requested to provide signed written presentations.

The Chairperson then called on NWHC to present first.

Presentation by NWHC on Ga-Rankuwa petitioners

Mr Sello Mogodiri, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), NWHC, said the Commission had complied with everything that was expected from them. An ex-gratia payment, as well as offers to purchase, had been made to the petitioners.

He said it had been wrong of the CoT to sell properties they had no ownership of. The NWHC had also abandoned any prospects of recouping costs from the CoT.

See attached

Mr Ofentse Madzebatela, Member of the Mayoral Council (MMC) for Human Settlements, City of Tshwane, responded that the CoT still held the view that it had done nothing wrong. It thus intended to take the Public Protector’s (PP's) findings on review whilst at the same time it would continue to cooperate with the Petitions Committee. He was worried about the precedent that was being set with this process.

The Chairperson asked the CoT to present their submission.

Ms Nonto Memela, Group Head: Housing and Human Settlements, CoT, said their submission had been reviewed and approved, but not signed by MMC Madzebatela.

Ms Pam Tshwete, Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, interjected to remind the Chairperson that she, as well as the Director-General of the Department, had still not yet been afforded an opportunity to speak. She also questioned whether Members should be briefed by the CoT, since their submission was unsigned and the matter taken on review. Given these realities, she wanted to know whether it would be wise to discuss the matter.

The Chairperson replied that the court case had no bearing on the Committee's work. The review was a matter between the Public Protector and the CoT. The issue under consideration for the Committee is related to the petitioners only. The Committee required that the CoT should speak to this issue only.

The Committee wanted a follow-up report on whether the title deeds had been provided. Funds were appropriated by the Committee to build houses for the petitioners. The CoT had agreed that they would build, utilising their allocation, to build houses for the petitioners.

The Chairperson then called on the CoT to make their presentation.

Presentation by CoT on Ga-Rankuwa petitioners

Ms Memela said that the CoT held the view that officials within its employ had, in their personal capacity, colluded with NWHC officials, as well as a conveyancer, to fraudulently transfer title deeds to third parties. On this basis, a decision had been taken to take the Public Protector’s findings on review. Various engagements with stakeholders were conducted, and the CoT decided to provide assistance on humanitarian grounds.

Two families had accepted two stands per family in Mabopane and Ga-Rankuwa, respectively. The house plans that had been provided to the petitioners were not accepted. The Department had then requested further plans from the architect. However, this request could not be actioned as a subsidy for this purpose was not provided for.

In the various meetings with stakeholders, such as the Committee, a proposal was made that the Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) should be tapped. The HSDG was a conditional grant that funded the construction of housing units (top structures) once serviced land had been identified and agreed to.

A submission to the GDHS had requested that the Military Veterans housing subsidy quantum be allocated to the petitioners, as their houses bonded and were thus above the normal low-cost subsidy quantum. There was no response to this request.

The CoT was also aware that it shared concurrent legislative competence with both national and provincial entities in housing provision. It was concerned that the overriding of the national housing code policy would set a precedent with far-reaching implications. However, it relied on its concurrent function and approval to allocate requisite housing subsidies to compensate the complainants.

The GDHS had committed to address the conveyancing to register and issue the title deeds to the two petitioners. Documentation had been submitted. This process could take three to six months, and depended on the availability of the various compliance certificates from the service departments.

The CoT was reluctant to present on Mr Mere's case, having had sight of the NWHC report on the matter.

According to the CoT, the land in question was never sold. Mr Mere had said that he required the land to be registered, as he wanted to create economic value from it.

The two Ga-Rankuwa properties were situated between a number of other properties that belonged to Medunsa, the Tshwane University of Technology, and the National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI).

The City had no documentation of these properties, since the conveyancer had been appointed by the NWHC and the GDHS.

The ownership of the properties in question could also not be determined, as the Deeds Register had listed them as “Data not Found". This was a major challenge which had led to the appointed conveyancer not being able to open the township register for Ga-Rankuwa Unit 2. There seemed to be a caveat on the property.

