Department of Housing: Strategic Plan 2007/08

Committee: NCOP Public Services

Date of Meeting: 07 Mar 2007

Summary

No summary available for this committee meeting.


Minutes

PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE MEETING ON…

PUBLIC SERVICES SELECT COMMITTEE
7 March 2007
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING: STRATEGIC PLAN 2007/08

Chairperson: Mr R J Tau (ANC, Northern Cape)

Relevant Documents:
Chief Directorate of Communications Presentation
Policy, Research, Policy and Program Monitoring and Information Management Presentation
Inter-governmental relations, Capacity Building and Program Implementation Support Presentation
Housing Development Finance Presentation
Presentation on Trends and Challenges
Presentation by Chief Directorate on Internal Audit, Risk Management and Special Investigations

Audio recording of the meeting

SUMMARY
The Department of Housing delivered five presentations relating to various programmes, informing the committee on the progress made and their strategic plan for 2007/08.  Issues discussed included research and information management and the role of the various sub-sections in planning for 2010. Four key areas were mentioned including; intergovernmental municipal accreditation, sector liaison and stakeholder support, social and rental housing and PHP (people housing process), and service delivery implementation support. The role and plans of financial and grant management, housing institutions, housing equity and development finance, integrated housing and human settlement development grants, and interests and redemptions on private loans were discussed. The essential role of communication to facilitate the information flow between the department and stakeholders was promoted. Finally, the plans and achievements of the directorate of internal audits, risk management, and special investigations were presented.

Some salient issues raised in the discussion included ineffective monitoring processes for the building of quality housing in the Eastern Cape, inadequate capacity and under-spending, and the inadequacy of communication at the grass roots level.

MINUTES
Policy, research, policy and programme monitoring and information management
Mr M Maphisa, the coordinator of Program 2 considered the overall purpose of program 2 which was the
development of sound national human settlement and housing policies supported by responsive research, monitoring and assessment of implementation, performance and impact of policies and programs and to provide integrated business information.

The respective sub-programs included four main areas. First
policy development research to develop new and review and maintain existing human settlement and housing policy and plan the implementation; while adopting a strategic plan to manage the development and plan the implementation of national housing and human settlement policy. Secondly, policy and program monitoring to coordinate the monitoring, evaluating  and reporting on the National Housing Policies and Programs, the adherence to project and program planning, the implementation and delivery processes and the assessment of the impact of Government’s programs in all provinces. Thirdly, industry and market analysis and best practice to manages, initiates, undertakes and coordinates research on human settlements and housing.

Finally sector management information services to provide integrated business information systems, maintain national housing databases and information systems, and provide access to business and analysed information. Under each sub-program an in-depth progress analysis was provided, as well as a list of the planned activities for 2007, 2008 and the rest of the MTEF until 2010. A breakdown of staffing requirements was also provided for the national branch indicating a total of 105 members, 24 under policy development, 13 under research, 28 under Policy and Program Monitoring (PPM), and 40 under sector management and information. A brief budget outline was provided showing a steady increase from 89 million at between 2007 and 2008 till a projected 171 million at the end of 2010.

IGR, capacity building and programme implementation support (Programme 3)
Mr W Jiyana outlined four key areas of responsibility. Firstly, intergovernmental municipal accreditation
to manage critical and strategic governance, IGR & Inter-sphere processes and programmes relating to delivery of human settlements where measurable goals include, the facilitation and implementation of municipal accreditation, coordinated interdepartmental liaison and co-operation, coordinated intergovernmental (inter-sphere), and cooperation towards delivery of human settlements.

Secondly, sector liaison and stakeholder support to manage sector stakeholder liaison support, priority focus groups & collaborative project, where measurable goals include; management and liaison with sector stakeholders, provision of management and implementation support to sector focus groups, and management and implementation facilitation of sector collaborative projects.

Thirdly, social and rental housing and PHP to manage the implementation of the affordable and the community rental housing programmes and the PHP housing delivery mechanism and to regulate and have oversight over the rental housing and PHP sectors, where measurable objectives include; delivery of social / rental housing implementation support, implementation of regulatory & tenant support in the rental housing sector, provision of implementation support to community driven housing initiatives (PHP/ Cooperatives, etc).

Finally, service delivery implementation support, which was broken down into two clusters, where cluster A included the provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, and Western Cape, while cluster B included the provinces of Free State, North West, Eastern Cape and KZN. The purpose of this responsibility, the presentation indicated, was to provide delivery support and capacity building for housing & human settlements programs and special projects in provinces. Measurable outcomes include, increase the delivery of housing in sustainable housing settlements by effectively providing provincial and systems with knowledge, skills and guidance. In these areas direct and hands-on delivery and implementation support & facilitation was emphasized. Under each of these responsibilities the achievements for 2007 and 2008 where provided as well as an overview of planned objectives until 2010 closely concurrent to the documents handed out (see documents).