There had been constant engagements with Mr Mere and various follow-up attempts with relevant stakeholders. The CoT had written to the DPWI to donate land to the CoT.

Mr Mere had been given the option of another portion of land, but this had been turned down. His family had been on the land for 60 years and possessed historical court documents, as well as a Permission to Occupy (PtO) document given to his father. He had been requested to share these documentations.

Ms Memela concluded that whilst the City had agreed to provide assistance, the court case would resume. Legal counsel had also advised the CoT that the City's current involvement in the redress was inconsistent with the review request.

See attached

Petitioners' responses

The Chairperson then asked the petitioners to deliver their responses.

Mr Kgasoe, from 2281 Unit 8, Ga-Rankuwa, said that on 4 February, he was brutally attacked by criminals and that his injuries were still on the mend.

He said that the way this matter had dragged on, one could die. He had a big scar on his forehead -- someone had hit him with a gun. He added that they had been left in an environment of enemies.

Even though he had agreed to the 50 m², he was still not winning. He had tried to give the relevant entities the benefit of the doubt because they were forcing them into a situation "to prove a point." They had never seen military veterans' houses -- they had Googled it and seen it on social media.

He said that every time invitations were extended to view these military veterans' houses, he communicated the need for petitioners to be reimbursed for transport and related costs. These requests were turned down by the NWDHS. The petitioners thus had not seen what military veterans' houses actually looked like.

He said he did not understand the package that had been offered. Petitioners had not only lost their houses, but also their furniture. Police cases had also been subsequently opened. The entities had to be clear about what they would be providing. The petitioners wanted houses built to their individual preferences, and not military veterans' houses.

He recalled a meeting with a Mr Thabile from the NWDHS, who had confused him as being a military veteran. This showed the challenges that petitioners grappled with.

He was happy that an introduction to the developer had been slated for 18 March. The handover was to take place on 3 May 4. It was good to have promises in writing -- that was why a request had been made that this information be provided in written form.

He also took issue with the myriad of entities involved in the process. Petitioners had no idea who was responsible for what.

Mr Kgasoe added that he had listened attentively to the NWHC inputs, and agreed with most of what had been said.

The petitioners also had a problem with the ex-gratia payments. These payments had been accepted only to move the process forward, even though they were not aligned to what the Public Protector had prescribed.

The Public Protector's findings had been issued in 2014, yet the ex-gratia payments were made only in 2018. Petitioners had received only R8 000 of the promised R10 000. This meant that the monetary value had depreciated during the intermediate phase.

The manner in which the ex-gratia payment had been derived was also a challenge. The NWHC had said that it was a fraction of the total individual property costs. Mr Kgasoe disputed this, as each petitioner had their own individual needs. The formula should have taken into account things such as emotional distress, etc. There was also no indication of who would be liable for the loss of business and income during these years.

The North West had a lot of land, and that was why it was so easy for them to offer new parcels of land. During a meeting with the MEC of Human Settlements, they offered the petitioners military veteran houses. Once again, the offer had been accepted despite not being aligned with what the Public Protector had ordered.

The Chairperson interjected at this point. She said the Committee's actions should not be conflated with the Public Protector's findings. The Committee had taken up the petitioners' cause on humanitarian grounds. Petitioners had been left homeless, and Parliament wanted to ensure that these families would be properly housed.

Parliament appropriated funds for housing construction and was part of a democratic government that upheld human rights. It had directed the various entities to construct houses for the petitioners.

The issue of ex-gratia payments was outside Parliament's competency.

The Committee had met with the Public Protector, who was very eager to have the issue resolved. The Public Protector was thus fully aware of the Committee's intervention. The Committee also noted that government officials had illegally sold these properties. This situation had obviously led to strained relations between the implicated agencies, but this did not preclude the Committee from trying to provide assistance. The petitioners’ interaction with the Public Protector would continue and was not subject to the Committee's purview.

The Committee had really thought that the military veterans' houses would be best suited to the needs of the petitioners.

Mr Kgasoe replied that the only request he had made was to be taken to actually view a military veteran's house.

Ms Marie Ledingoane from 309 Block X, Mabopane, delivered her comments in Setswana – see video.

CoT's response

The Chairperson then asked the CoT to explain what their actual position was, since they had taken the Public Protector's report on review. She asked whether this meant that Tshwane would not comply with Parliament's processes, since the legal advice had given Tshwane the green light to undermine Parliament. The Committee had never called a meeting to discuss the Public Protector’s report.

Mr Madzebatela said that the Committee would recall that should the judicial review request be successful, the Public Protector’s report would be null and void.

The Chairperson replied that the CoT had not taken Parliament to court.

Mr Madzebatela replied that the CoT had taken only the Public Protector's report on judicial review, and not the Petitions Committee. The ultimate question that remained was how the CoT could participate in a redress process whilst a judicial review was being sought.

The CoT's legal representatives had indicated that the CoT's participation was jeopardising the court case. The CoT had participated on humanitarian grounds, he said.

He said that as legislators, they had to respect the rule of law and the Constitution. They were discovering new things in this meeting. Some things said by the NWHC were new to them. In their presentation, they said they could not make a township proclamation to transfer the middle land because of the different owners. They were now being told that there had been concession of transferring of zero letters.

The CoT thus had to go back and reassess the situation, more so due to the extra demands the petitioners had made. The CoT was not in a position to go against the national housing code policy. This was the reason why the CoT had asked Parliament for instructions on how the code could be deviated from. The CoT had serious reservations about the precedent that was being set.

Ms Memela added that it was difficult to divorce the two processes currently underway -- the humanitarian intervention led by Parliament, versus the judicial review process. The CoT's legal representatives had said that participation on humanitarian grounds was a willing enterprise that comprised the case.

The CoT was committed to assist, despite the current predicament.


Ms Makesini expressed her disappointment that the matter had not yet been resolved. Today's meeting was the first interaction with the CoT, who only seemed to have stories.

The petitioners had also mentioned that they were yet to be shown the military veterans' houses.

Mr M Tseki (ANC) wanted to ascertain how many petitioners had actually accepted the offer.

Ms Memela replied that one had accepted, while one other had rejected the offer.

Mr Tseki replied that promises made were not being fulfilled. There was agreement in all the meetings that were held that redress needed to happen.

There seemed to be a lot of changes that had emanated from the NWDHS, and not from the petitioners.

Mr Mere had a very simple issue that related to having his land declared as being part of the township. At the time that the matter came up for discussion, Ga-Rankuwa had not yet declared it, but they had said that the land must be officialised to be residential. Public Works had since indicated that they owned the land. This should not pose a challenge, as it was a government department. Officials within the various entities had to engage with Public Works to resolve the matter.

The process should also focus on who should shoulder responsibility for the conundrum the petitioners found themselves in.

The source of what had caused the petitioners’ distress was government, as government officials had acted improperly. What message did this send to South Africans when government was unable to help poor, black South Africans?

Ms Makesini noted that it was time for the matter to be brought to finality, and that the CoT had to respect Parliament's resolutions.

Dr N Khumalo (DA) recalled that the Committee had discussed consequence management in detail. Illegal activities had taken place and those responsible had to face the rule of law, even if they were not employed by the CoT any more. It was crucial that the Committee be updated on the consequence management measures that had been imposed. Government had a responsibility to exercise accountability.

She said the Committee needed guidance on the ex-gratia payments. Clearly, the monetary value has changed over the years.

She also wanted to know when the special dispensation approval from the GDHS would be forthcoming. Timeframes were key in this instance. The Committee had an oversight role, and should act accordingly. She wondered how much longer the petitioners had to wait for this matter to be finalised.

She also noted the reported legal opinion by the CoT, and wanted to establish the metro's appetite to assist the petitioners and the impact that a legal review would have on the lives of the petitioners.