The presentation also provided examples of pilot and special projects. These included; in Kwazulu Natal: MT Moriah, Free State: Grassland (Mangaung), North West: Klerksdorp, Rustenburg, Khutsong, Eastern Cape: Zanemvula, Duncan Village, Mbashe (Elliotdale), Western Cape: N2 Gateway Project, Northern Cape: Ouboks; Soul City, Gauteng: still to be announced, Limpopo: Tubatse; Lepelle; Makhado; Phalaborwa and Polokwane, and finally Mpumalanga: still to be announced.

Housing development finance (Programme 4)
Mr N L Mbengo informed the committee that the purpose of this program was to provide funds to national housing and human settlement development programs in terms of the Housing Act (1997); provide financial; grant and housing institutions management; and manage all matters provided for by the Home Loan and Mortgage Disclosure Act (2000).

The structure of housing development financing was divided into five sectors. Firstly, financial and grant management whose purpose was to provide overall financial and grant management services. Secondly, housing institutions, housing equity and development finance, which monitors the performance of housing institutions reporting to the Minister of Housing, monitor trends, impacts and patterns in housing and investment finance against government’s development programs, and aims to eradicate discrimination and unfair practices to do with access to housing finance, by implementing and administering the Home Loan and Mortgage Disclosure Act (2000) and regulations through the Office of disclosure.

Thirdly, integrated housing and human settlement development grant, which reflects the conditional grant allocations that are transferred to provinces. The fourth area concerned the contributions made to housing institutions. Finally, interests and redemptions on private loans, which administered the interest payments on liabilities held by the National Housing Development Board and the South African Housing Trust, all of which have been transferred to National Treasury.

As with the above presentations, Mr Mbengo’s presentation included the achievements for 2006 and 2007 while considering the projections for the years leading to 2010. In addition the presentation provided estimated budget usage for the subprograms totaling approximately 8.5 billion in 2007 and 2008 increasing to 11.9 billion at the end of 2010. A provincial allocation table was also provided (refer to documents).   

Communication Services (Programme 1)
Mr M Maclean stated that the purpose of the communications service was to facilitate and promote the free flow of information between the department and its stakeholders through effective communication and improved interaction with beneficiaries, and provincial housing structures. Their objective was to design new catching mechanisms of re-engaging society on housing, making it central in the political debate, develop and sustain a positive image of ministry and the department, and integrate marketing communications campaigns to support programs, housing institutions and other stakeholders.

The planned activities included managing the communications environment, developing and implementing an integrated communications public relations program to bring housing into the political agenda, produce information, education and communication materials, inform beneficiaries of their right and obligations and publicize department of housing policies, programs and services, and finally develop an internal communications program. Some achievements thus far were outlined. Finally his presentation considered some challenges for 2007 and 2008, which included, successfully making housing “a buzz word” in society, capacity and infrastructure in some provinces and municipalities, and communication dependent on delivery of programs.

Chief Directorate: Internal Audit, Risk Management and Special Investigations
Adv. S Damane stated that the directorate of internal audits specific functions was concerned with developing and managing the implementation of internal audit strategies, policies and plans. The second component of risk management was shown to entail the management and development of implementation and monitoring of the departmental risk management policies and plans. Finally the special investigations component concerned the development and management of the implementation of the special investigation strategies, policies and plans.

Her presentation also looked at the achievements for 2006 and 2007. The plan for internal audit was to provide independent assurance on the system of internal controls, risk management and corporate governance processes, monitor implementation of recommended actions, and render services and support to the audit committee. Risk management intended to develop and implement the departmental risk management policy based on the national policy framework, monitor the implementation of the departmental risk management policy plan, facilitate the risk identification and assessment process to be conducted at least once a year and finally to develop and maintain the departmental risk register.

Finally the aims of special investigations were discussed. This included managing and conducting housing investigations, developing fraud prevention strategies and plans, to develop and finalise the anti-corruption database, promote anti-corruption, implement 24 month amnesty project, finalize and implement whistle-blowing policy, expedite finality on the issue of Single Presidential Proclamation, intensify coordination investigations of corruption, encourage provincial departments to set up internal investigation capacities, and ensure housing departments regain public confidence and credibility through intensification and finalisation of investigations.
   
Discussion
Rev P Moatshe (ANC, North West) was concerned that fraud and corruption was still in the process of being addressed and that fraud prevention in the provinces was still not in place. Who was responsible for building in the low laying Eastern Cape region with no water control mechanism? There was a lack of adequate monitoring of contracted engineers and builders.

Mr G R Krumbock (DA, Kwazulu Natal) asked if the vacancies for NHBRC were filled. When would the process of grading of builders and contractors policy come into effect? There had been no results for five years.

Ms B N Dlulani (ANC, Eastern Cape) was also concerned with the monitoring process. How was this being handled with regard to quality housing? She was concerned with under-spending. What is going to be done to ensure that decent housing is provided in a timely and lasting manner?