She lamented the 18 years that this matter had dragged on, and reminded the meeting that the petitioners’ right to decent shelter had to be upheld.

Mr L Mphithi (DA) agreed with the previous remarks of his fellow Members. The petitioners had legitimate concerns, as they had been disenfranchised.

He questioned the level of engagement and communication between the NWHC and the CoT. The Committee had to be apprised on how the NWHC outcomes were communicated. He also wanted to know to what extent there was commitment from both entities to find legitimate redress for the petitioners.

He further touched on the importance of consequence management within the ambit of the rule of law and the Constitution. It was important that solutions be found to the challenges that the petitioners had experienced.

The Chairperson noted that the employment status of those responsible for the debacle was immaterial. Tshwane should be worried about the illegal sale and transfer of properties under their name. The Committee had recommended that charges be filed. She recalled that the NWHC had claimed ownership of the land, and that they believed in cooperative governance. If this was the case, then charges should have been brought, as instructed by the relevant MEC.

She added that the judicial review had no impact on the Committee's resolution that houses should be constructed for the petitioners, and she questioned the CoT's motives regarding the judicial review.

The GDHS were also asked to provide an update on the special dispensation request.

The Chairperson said that the national Department had appropriated funds. The CoT would only be an implementing agent. She saw no reason why the CoT held the view that this compromised them.

Dr Z Mkhize (ANC) said that he aligned himself with the comments of his colleagues. The absence of a legal opinion attached to the CoT raised serious concerns. He was worried about the “test of the role of Parliament as the ultimate point of accountability for all public representatives,” as this meant that the Executive could run roughshod over the legislative arm of government.

In his view, the actions and attitudes of the various entities amounted to bureaucratic bullying of poor, black and marginalised people. This was intolerable, and another form of abuse that had to be addressed.

He decried the lack of consequence management and communication by the entities involved, which bordered on wilfulness. He questioned the lack of accountability that had directly impacted the human rights of people. Here, he specifically referred to the centrality of the Bill of Rights within the South African Constitution.

On the ex-gratia payments, he said that he would have thought that one of the things that should have been worked out here was that while it was acceptable 16 years ago for this to have been the amount that should have been used to settle, at this point in time, in monetary terms, this should be the amount, and they could then go and build. People could then make a choice and the matter would be closed.

The Committee had a challenge it should confront, as the Sixth Parliament's term was nearly over. This meant that the matter would stand over to the next Parliament. He was not in favour of such a scenario, and called for a solution to be found within the current term.

He said he would have expected the various entities to consult on the legal parameters the CoT had touted. He was adamant that he disagreed with the CoT.

He called on Members to find a mechanism that enabled Parliament to enforce accountability. They should not feel powerless, nor should Parliament take the matter lightly. It was important that justice should reign in this matter, as people had been wronged through local government corruption and inefficiency.

The Chairperson replied that the matter was not closed, and that finality would be brought to the matter. She appealed for cooperation between the various entities. The National Department of Human Settlements should coordinate these activities. The human dignity of the petitioners had to be restored.

She noted the arrogant posture of the entities involved. She pointed out that Mr Kgasoe had gone abroad to represent South Africa, only to return home and find his family destitute.

She further added that it was wrong to conflate the Public Protector's report with the parliamentary process under the Committee's purview. Entities designated as implementing agents could not cherry-pick which projects should be implemented or not.

Adv T Masutha (ANC) said that accountability and the roles of Parliament, as well as that of the Public Protector, were crucial concepts that should be considered. Parliament had to be clear about the issues that had to be separated and how they should be dealt with. The situation was exacerbated by entities which all had different mandates. These mandates had to be unpacked to facilitate progress with clearly defined responsibilities.

Parliament acted as the legislative arm of government, and could never act as an implementing agent. Government entities were thus the primary source of information for Parliament.