The Chairperson expressed concern over the shortage of capacity in the department hindering the timely and efficient use of resources. Was this due to the capacity creating mechanism lacking capacity themselves? Regarding the provinces and program 4, he argued that capacity again becomes a problem. What was happening at a national level that hampers this process?  How many provinces have successfully unblocked their projects? Why has Gauteng and Mpumalanga not announced their projects. With regard to whistle blowing, the chairperson wondered why it was still being developed and asked for clarity on the process. Finally regarding the accreditation of municipalities, he asked why there was separation of data for allocation of housing nationally, provincially, and in municipalities.

Mr I Kotsoane, the Director General of the Department of Housing, with regard to capacity building admitted to the limitations from the national department, and pointed out that the problem emanated from the lack of expenditure. He also argued that the problem is related to concurrence of functions. Mr. Kotsoane said that the department was constantly considering what could be done to play a more proactive role in the municipalities and provinces. He alluded to Mr. Jiyana’s presentation regarding the division of the country into two components dealing with specific provinces, and maintained that two chief directors would be more focused on providing hands on support including the extent of helping to formulate business plans to insure adequate planning and management.

Mr. Kotsoane pointed out that the increased investment in housing has meant a loss of skills in the housing sector and that provinces must then be able to buy skills to build capacity, which he argued the chief directorates involved in the two partitions would be able to deal with this. He claimed that this approach was new and more dynamic. There was a need to deal with the relaxed culture of the public sector relative to the efficiency of the private sector.

Regarding Gauteng and Mpumalanga he said that information on pilot projects was not updated but there are current projects being developed. Concerning whistle blowing, he argued that there was a policy but it needed to be expanded and popularized. Regarding the Eastern Cape and the low laying areas, Mr. Kotsoane argued that water managements needs to be addressed in creative ways, however with regard to engineering flaws legal action should be taken to address incompetent engineering contracting in order to prevent the poor quality housing development.

Considering the blocked projects, he maintained that additional funds were trying to be secured, but it had not been achieved, however this will be continued to be pursued while some of the provinces were engaged in unblocking. On NHBRC vacancies, Mr. Kotsoane said that much of the vacancies have been filled while interviews on advisory positions are still being conducted. Finally he said that a written submission addressing Mr. Krumbock’s second question would be provided.

Rev. Moatshe asked, bearing in mind the three spheres of government, who would be taken to court or pursue legal action in the event of poor engineering and building contracting. He re-emphasized the need for adequate monitoring of these processes.  

Mr Van Rooyen (ANC, Free State) asked how the public service on housing was to follow Batho Pele principles emphasised in the report by the public service commission. Secondly, regarding the finalisation of farm workers housing, he asked when in the next twelve months plans would be finalised. On the program 2, he pointed out that the deliverables are too wide and some of these would take too long to come to fruition.

Ms Dlulani asked that a presentation be made regarding the draft on farm worker housing assistance. How much progress is being made on housing assistance for children who have lost their guardians?

The Chairperson, regarding strategic intervention, asked to what extent the department works in collaboration with other departments. He expressed concern for the ineffective communication strategies in the department. How could these communications be improved to make access to information available at grass roots level?

Mr Kotsoane, concerning ineffective communication, acknowledged that the communication strategy has not been effective, but this was largely due to the budget constraints, which are being addressed. Regarding interdepartmental co-operation, he maintained that the department does relate to other departments nationally and provincially but the challenge has always been the translation of the relationship into an effective plan to address the challenges of human settlement. He pointed out that program 3 addresses this via the plan for relations protocol to make relations more effective and congruent. Regarding the moratorium on land, he argued that the short term sale of land by the municipalities failed to consider long term goals compromising long term resettlement strategies. Therefore through cooperative processes municipalities are being limited with their sale of land. He claimed that 70% of municipalities have adopted restricting policies; however, some have expressed concerns around its impact on revenues and the limitations of providing land for development.

Mr Maphisa, concerning integrity of data between the three spheres of government, maintained that a process of integration is being pursued to unify national, provincial, and municipality data. On Batho Pele principles and public service, he argued that on the 5 July all departments attended workshops to develop adherents to non-financial monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and the details of these workshops address the public service requirements. The department was part of the system and was reporting to treasury on these principles. Regarding farm worker housing assistance programs, documents will be circulated regarding this and specifically the draft to the indaba related to this. Finally regarding monitoring and evaluation, he argued that there is a drive towards accountability via an occupancy audit that may be a mechanism for monitoring.

Mr Maclean, regarding communication, said that the department has approved a directorate which will be starting soon which will develop and conduct an integrated communications across departments and the spheres. This will provide more effective communication.

The Chairperson pointed out that one question was not answered that related to which municipalities have been accredited and where they are situated. He was, however, confident that this could be made available and requested that it be provided to the committee.

The meeting was adjourned.


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