He also recalled that he had served in this institution, and the principle that had been accepted was that Committees did not make decisions -- they made recommendations. The respective Houses made decisions in the form of resolutions contained in a report. It was up to the Chief Whip of the majority party in both Houses to indicate which reports should be noted or adopted.

The role of the judicial system was also clear, as well as the implications should a court order be disobeyed.

He further noted that the Constitution was clear about intergovernmental relations; thus, officials had no excuse for executing what should be done.

He also said he did not understand the 18-year review, or what they wanted reviewed. Was this entire process dependent on the Public Protector's remedial action?

He said one could not have a matter pending before court for perpetuity, as there was legal recourse that dealt with frivolous lawsuits. In such matters, the legal principle of "perpetual silence" could be brought into play.

Adv Masutha was of the view that the Committee could not undertake court cases on behalf of the petitioners. Legal aid assistance on civil matters was available in some instances.

Entities' responses

Ms Kgomotso Mahlobo, Head of Department, NWDHS, said that timeframes had been provided to Mr Kgasoe.

The NWDHS had already liaised with a contractor who constructed military veterans' houses in the area. She made a personal commitment that Mr Kgasoe would be taken to view a military veteran's house. These details would also be provided to him in written form.

Mr Mogodiri (NWHC) responded to the question about ex-gratia payments and said that these ex-gratia payments were not compulsory and that “those that had accepted, had accepted."

He explained that the purchase price of the properties had been set at R30 000, and that 33% of this came to R10 000. It would have been irregular if a higher amount was considered.

He further added that they had accepted and signed, which was why there had been no progress. "They could not have their cake and eat it!"

He confirmed that powers of attorney (PoAs) had been sent to the CoT. Copies of these would be provided to the Committee.

He said there was nothing that the NWHC could do anymore. It had written to the CoT to identify those involved in the illegal sales and transfers. The CoT had responded that the petitioners should approach the court to set aside the transactions. It was wrong of the CoT to have authorised these fraudulent transactions. It was up to the CoT to decide whether it followed a human rights-centred approach, as they had been in the wrong to dispose of properties they had no ownership of.

As far as the NWHC was concerned, they had implemented the Public Protector's remedial action to the letter. The NWHC had even gone as far to “embrace Tshwane and make land available.” There was thus nothing substantially outstanding, except the copy of the PoAs.

Ms Memela (COT) informed the Chairperson that the MMC had connectivity issues, and asked to be allowed to make inputs on the MMC's behalf.

She repeated her previous comments that the CoT as an entity was not involved in illegal and corrupt activities. Officials from both Tshwane and the NWHC had colluded with conveyancers. The CoT would not have transferred properties without the cooperation of the NWHC.

On consequence management, she noted that the implicated officials had acted in their personal capacity. One had resigned, and the other two were deceased. The updated report detailed this.

When the initial report was published in 2013, all the relevant information was given to the Hawks for investigation. In recent engagements with the investigating officer, a Capt Mokoena, the CoT had been informed that the matter remained an enquiry. Seemingly, the case lacked evidence, which naturally impacted the course of justice.

The forensic report had also been shared with the petitioners, as the CoT had made it clear that it had no standing to bring a court case. The CoT had then advised the petitioners to seek legal assistance from the Legal Resources Centre (LRC). It was then that the petitioners had decided that the Public Protector should be approached.

In 2018, the Public Protector released her remedial findings, and since then, there have been regular engagements with the petitioners. In 2020, the CoT had then taken the Public Protector's remedial findings on review. It was thus incorrect to assert that this matter had dragged on for 18 years.

On the special dispensation, Ms Memela noted that the request took into account that the families involved already had deeds of sale in their names. In normal circumstances, they would not have qualified for a housing subsidy in terms of the national housing code.

Another aspect that had to be considered was that the properties in question were far above the allocated norm. This prompted the CoT to propose the option of a house the size of a military veteran's house.

She supported the CEO of the NWHC's comments that zero letters were indeed given, and that these properties now fell under the CoT's ownership.

All the investigations on the matter concluded that the land in Ga-Rankuwa Township belonged to the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), Medunsa, and the DPWI. No data had been found on some properties. This was the reason why MMC Madzebatela had been surprised to learn that PoAs had been sent to the CoT. He had no idea that this was the case.

The MMC had also stated in detail that the parliamentary process could not be divorced from the Public Protector's findings.

Ms Memela asked the GDHS to also speak about the special dispensation.

Mr Lovemore Chauke, GDHS, said that each entity had a role to play in bringing about finality to the matter. He explained how the special dispensation process ran, and requested that the national DHS should be asked to play a coordinating role between the respective entities.

The Chairperson replied that unfortunately, the process had been led by the national Department. It seemed that Gauteng was not participating. North West had responded very well -- only Gauteng and Tshwane had not been helpful.

National Department of Human Settlements' responses

Ms Ngaka Dumalisile, Deputy Director-General: Affordable, Rental and Social Housing, NDHS, said she was happy that all the relevant stakeholders were present in the meeting. This provided Members with a good opportunity to see the scope of the challenges. She commented that it was clear that Tshwane had "too many hurdles to jump."

She said that Mr Mere's issue had not yet been clarified. The NWHC had indicated that the PoAs had been signed.

Another issue that should be considered was that DPWI had indicated to the CoT that the land did not belong to them.

The CoT had offered Mr Mere a different portion of land, but this had been turned down. The ball was now in the CoT's court as to what their intentions were on the remaining issues. The only matter that remained was for the CoT to persuade Ms Sepeng to accept the offer of the military veteran-sized house.

On the special dispensation, she concurred with the CoT that it had the potential to have major repercussions. It was up to the CoT to decide whether they had the funds to top up from their side.

Dr Alec Moemi, Director-General, DHS, said that he was just as concerned about the delay, and concurred with the views of the Committee.

He noted the progress that had been made by the NWHC, as well as the issues raised by the CoT. It was important that the process should be expedited, and the Members' discomfort was duly noted.

Although his Department was not directly involved, he recognised the centrality of national government. His Department would remain steady and continue to engage and encourage entities to have the matter settled. The Department would also take any directive from the Committee and implement it.

He noted the comments about the end of the Sixth Parliament's tenure, and said that the civil service would remain tasked with this matter, regardless of that fact.

Deputy Minister Tshwete said that her officials had briefed her on the matter, and that she appreciated the Committee's intervention. She said there was a national housing code in place that barred government from constructing homes bigger than 50 m². She said the petitioners should reconsider the offer.

She said inadequate housing and the lack of access to decent housing exposed families to social ills. Their point of departure should be that the people had been wronged, and that they should correct that.

In her opinion, there was no need for court cases, as all that was required was for the three spheres of government to come together, and that “government officials are responsible for this."

She was glad that Mr Chauke had put forward the idea that all relevant entities should convene under the national Department's banner. This needed to be fast-tracked, and government should monitor the timeframes, which should be adhered to.

She decried the time it had taken to get to this point, and once again urged the petitioners to reconsider the proposals that had been made. She said that the decision was ultimately theirs.

Mr Mere's responses

The Chairperson thanked the Deputy Minister for her input, and asked whether Mr Mere was present in the meeting.

Mr Mere indicated his presence.

The Chairperson asked him whether he was in possession of any documentation.

Mr Mere replied that he was in possession of the necessary documentation.

He recalled that his family had lived on the land for many years. The land had been given to his father in 1969 to start a school. His father had erected 15 structures on the property, which had to be completed within 12 months. At that time, there was no university or anything of that sort in that area.

In 1983, the founder of the TUT had been the one that closed his father's school. Today, TUT had a title deed and he did not have a title deed. They had approached him many times, saying they wanted to buy that place. His father had been given permission to occupy. He wanted Tshwane to know that they had given him another piece of land to occupy. There was no way that his family would ever leave.

He said that his father had erected those buildings when he was removed from Meadowlands in Soweto to Ga-Rankuwa, and that there had been nothing there, so what he was asking for was a title deed so that he could do "proper business.” Mr Mere explained that the lack of a title deed had already led to him losing out on business opportunities. He had had high hopes of formalising his gardening business.

Further Discussion

Deputy Minister Tshwete recalled that she once served as Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, and it seemed as if Mr Mere's issue should be escalated to that Department. She proposed that he follow this course of action, as it was a land claim.

The Chairperson added that it was important to establish who owned the land in question. She wanted the CoT to provide clarity.

Adv Masutha said that he had thought that the CoT had said that they had not found any data about the ownership of Mr Mere's land.

Mr Ivor Moses, Deputy Director: Conveyancing, Policy and Standards Monitoring, CoT, said that the DPWI owned the land. He explained that for the CoT to open the township register, one needed all the different farm portions to be in the name of one institution, and only then would the Registrar of Deeds accept any lodgement for a title deed.

Adv Masutha replied that the way he had understood Mr Moses was that for a township to be declared, ownership of this whole land combined with different owners needed to be sorted out so that transfer could then take place. This process could be completed only if a POA was given to the CoT. The land would then be portioned out to the respective occupiers so that title deeds could be issued when the township was declared. He wanted to establish who should take responsibility for this course of action.

The Chairperson commented that at the last meeting, the CoT had said that the farm was privately owned, and Members were “now hearing a different story, yet Mr Mere had permission to occupy."

She wanted the entities to indicate who owned what.

Adv Masutha proposed that the CoT should lodge summaries of the title deeds with Parliament. This would assist in this matter. He expressed confusion with the comments by Mr Moses, that the DPWI owned the land.

The Chairperson said it was important for the CoT to be clear on what was needed to reclaim the land. The CoT had asked for six months to address Mr Mere's issue, and it was still unresolved.

She asked that Members be briefed on the timeframes that had been put in place.

She added that Mr Mere had said that the land belonged to his family, and that they were not going to vacate it.

Mr Moses replied that the CoT had spoken the “same language" as Members. The CoT required the relevant PoA in the name of the other institutions that had been mentioned, or the land could be donated to the CoT.

He requested that the Chairperson allow his colleague, Ms Petal Thring, Divisional Head: Housing Administration, to flight a map of the area in question. This would give Members an idea of the challenge at hand.

The Chairperson said there was no need for the DPWI to donate the land, as it was already part of government. The North West Housing Corporation had already sent the power of attorney to the CoT.

Ms Thring reiterated Mr Moses' previous comments on the process that had to unfold before Mr Mere could be issued with a title deed.

The Chairperson asked the CEO of the NWHC to whom they had sent the PoA at the CoT.

Mr Mogodiri replied that the PoA was sent to the municipal manager's office.

The Chairperson then asked whether the DHS could follow the same process with the DPWI at national level.

Ms Dumalisile replied that they would.

Adv Masutha said that he was slightly confused because he had understood that Tshwane, when they reported on the ownership, were disputing the ownership of the NWHC. Why then were they requesting a PoA from the NWHC, unless they were talking about two different pieces of land?

The Chairperson added that the presentation mentioned three ownerships: NWHC, Medunsa, and Public Works.

Ms Memela replied that the CoT had met and discussed with the NWHC the properties that fell under the latter in Mabopane and the Winterveld. They had indicated which areas they needed PoAs for, so they had written a letter to them with a list of the township for which they needed PoAs to proceed with the township establishment and proclamation. None of the properties in Ga-Rankuwa belonged to the NWHC. Ga-Rankuwa Extension 2 was located on various numbers of farm portions which were owned by various entities.

Adv Masutha said that the response was not a complete answer, because the Chairperson asked what was needed to give the powers of attorney. They were getting incomplete answers. Should they, as a Committee, contact these entities?

Ms Thring replied that the CoT had written to the DPWI, which had indicated that the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) had requested that the land be transferred to them, as it was earmarked for transfer to the TUT. The CoT then checked with the GDID, which said that no transfers had yet been made and that the DPWI would be consulted. There was supposed to have been a meeting the preceding week that had not taken place. There would be follow-ups, and the township establishment could be completed as soon as the land was transferred into the GDID name.

The CoT was unable to give a timeframe as the issue was in the purview of Public Works and the GDID. She asked that the NDHS assist them with this process as well.

The Chairperson then directed the Director-General of the DHS to engage with his counterparts at the DPWI, and the relevant provinces as well.

Adv Masutha proposed that Committee should convene a meeting with all the relevant stakeholders on this matter. In his view, this would help bring the matter to a close. The Committee had the powers under the Constitution. The issues of process could be dealt with only once this had been addressed.

The Chairperson replied that the NDHS should not be left outside of the process, and that one should be mindful of the time left to the Committee. She would have to engage the Chair of Chairs on the feasibility of extra days to attend to this matter.

Dr Moemi said the Department would convene the meeting with Public Works and the other entities within the next seven days.

Mr Mere noted that he had an affidavit of his father in his possession that said that the land was given by the central government, so it belonged to Public Works. He had a Permission to Occupy, and they made him buy the place. He understood that it was again going to take a long time. Every month, he was losing money -- he could not even take care of his children. His prayer was that they, as government, would help him to operate his business.

The Chairperson said that the Committee was trying to assist, and that it understood Mr Mere's frustration with the drawn-out process.

Ms Sepeng, from 992 Zone 7, Ga-Rankuwa, said that this process had cost the life of her husband, and attributed this to the arrogance displayed by the CoT. She said she was almost 70 years old, and she definitely needed closure for the sake of her health and financial strength.

She was humbled by the comments of Members, and would accept the offer that had been made. She did not want to die with the matter still unresolved.

Ms Sepeng further expressed her disappointment with MMC Madzebatela’s comments, and said that it was indicative of how poor people were treated by the CoT. She was happy that Parliament could see what was happening on the ground. Both she and Ms Ledingoane had lost family members as a result of this process. She requested that everything should be put in writing so that her family could have a record.

She said that in December 2023, she had received a Whatsapp message from Ms Thring, saying that a conveyancer had been appointed. Now, at the beginning of March 2024, Ms Thring sent an SMS that said that the CoT had changed to a different conveyancer and that they needed her identity document (ID). She had always provided her ID, which indicated the attitude of the City of Tshwane “.

The Chairperson thanked Ms Sepeng for accepting the 50 m² offer from the CoT.

The Chairperson noted that it was important for the matter to be brought to finality and that the Committee now expected the various entities to fulfil their responsibilities. The Committee was also looking at the possibility of having extra meetings, and thus expected urgent attention to be given to this matter.

The DHS would coordinate at a national level with the DPWI. She called for synergy between the respective spheres. She again called on CoT to engage with the relevant stakeholders to resolve all outstanding issues.

She added that consequence management should be strongly pursued, and that the Hawks would need to be engaged. There was one former employee that could still be brought to book. It was a matter of consequence that led to the situation at hand, as corruption flourished during demarcation processes. This invariably should be coupled with “abuse of power”.

She thanked everyone for their contributions, and reiterated the need to bring justice to the petitioners.

Committee matters

The Committee considered and adopted the following draft reports and outstanding minutes.

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements on the 2023/24 Third Quarter Financial and Non-Financial Performance of the Department of Human Settlements

The draft third quarterly report was considered and adopted with amendments by Members.

Mr C Malematja (ANC) moved their adoption, and Dr Mkhize seconded.

The report was duly adopted.

Committee minutes dated 14 February were considered and adopted with amendments by Members.

Ms Makesini moved their adoption, and Mr Malematja seconded.

The minutes were duly adopted.

Minutes dated 28 February were not adopted as the meeting link/broadcast had abruptly ended.

The meeting was adjourned.


No related

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: