Hansard: Appropriation Bill : Debate on Vote No 26 – Housing
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 29 Jun 2009
No summary available.
EPC – COMMITTEE ROOM: E249
Tuesday, 30 June 2009 Takes: 353 & 354
TUESDAY, 30 JUNE 2009
PROCEEDINGS OF EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE – COMMITTEE ROOM E249
Members of the Extended Public Committee met in the Committee
Room E249 at 14:03.
House Chairperson Mr M B Skosana, as Chairperson, took the Chair
and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or
Debate on Vote No 26 – Housing:
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Minister, this is your maiden speech. I am sure we will all listen attentively.
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS: Chairperson, did you ever consider Mvelaphanda? I have made a lot of maiden speeches at Mvelaphanda!
Chairperson, hon members, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, comrades and friends, I want to thank you for the opportunity to present our Budget Vote, Vote No 26, and in doing so, to share our programmes and plans.
The Human Settlements Budget Vote presentation is still defined as the Housing Budget Vote in terms of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework. It consists of three parts: first, the concept of human settlements; second, the current housing situation; and third, the consequential challenges of our mandate.
In understanding our approach, we need look no further than the Constitution of our own Republic, where the very first value referred to in the very first line of the first chapter is the value of human dignity. The concept of human settlements, which recognises the centrality of human dignity, may be a new one for many South Africans. Yet it has been part of the global developmental lexicon for many years, having been adopted at the United Nations' Global Habitat Summit in Vancouver, Canada, in 1976.
Again, it gained ground at another United Nations conference, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in our country, in Johannesburg in August 2002. The concept was taken further at the 52nd National Conference of the ANC in Polokwane in 2007, where several resolutions committed the new government to the promotion of human settlements and the building of cohesive, sustainable and caring communities.
Ultimately, in both his state of the nation address and in his own Budget Vote, President Jacob Zuma formalised this concept with the establishment of the new Human Settlements Ministry. In doing so, the President explained, and I quote:
Housing is not just about building houses. It is also about transforming our residential areas and building communities with closer access to work and social amenities, including sports and recreation facilities.
Incidentally, the concept was also referred to by the last Housing Minister – I say "last" because we are dealing with a new Ministry here – Dr Lindiwe Sisulu, in her Breaking New Ground policy, now our policy, outlining the need for a human settlements plan with more appropriate designs.
But then, what is the letter and spirit of this concept? This is actually contained in the Freedom Charter, a historical document adopted 54 years ago by the Congress of the People, long before Vancouver, long before the World Summit and long before Polokwane. [Interjections.] I am sorry if I have said anything against the Congress of the People. [Laughter.] I am speaking for the Congress of the People. That congress demanded, and I quote:
There shall be houses, security and comfort for all.
Clearly mindful of the consequences of apartheid social engineering, the Congress demanded, and I quote again:
… all people should have the right to live where they choose, to be decently housed, and to bring up their families in comfort and security.
Slums shall be demolished and new suburbs built where all shall have transport, roads, lighting, playing fields, crèches, as well as social centres.
In this respect, Chairperson, our task in terms of the government's Medium-Term Strategic Framework is a clear one, and that is to restore humanity and dignity, to address spatial inequalities and to provide comfort and security for all. This we shall achieve by planning and building human settlements in an integrated, co-ordinated and holistic way. These must be places where people can play, where they can stay and where they can pray. They should be green, landscaped communities, pleasant places, where people can live, where people can learn and have leisure.
To achieve all this requires a new approach, a paradigm shift beyond housing. It is about homes. It is not just about a change of name from "Housing" to "Human Settlements"; it is about a change of mindset, taking us from a new concept to concrete reality.
Let us deal with the current situation. Some of the key elements of the situation are the following.
Expenditure on housing service delivery has increased from R4,8 billion in the 2004-05 financial year to R10,9 billion in the last financial year, increasing at an average rate of 23%.
Funds allocated to national pilot projects for this financial year include R400 million for the N2 Gateway project, R120 million for Zanemvula Housing Project and R150 million for disaster relief in KwaZulu-Natal.
Nationally, over 570 housing projects have been approved and a housing grant of R12,4 billion has been allocated for this financial year. This is allocated for expenditure on the construction of 226 000 new housing units across all nine provinces.
In the first two months of this financial year, that is, from 1 April to 31 May 2009, provincial housing departments have already reported delivery of more than 22 000 housing units. This brings the number of established homes delivered by the government since 1994 to a total of 2,3 million units, accommodating approximately 13 million people.
We are obviously also looking beyond numbers and are pleased to report that the homes being built currently are of a larger size and better quality, with more houses of 40m² to 45m² being constructed. It may be small in the view of many people here, but what it means for ordinary people outside is something quite apart.
Gradually, new housing projects are also beginning to take the shape and form of the quality of human settlements which enable people to live a better quality life.
Going forward, additional funds are being allocated to provide for large-scale upgrades of informal settlements and the alignment of the national housing grant with inflationary price increases. Although the housing grant allocation has been increased over the 2009 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period, we remind you once again, colleagues, that previous studies by the department concluded that continuing with the current trend in the housing budgets would lead to a funding shortfall of R102 billion by 2012, which could increase to R253 billion by 2016. This is of great concern.
Furthermore, we remain concerned about houses that are reportedly standing empty, especially in the light of the huge demands for housing of almost 2,1 million units. We have taken cognisance of the need for housing in urban pressure points around the country and are in the process of responding to this with alternative tenure options, including affordable rental housing stock. We have also strengthened our resolve to provide housing assistance to people living in shacks, who constitute the bulk of the housing backlog. Significant strides have been made towards identifying those informal settlements that can be upgraded in situ with essential services, and work in this regard is progressing satisfactorily, as long as we successfully arrest the spread of informal settlements. We have mapped all these settlements countrywide, and this area will be receiving serious ongoing attention on our part.
The rural housing programme remains a key housing intervention, and new initiatives are in the pipeline to accelerate the development of quality rural human settlements.
Let me now turn to the question of corruption. This remains a major challenge across the housing delivery environment countrywide. To ensure we identify and act against criminals, we have strengthened our partnership with the Special Investigations Unit, the SIU, and taken stern action against offenders. To date, a total of 772 public servants have been charged, of whom 554 have been convicted. [Applause.] More than 1 600 acknowledgments of debt have been signed in respect of nonqualifying government employees, with a total value of R19,8 million, and millions have already been collected by the SIU from nonqualifying illegal beneficiaries. [Applause.]
The department has signed a further service level agreement with the unit, mandating them to investigate fraud, as well as corruption and maladministration in low-income housing contracts. This is the focus for the current financial year and will enable the department to understand the type of abuse giving rise to blocked projects and allow us to improve our systems and processes while getting rid of corrupt officials and contractors.
Much of this anticorruption drive, we must add, was spearheaded by the last Minister of Housing, and we commend her, as well as Mr Willie Hofmeyr's team in the Special Investigations Unit, for their endeavours to clean up the system. On our part, we will remain seized with this endeavour.
Let us now come to the consequential challenges confronting the new Ministry and Department of Human Settlements. From the outset, let me emphasise that ours is an effectively brandnew Ministry with, for the first time, a brandnew Deputy Minister, hon Zou Kota-Fredericks … [Applause.] … nogal a lady – and much of what we are undertaking in terms of human settlements is also brandnew.
In addition, all the provincial MECs are also new to their portfolios. Look at them: they are here in the House. They are nonetheless a dynamic team of men and women, with whom we have already held two highly successful meetings or lekgotla in less than a month, in what we call Minmecs. These meetings have played an invaluable role in shaping our thinking as team Human Settlements, together with the senior management team in the department, led by our director-general, Itumeleng Kotsoane, and our partners in the various housing institutions. They are also here.
We all work together within the framework of the war on poverty that was reiterated in the House by the President in his state of the nation address, and which is already being waged under the leadership of the Deputy President, Mr Kgalema Motlanthe.
Internally, as the Ministry and the department, we are examining the implications of the broader definition of human settlements in terms of our mandates, in terms of our policies, procedures, programmes and capacity. We are already well into our review of the development finance institutions, namely the National Housing Finance Corporation, the Rural Housing Loan Fund and the National Urban Reconstruction and Housing Agency, to enhance their developmental coverage, as well as impact.
We also have several legislative proposals in the pipeline to accelerate the achievement of the ideal of true human settlements for our people and strengthen the legal environment. These include, amongst others: the amendment of the Housing Act, to align it to the ethos and principles that underpin the creation of sustainable human settlements; the Sectional Titles Management Bill, to deal with the management and administration of sectional titles schemes; and the Community Scheme Ombud Service Bill, to establish a dispute resolution mechanism for all community housing schemes. In addition, the Land Use Management Bill is being piloted by the Department of Land Affairs and we'll stay engaged with them. Lastly, at the same time, we will be tabling a new national housing code, which is required in terms of the Housing Act of 1997. The 2009 code was approved by Minmec in February of this year.
We will also explore what other legislative impediments and/or disharmonies exist in the development of human settlements and seek Parliament's support in resolving these. We must once and for all streamline legislation for the development of sustainable and integrated societies.
It must be clear by now that, much as we aim to address the housing needs of all South Africans and build integrated communities, our chief focus is the needs of those South Africans who are on the receiving end of economic negativities, the poor, as well as the poorest of the poor, where the former qualify for government subsidies, whilst the latter, who live in shantytowns, qualify for nothing.
Shantytowns exist throughout South Africa, where townships or "slaapdorpe" were built under apartheid far away from urban areas. This was taken to horrific extremes in many places, such as Ekangala in Mpumalanga, where people depart for the city of Tshwane as early as 04:00, spending hours on the road. Only heaven knows what time such people had to get up to travel to work. Only heaven will know the quality of life that impacts on those families.
We are seized with our central focus: that is to ensure due care for human dignity. This means not only focusing on holistic and integrated planning, but also paying attention to the greening of communities and alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind power and other environmentally friendly technologies.
This government has made tremendous gains in breaking the housing backlog, and the number of new homes built is second only to China. But this must not mean that houses should be of poor standard, or that quality is compromised in the interest of chasing numbers.
Consequently, it is crucial that we work closely with the planning and monitoring Ministries in The Presidency. In our department, we already have our own monitoring unit to assess the quality and quantity of new homes, as well as the National Home Builders Registration Council, and we will be collaborating with The Presidency's monitoring unit to share our findings.
Together, we will obviously do more. This means maximum co-operation and co-ordination with other national departments, particularly those in the social protection and community development cluster, our own cluster, as well as the Departments of Rural Development and Co-operative Governance.
Similarly, we will focus on heightening co-operative governance with provinces and municipalities to harmonise how national, provincial and local government can continue to work together. We will also work closely with the SA Local Government Association, Salga, as well as the SA National Civic Organisation, Sanco. I see their president is here in the House.
Increased interaction with local government will, for example, enable us to redress existing developmental gaps in more established communities where apartheid spatial planners deliberately neglected the need for community services and facilities. It is important that we avoid perpetuating the same apartheid spatial development strategies.
A golden thread running through all our initiatives is consultation, and community involvement in community development. We plan to work closely with communities, contractors, regulators, and other stakeholders. This consultation will continue to focus on issues such as planning and design, and ensuring that all those involved – from the largest contractor to the smallest – are focused on quality and that they follow the appropriate design models.
The corporate sector, from which I have recently come, is a key partner in ensuring we meet our objectives. We will be engaging with captains of industry and high-net-worth individuals towards consolidating new partnerships with the private sector, in recognition of the fact that working together, we can do more. A consultative meeting will be held with business in the coming months to explore ways and means of addressing the dire situation of the unbanked, as well as other people who do not qualify at all for credit. It is well known and appreciated that many corporate players are committed to social investment and responsibility, but our new engagement with them will be about going that extra mile, for the sake of our people. We trust and believe that they will come on board.
In the current situation, the global economic downturn is of fundamental and critical concern, as it negatively impacts on our endeavours now and in the foreseeable future. This situation is worsened by the current economic recession in the South African business cycle.
As one developed nation after another begins to limp out of the hospital of the global economic crisis, the sad truth is that emerging markets and developing countries such as our own are more likely to be left behind in intensive care – without care. This prompted the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to issue a rare joint statement in April of this year, and I quote:
The global economy has deteriorated drastically. Developing countries face especially serious consequences as the financial economic crisis turns into a human and development calamity.
This is coming from two banks. Banks are very careful about pronouncements. This is quite serious. I think the world here was being prepared for worse situations, other than those that are confronting us.
This does not paint a rosy picture. In revenue collection terms, this situation has had a serious effect on our fiscus – which could result in a decrease in budget allocations, with potentially harmful consequences for all departments in the future, including our own. Of course, in our own sector, we are already feeling the impact of the recession on the property market, building materials, and access to housing finance. Many people have lost their jobs, or are in the process of losing their homes and household contents.
As this situation impacts on government's ability to spend its way out of the recession, the consequences will be felt within the very human settlements we are striving to develop. On a broader level, an ongoing global slowdown in spending and investment is likely to impact on government's ability to meet some of the targets set for the 2014 United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
The other global phenomenon we need to factor into our planning is that of urbanisation. UN-Habitat has pointed out that the 21st century is, in fact, the urban century, when, for the first time in history, in the coming 100 years the world's population will live predominantly in cities. We must be prepared for this urban eventuality and plan accordingly. Whilst there may be problems, we should also identify the opportunities.
There must be no equivocation on our part that the 21st century must also be seen as the one in which South Africa must grow from being a developing country to a developed nation. There must be an active realisation that this is what our government is working towards as we develop human settlements.
We must not, of course, overlook the tremendous contribution that the development of human settlements makes, and will continue to make, to the South African economy. Government's efforts to address the housing backlog in the past year have, in addition to providing shelter to millions of South Africans, also provided work for more than 1,3 million people.
Every new home is an economic catalyst. Its construction stimulates the mining sector to explore and mine for more copper, for iron ore, for manganese, for cobalt and other raw materials. Housing construction invigorates the manufacturing sector to produce more pipes, more tiles, bricks, doors, taps, windows, and so on. It activates the retail sector to sell more furniture, appliances, carpets, curtains, white goods, kitchenware, and so on. The economic multiplier effect generated by housing and broader human settlement, should never be underestimated. [Applause.]
Lastly, but most importantly, let me emphasise that we will require the support of hon Members of Parliament, as well as the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements in particular, if we are to succeed in our mission. We have a long road to travel, and our people have great expectations. This Parliament has a vital role to play in ensuring that we meet those expectations.
Ultimately, our task is about social justice and economic democracy. The new homes that we are building within the context of human settlements are equivalent to a social wage. They are assets.
In this context, Parliament has a duty not only to hold this Ministry accountable for the development of human settlements and budgetary expenditure; it also must join us in educating beneficiaries on the importance of taking care and maintaining these assets, as well as the environment within which they are located.
In doing so, we are asking Parliament to echo our message in addressing the pervasive and negative entitlement mentality that exists among some individuals, who only see government as something that gives handouts. It is important for people to assume responsibility as well.
To conclude: as Team Human Settlements, we know the difficulties that confront us. Chairperson, we understand our mission. We foresee the challenges. It is not going to be an easy one, this task, particularly given the current economic constraints. And we know we have to be extremely careful with every cent that we spend. After all, it is public money, contributed by South African taxpayers, both rich and poor. We know and trust that we shall have the support of this House, both for our activities and for the expenditure that is outlined in our Budget Vote.
The commitment that we give in return is that we, as accountable political leadership, with the MECs and our management team, will put our shoulder to the wheel, on the basis of sound principles and good governance to ensure success, knowing quite well that this calls for hard work, for diligence, as well as serious commitment. Chairperson, I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms B N DAMBUZA
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS
Ms B N DAMBUZA: Chairperson, hon Ministers, Deputy Ministers, hon members, distinguished guests, it is of paramount importance to note that post-1994 in South Africa, adequate shelter and services have become a basic right. This places an obligation on government to ensure their attainment by all, beginning with direct assistance to the least disadvantaged through guided programmes.
The ANC-led government further reaffirmed the provision of adequate housing as a fundamental requirement for total wellbeing and quality of life. During the transition period, a new housing policy was adopted, with complementary policies formulated for urban and rural development, as well as the upgrading of informal settlements in order to meet the government's constitutional responsibility. Human settlements have been amongst the key sectors that played a leading role in the government's effort aimed at the alleviation of asset poverty.
Breaking New Ground, a comprehensive plan for the development of sustainable human settlements that was approved in 2004 under the leadership of hon Lindiwe Sisulu, is being implemented through the informal settlement upgrading programme that provides for the phased, area-based development of services and housing. It includes funding for social and economic amenities, as well as for community participation and project management as an integral part, with at least one pilot project in each province. In addition, the plan aims to change spatial settlement patterns by building multicultural communities in a nonracial society.
With the N2 Gateway project in Cape Town, the biggest housing project ever undertaken, government is piloting the integration of communities of different income groups, building human settlements with basic social and economic amenities, and pursuing a new way of intergovernmental relations. The project will improve the living conditions of approximately 103 000 households in informal settlements.
Eradication or upgrading of informal settlements by 2015 is prime, in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The project will see the development of about 30 000 dignified dwellings at sites along a 30km stretch on the N2.
The plan's strategic focus includes ensuring delivery of housing in sustainable and habitable settlements. Here are a couple of the plan's strategic priorities: One, to accelerate housing delivery; two, to improve the quality of housing products and environments to ensure asset creation; and three, to ensure a single efficient formal housing market.
The key focus areas are: One, to use housing as a major job creation tool; two, leveraging growth in the economy; and three, combating crime and promoting social cohesion.
There have been quite a number of policies developed and legislation enacted in the housing sector over the past financial years. These include the Social Housing Act of 2008, to regulate the social housing industry. In this regard, the legislation ensures affordable rural housing for households that cannot access rental housing on the open market.
The Housing Development Agency Act of 2008, in response to the unavailability of suitable and well-located land for housing development, established the Housing Development Agency to acquire state-owned or private land or property for the purpose of housing development. We are happy today to report that the HDA is up and running.
Land parcels are being acquired in strategic areas. The HDA pipeline and flagship projects have been identified and programmes have been costed.
Observations have been made on the following. On programmes one and two, there has been a significant increase in allocations as a result of the new mandate, restructuring and reorganisation. In programme two, there is also significant growth compared to previous allocations. In programme four, provinces are a dominant factor in the whole budget.
Amongst other things, the 2009-10 budget covers the following: An operational capital budget to supplement provincial capacity; the rectification programme of RDP stock from 1994 to 2002; and backyard dwellers - for instance, in Gauteng we have an allocation of 500 units to accommodate backyard dwellers in this financial year. In Cape Town we are using a threshold of 30% of backyard dwellers. We need to have a national policy on this matter, because it seems as if there are no norms and standards that are being implemented in all the provinces. The budget also covers rural housing and farm worker assistance, and housing assistance to households affected by the death of guardians. We welcome the finalisation of the rural housing subsidy voucher scheme.
Substantial progress has been made since 1994 in improving the lives of many poor South Africans and progress has continued over the past five years.
Over the centuries, African communities have used letsema as a way of tackling problems or of lending a hand to each other collectively. We must continue with the efforts aimed at the retention of this progressive tradition, which gives practical expression to the aspirations of human solidarity. Therefore, Parliament fully supports the programmes of the People's Housing Process. Although remarkable progress has been achieved, quite a number of shortcomings have also been identified.
The quality of service in many respects still leaves much to be desired. Coupled with architectural challenges, the quality of service the public receives needs much improvement in many areas and should be informed by a stronger ethos of public service. There is very limited enrolment of housing units by the National Home Builders Registration Council.
Prominent among implementation challenges are institutional problems underlining the incapacity by certain provinces to spend available resources and achieve quality outcomes, resulting in roll-overs and redistribution to other provinces. The national government should take responsibility for ensuring that a mandate is assigned in terms of capacity to implement.
Poverty remains a major challenge, even though there is a slight decline. Unemployment, population growth and rapid increase in the number of households will sustain a high demand for basic services, including housing provision. Therefore, the current intervention by the President, through the state of the nation address and the manifesto, will provide lasting solutions, including programmes that strengthen human capabilities and promote self-sufficiency.
A significant number of young people continue to have difficulty in accessing employment. Participation by young people in the National Youth Service programme will assist in breaking the cycle of poverty and improve their human capabilities, through empowerment in relation to housing development, thereby expanding their chances of entering the labour market.
The commitment demonstrated by the youth at Mlalaze will never be forgotten, where young people, as part of the YouthBuild programme, built houses for elderly people, as well as the role played by Gauteng in the empowerment of the youth.
Siliqhwabela izandla inyathelo elithe lathatyathwa lisebe ngokuqinisa umthetho kuhlangothi lokuhlola nokuvavanya. Kuza kukhe kubekho umtyhi, ukuze bahlabe bekhangele nabantu abasingela phantsi urhulumente.
Omnye umba otshisa ebunzi esinqwenela ukuba khe siwuhlalele phantsi siwuhle amahlongwane, ngulo wamathuba abantu basemzini okufumana izibonelelo ezifana nenkxaso ngezindlu zikarhulumente. Kufuneka sikhe sikhangele ukuba lingakhona na iyeza esingaphuma nalo ukuze ivalwe nya le ngxoxo. Ngelishwa, akukho nalizwe esingaya kufunda iinkqubo zalo ngokubhekisele kulo mba, kuba nguMzantsi Afrika kuphela onoMgaqo-siseko ohlonipha amalungelo abantu bonke ngokulinganayo. Ngoku kufuneka sixhentse sizombelela. [Kwahlekwa.]
Malunga nomba wokunyuka kwamaxabiso ezixhobo zokwakha izindlu zabangathathi ntweni, siphakamisa ukuthi nawo masiwubambe upholele ezandleni, sibone ukuba ngekhe siphume neqhinga lokuwusombulula kusini na.
On the issue of backyard dwellers, we suggest that there should be a standard norm and policy to address this matter.
The committee is also concerned about the blocked projects and the challenge of the long waiting lists. There is also a challenge regarding the credibility of the integrated development plans which informed our strategy. It seems as if they are produced as a matter of compliance, not as a blueprint to articulate a multiyear strategy for development.
Hon Minister Sexwale and Deputy Minister Kota, we congratulate you on your new deployment and wish you well in all future endeavours. It is a reality that progress begins with the belief that what is necessary is possible, and progress is impossible without change. We therefore assure you of the committee's full support. The ANC supports the budget. [Applause.]
Mr A C STEYN
Ms B N DAMBUZA
Mr A C STEYN: Chairperson, hon Minister, Deputy Minister, hon members, hon MECs, and distinguished guests, when I offered my congratulations to the Minister and Deputy Minister during the debate on the President's state of the nation address, they were both at the time absent from the House. I would therefore like, once again, to congratulate Minister Sexwale and Deputy Minister Zoe Kota on their appointments to lead this important Ministry. I would also like to congratulate hon Dambuza on her appointment as chairperson of the committee.
Deputy Minister Kota, as chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Housing over the past 10 years, comes with political knowledge from the side that must hold Cabinet to account and in-depth knowledge about the needs of the communities, whilst Minister Sexwale brings political and, importantly, shrewd business savvy to the department.
The Housing Ministry has never had a Deputy Minister before and it is my sincere wish that the combination of these two individuals will finally lead to the creation of sustainable communities.
In 2004 a critical review of the housing policy was undertaken, and what emerged from the situational analysis offered a lens for self-reflection by the government on issues contributing to housing delivery or, perhaps more correctly, nondelivery. Some of these are access to available opportunities, the product supply value chain, policy review and its implementation. The outcome of this critical review was the launch of the much publicized Breaking New Ground plan, commonly referred to as BNG by the then Minister of Housing, the hon Lindiwe Sisulu.
Perhaps the most prominent flagship project under this new plan was announced in September 2004, the now infamous N2 Gateway Project. In December of that year the hon Nomaindiya Mfeketo, the then mayor of the City of Cape Town said, and I quote:
The first 22 000 homes are scheduled to be completed by July 2005 and the R3 billion N2 Gateway Project aims to transform the informal settlement of about 100 000 people along the N2. It is the gateway to finding a solution to sustainable human settlement in South Africa, and towards a sustainable, productive and inclusive city.
By January 2005 the headlines read: "Demands of N2 Gateway Project impossible." After a technical briefing in that same month, an unnamed engineer said a number of major listed contractors considered the requirements to be crazy, in fact, gobbledegook, he said. Attempting to complete the project in such a short timeframe can only result in reduced efficiency, loss of control and increased costs, and hasty design in construction will result in errors, which we will have to live with, because there will be no time to change or finetune it.
It is currently estimated that this project is three years behind schedule and some R700 million over budget. It was said at the time that the business plan for this project was being generated through close co-operation and collaboration between the three spheres of government, but guided by the inputs gathered from wider stakeholder consultations. This is pretty much what the Minister said earlier here today.
Hon Minister, I raise this because a lot of what you said today about creating sustainable human settlements was encapsulated in the N2 Gateway Project. The same buzzwords that were used then are being used now. However, the N2 Gateway Project has to date unfortunately not delivered the lofty ideals of a sustainable human settlement.
In the strategic plans of the department 2008-11 it is acknowledged that the service delivery environment of the department was not strategically aligned for optimal delivery of the mandate. It further says that there was a lack of common understanding of the shift in focus and emphasis in the interpretation of the department's mandate.
However, it also says that this shift is clearly articulated in Breaking New Ground, but was not fully reflected, nor did it cascade into the department's operational delivery focus, and therefore a departmentwide strategic alignment became necessary. It sounds like a bit of a contradiction, hon Minister, doesn't it?
The question that begs to be answered now is whether this departmentwide strategic alignment resulted in the renaming of the Ministry from "Housing" to "Human Settlements", and what exactly is it going to achieve.
Is it meant to align the service delivery environment for optimal delivery? Do we even know at this stage what impact this name change is going to have on the human resources within the department over the next year or two whilst this shift is cascaded into the department's operational delivery focus? Has the impact on the department's financial resources been quantified? Should we perhaps not be identifying the shortcomings in the implementation of the BNG, address those and then get on with job of delivering sustainable human settlements within a housing Ministry, rather than thinking that if we actually call it the "Ministry of Human Settlements" it will automatically deliver human settlements?
I was privileged to witness the handing over of some houses in KwaZulu-Natal last Friday by invitation of the Minister. I say houses because, even though the hon Minister is at pains to stress that the department is no longer building houses but rather homes, the handover I witnessed cannot be called homes just yet. Yes, the quality certainly appears to have improved, and with additional contributions by the province the houses are slightly bigger. They are plastered and painted and are covered with roof tiles instead of the conventional corrugated roof sheeting.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon member, you have two minutes left. [Interjections.] Order, please.
Mr A C STEYN: It consisted of two rooms, a tiny passage, and a bathroom, which contained an open shower, washbasin and toilet. There was even - at the few that were handed over – an attempt to plant grass and some isolated trees. The sad thing that differentiates these houses from homes is that the KwaZulu-Natal Housing Department, the local municipality and the National Home Builders Registration Council all failed to notice that not a single house in this project had a water tap or sink in the kitchen. The residents would have to use the tap in the washbasin for all other needs. This omission, I believe, is a violation of the minimum norms and standards agreed to.
When this was pointed out to officials they were quick to indicate that it would be rectified later. However, hon Minister, at what cost? It would probably cost twice or even three times what it would have cost to install it in the first place. Do we honestly have the time or the resources to keep on coming back to repair or rectify houses that were already built? Surely, it must be at the expense of additional new homes that could have been constructed.
Perhaps, hon Minister, your senior managers should be treated like apprentices. They sit there – I have counted roughly about 10 of them - and when they do stuff up like this, I would like to suggest that somebody should be fired. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr T BOTHA
Mr A C STEYN
Mr T BOTHA: Hon Chairperson, Minister and Deputy Ministers, hon members, let me also hasten to congratulate the Minister and Deputy Minister on their appointments. I have no doubt that, with the knowledge between the two of them, they will be able to address some of the challenges the department is facing.
It is virtually impossible to redress the housing backlog in this country without effectively dealing with the nonavailability or high cost of appropriately located land. For me, land is critical. It does not make sense that state-owned land should be sold to the private sector, and then bought back, at a cost, to deliver houses to the people. You are simply increasing the price of the housing unit.
Access to affordable land will lead to affordable human settlements. I want to stress this point: Access to affordable land will lead to affordable houses. Furthermore, the speed with which the conversion of land to stands takes place will also help to mitigate the high cost of houses in this country. The delays in the processing of these applications only help to push up the cost of housing because the cost of infrastructure continues to increase, and the cost of maintaining and looking after the land also increases.
There is no possibility of increasing the pace of delivery in this country without addressing the high vacancy rate at both provincial and local government levels. We can theorise and have all the wishes, but at the end of the day you need resources on the ground to handle the challenges. [Interjections.] [Laughter.]
In order to measure the current performance levels of state institutions, it will be important, hon Minister, to conduct an investigation on the time it takes an application for rezoning and environmental impact studies to be processed, from the time the application is handed to the municipality to the time the record of decision is awarded to the applicant.
This is very crucial. I argue that a fast-tracked project takes a minimum of 12 to 18 months before a record of decision is handed over to the applicant. I am saying "fast-tracked", which means that a normal application will take between 18 and 24 months, even 36 months, before land is ready to be converted from land to stands.
Government alone is unable to address the housing backlog in this country. It is absolutely necessary for government to create the necessary conditions to attract the private sector to this market.
In addition to this, the government should encourage housing-related NGOs to assist in the delivery of sustainable human settlements. In many countries NGOs play a big role in the delivery of housing. Here, we say that government alone or together with the private sector will be able to deliver. This may not happen.
The Housing Development Agency is a very important agency that has been created since the Department of Housing was established. But, I'm saying that the HDA alone is also not adequate.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon member, you have two minutes left.
Mr T BOTHA: One of the areas which the department has not dealt with is rural development. Land tenure in rural areas remains one of the stumbling blocks to the delivery of housing in the rural areas. This matter needs to be addressed between the Ministry and, of course, the traditional leaders' institutions.
In conclusion, I want to propose that the Minister looks at how many small and medium-sized contractors have been empowered through the process of housing delivery - both urban and rural - in this country, because I want to submit that, although small contractors have participated, they have not been sustained through these projects. Thank very much. [Applause.]
Mr B W DHLAMINI
Mr T BOTHA
Mr B W DHLAMINI: Chairperson, hon Minister and hon Deputy Minister, hon members, the director-general and his team, in his state of the nation address, President Zuma said, and I quote:
For as long as there are communities without clean water, decent shelter or proper sanitation we shall not rest and we dare not falter.
As part of the social infrastructure development, we will provide suitably located and affordable housing and decent human settlements. We will proceed from the understanding that human settlement is not just about building houses; it is about transforming our citizen towns and building cohesive, sustainable and caring communities with closer access to work and social amenities, including sports and recreation.
Transforming our citizen towns from apartheid spatial planning to decent human settlements is not an easy task. It requires the commitment and involvement of all South Africans of goodwill. Hon Minister, you can count on the goodwill of the IFP in working together to do more. [Applause.]
It is unfortunate that, 15 years into democracy, there are communities in our big cities, such as Johannesburg and Durban, that are still subjected to living conditions that are inhumane, have no clean water, no decent shelter and no proper sanitation. I was shocked, but not surprised, but at the same time appreciated the honesty of the Department of Human Settlements when they did a briefing to the portfolio committee, and, for the first time in 10 years, acknowledged and admitted that there was no policy in place to deal with the plight of hostels.
Hostels are a direct creation of the inhuman settlement policies of apartheid, including influx control. The absence of a national policy to deal with these hostels frustrates provinces such as Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, who are trying their best to solve this ugly legacy. Gauteng alone has more than 60 hostels housing more than 40 000 families. This policy vacuum must be dealt with; we cannot rest and we dare not falter.
The IFP, hon Minister, would like to make a formal request, as suggested by the officials of the department, that we have an urgent hostel indaba in this financial year to deal with this policy vacuum; eradicate single-sex dormitory communal accommodation; provide self-contained or family units which are decent; look at funding models suitable to hostel conditions; provide for different tenure options, not only rentals, as provided by the community residential units policy; integrate all hostels into broader communities around them and do away with this artificial boundary of "us" and "them"; and provide for a property management system uniquely suitable to this sector.
One is mindful that there is a lot of work that has been done to deal with this grey era. We will not be starting from scratch. Many provinces, most especially Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, particularly in Durban and Johannesburg, have done something, but they are frustrated by this grey area caused by the lack of a national policy and funding.
In conclusion, I also wish to extend an invitation to the Minister of Human Settlements - which was declined by the Minister of Housing - to come and visit these hostels in Gauteng and experience first hand the plight and the suffering of these people.
The IFP will support the Budget Vote. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M R MDAKANE
Mr B W DHLAMINI
Mr M R MDAKANE: Hon Chairperson …
… ngiyavumelana noBab, uDhlamini, ukuthi masiwakhe kabusha amahostela.
[… I concur with Mr Dhlamini, we need to rebuild the hostels.]
Hon Chairperson, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members, ladies and gentlemen, it is humbling to participate in this Budget Vote 26 of the Department of Housing, mindful of the fact that the department has been renamed "the Department of Human Settlements". Human settlement is not just about the provision of housing, hon Minister, since such an approach would leave the community in the same economic and social situation as before. An integrated approach to the concept of human settlements means that respective Ministries have to work together when it comes to the development of human settlements and improving the quality of life of all our people.
This concept approaches the family and the community in which they live as an integral unit with social and economic needs in the area in which they stay, so that socioeconomic problems are reduced. This approach maximises another theory and concept driven by the ANC-led government, that of building social capital. Human settlement is about building social cohesion and harmonising communities whilst recognizing their own individual cultures, values and needs.
The concept of human settlements seeks to ensure that communities are located ecologically and geographically in areas which are environmentally safe, well above water lines, not on ground that has toxic hazards and well within easy commuter distance from work opportunities.
Ngqongqoshe, uyayazi impilo yabantu basenkangala; abavuka ekuseni ngovivi, bahambe baye emsebenzini. Siyazi ukuthi iningi imali abayikhokhayo uma beya noma bebuya emsebenzini. Siyathemba-ke ukuthi njengoba uthatha izintambo uyosisiza kakhulu futhi uxazulule izinkinga zabantu bakithi.
Kuningi okuhle esesikwenzile kusekuningi nokufanele sikwenze. Sethemba ukuthi uNgqongqoshe ophethe uyosisiza kakhulu ukuba amagxathi azame ukunyukela phambili.
Siyalwazi usizi lwabantu bakithi, siyakwazi konke abakhala ngako; kufanele-ke sikwenze ngendlela abacela ukuba sikwenze ngayo. Sonke-ke sibambisene nabantu bakithi, siyokwenza ngcono izimpilo zabo bonke. Kungumsebenzi-ke onzima lo obhekene nawo Ngqongqoshe noMnyango wonke; wokwakhela abantu bakithi.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon members, I just want to make an appeal to those who are not using the interpreting devices to please switch them off because we can overhear them. Please, switch them off! Can you continue, hon member.
Mr M R MDAKANE: The ANC-led government will continue to protect and strengthen the gains made over the past 15 years, the creation of an integrated, nonracial society, by providing a variety of housing options on well-located land, which facilitates access to social amenities and economic opportunities. The department therefore needs to provide all necessary socioeconomic infrastructure to create integrated communities.
The concept of human settlement also assures that the migrant labour system and the single-sex hostels, which have further contributed to the disruption of family life and social cohesion, are addressed.
After 1994, the government introduced a hostel upgrading programme with the objective of turning dormitory-type migrant worker hostel compounds into integrated villages suitable for family living. They expressed the need for affordable accommodation options, not limited to family units as originally envisaged, but ranging from single rooms to apartments for sub-letting and sharing as well.
This has been a slow process and needs to be accelerated in order to improve the living conditions of approximately one million hostel dwellers in South Africa.
I-ANC ithi kuyokwakhiwa izindlu eduze kwalapho abantu besebenza khona ukuze bangakhokhi imali eningi uma beya noma bebuya emisebenzini, uhlelo lokwakha umphakathi ophephile onezinkundla ezanele zemidlalo eyahlukahlukene, izindawo zokukhonza kulabo-ke abaya emasontweni, izindawo zokuzijabulisa nokuthuthukiswa kwamakhono ukuze intsha igcineke kahle ingangeni ezenzweni zobugebengu.
Ukuthuthukiswa kwamadolobha kanye nezindawo zokuthenga kufanele kwakhiwe eduze kwalapho abantu behlala khona. Kungakhiwa izindawo zokuthenga kude ngoba kuthatha isikhathi eside ukuba abantu bafinyelele; ngiyazi ukuthi nabantu besilisa bayaya kodwa ikakhulukazi abantu besifazane kubathatha isikhathi eside ukuthi basuke lapho behlala khona bayothenga emadolobheni akude kakhulu.
Uma singakwazi ukuwasondeza lapho behlala khona bangakwazi ukuba imadlana encane abanayo bayisebenzisele ukondla imindeni yabo kunokuba bakhokhele ezokuthutha beya lapho besuke beyothenga khona.
Siyathemba ukuba sonke Ngqongqoshe, siyokwakha imiphakathi enozwelo ukubambisana kanye nokunakekela labo esakhelene nabo. Kungumsebenzi nakumalunga asePhalamende akhona wonke ukuthi noma yikuphi lapho sikhona kufanele sikwazi ukusebenzisana nabantu bakithi.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon member, you have two minutes left.
Mnu M R MDAKANE:
… kufanele sikwazi ukusebenzisana nabantu bakithi.
The highest possible integration of all institutions involved in housing delivery, in all spheres of government, should be encouraged. These are institutions which can and must be completely at the service of our communities.
The process of urbanisation is one of the most challenging social developments globally. The creation of sustainable communities should therefore take into consideration the following elements: Energy, water, urban design, waste, accessibility of transport and storm water.
The hike in housing delivery that needs to be achieved to increase stability is more than double that of the current scale. The eradication of all informal settlements by 2014 would only be possible if the department doubles its efforts of providing affordable houses to all. Thus, in accordance with our Constitution, policy and electoral mandate, delivery has to be faster and more responsive to create a long-lasting impact.
Accelerated delivery can only occur when all the stakeholders that matter in the delivery chain are mobilized effectively and purposefully. There is thus a need to mobilize collectively for our community and build capacity to deliver more houses to our people.
We are quite aware that housing delivery is a moving target. Today, social housing waiting lists continue to grow. According to a survey done by Anna Turley of New Local Government Network, "the housing list has grown by 57% over the past five years, to 4,5 million people, or 1,8 million households".
Recent reports have predicted that the recession will send waiting lists rocketing further as a growing number of homes are repossessed …
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon member, conclude please.
Mr M R MDAKANE: … and few people are able to get housing loans to buy private homes. The National Housing Federation expects that to happen.
Just to conclude, hon Chairperson … I know that when I preside, I also sometimes request people to conclude. Let me conclude by saying that critical to human settlement is an energy efficient environment that requires a systematic reduction of undesirable energy carriers and replacing them with less polluting ones. It is pertinent to state that the community and the individual are essential to developing human settlements. These are at the heart of delivering the state empowerment agenda. Progress has been made in areas related to sustainable human settlement. Quite a number of informal settlements have been formalised.
Just to conclude … [Laughter.] The portfolio committee will do its oversight function vigorously and honestly …
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon member, your time has expired.
Mr M R MDAKANE: … and we do trust that the department will respond with diligence and respect. [Applause.]
Mr J J MC GLUWA
Mr M R MDAKANE
Mr J J McGLUWA: Chairperson, hon Minister, hon members, the ID welcomes the change in the term from "Housing Ministry" to that of "Human Settlements". As the Minister has indicated, the ID believes that we must build communities and not just houses.
It has become a national trend that houses are rapidly deteriorating due to poor workmanship: one packet of cement to one lorry of sand. The houses in Samora Machel, Phillipi, are falling apart as we speak due to weak infrastructure plans. Both in Phillipi and Macassar, during the winter months, residents experience rivers running through their houses as a result of heavy rains. We need to restore the dignity of our people.
The government's housing policy is still too focused on quantity instead of the quality of housing. It is high time that the government begins to get serious about bridging the divides and creates communities where rich and poor can live side by side. We need to build sustainable housing, which is energy efficient. Emphasis must be on integrated human settlement.
These settlements must include infrastructure such as roads, transport, electricity, water, refuse removal, community facilities, schools, shops and recreational areas. The N2 Gateway displays the contrast, where pavements along the highway are being used to play soccer. The Delft Housing Development Scheme is also a total contrast of what I have mentioned.
During the Department of Arts and Culture budget debate and public hearings on this Budget Vote, it became apparent that the Rural Housing Loan Fund, which claims to be a national wholesale constitution, has failed the rural communities dismally in terms of its disbursements and geographic allocations. The fund gave zero percent of its total national loan assistance budget to the Northern Cape, 3% to the Free State, 6% to Limpopo and 8% to the Eastern Cape.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon member, conclude.
Mr J J McGLUWA: The bulk of the loan fund was utilised in Gauteng, which received 31%.
In closing, the ID would like this programme to be more equitable and representative.
The ID supports the budget. I thank you. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS
Mr J J McGLUWA
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS: Chairperson, it is a great honour to have this opportunity of addressing this august House today on this Budget Vote. Allow me, Chairperson, to greet the Minister of Human Settlements, hon Tokyo Sexwale, and welcome him to the vibrant Human Settlements family.
I also welcome Minister Nati Mthethwa, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements hon Nomhle Dambuza, hon members, the Director-General of Human Settlements Dr Benny Kotsoane and his team, honoured guests, our MEC of the Western Cape Nkosi Madikizela, the MEC of the Northern Cape and my family.
This Budget Vote takes place when we mark the 54th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, the historic document founded by the people of South Africa from all walks of life, as well as the 33rd anniversary of 16 June, which marks the heroic action by the students of the class of 1976, whose clear message was: "Genoeg is genoeg. Enough is enough." Hence we welcome the initiative by the Department of Human Settlements in marking this anniversary on Friday, 26 June at Eshowe in KwaZulu-Natal by the Youth Build, in which young people were building houses of quality for elderly people.
As we embark on the war against poverty, we reiterate and commit ourselves to the assertions of the Freedom Charter. This developmental state led by the ANC has taken it upon itself to translate these dreams into reality. Our mandate as this Ministry is to build on the foundation laid by the policy of Breaking New Ground.
We are unapologetic in asserting that planning together, budgeting together and co-ordinating together remain the prerequisites and non-negotiables for the realisation of integrated human settlements.
Our funding mechanism must also be streamlined, so that housing grants are consolidated into a single grant that responds to human settlement requirements. There is also a need to eliminate unnecessary bottlenecks, contractors must be paid timeously and the environmental impact analysis delays must be done away with.
The provision of homes to our people cannot be the responsiblility of government alone. We need the participation of all sectors of our society. Working together we can do more. [Applause.]
People must be at the centre of everything we do. Beneficiaries must be active participants in the provision of human settlements. As we build integrated human settlements, we must also build responsive citizenry. The building of homes must contribute to the building of communities. This is why we will continue to promote and support the people's housing process.
The role of emerging contractors cannot be overemphasised. Unfortunately, they have a tendency to continue emerging ad infinitum. Something must be done to remedy this situation, but we will uproot fly-by-nights in the building industry. We need contractors who are prepared to contribute constructively so that government gets value for money. [Applause.]
We commend the continued contribution made by the financial sector, but more needs to be done in order to enhance this partnership. Of course we do know that profit margins are low in the low-cost housing environment, but the establishment of the Housing Development Agency will bring about human settlements housing delivery in economies of scale. This will only be realised with the active participation of the private sector, particularly the rolling out of the rental stock and bond houses.
In the light of this, there is a need to establish a macro organisational framework in order to facilitate the convergence of different government mandates for human settlements development. It is underpinned by a set of principles which are necessary for strengthening co-ordination in government.
The priorities of the framework include: Firstly, to compile a national development plan for human settlements, produce settlement level plans and promote innovative project development; secondly, to align funding streams and existing built-environment-related grants; and thirdly, to ensure effective project management and capacity development at implementation level. The framework must also speak to the issues of monitoring, evaluation and risk management.
The implementation of a comprehensive plan for the creation of sustainable human settlements requires the department to rationalise its entities to ensure proper alignment of mandates. This process has led to the need for the dissolution of certain entities and the establishment of new ones.
In this regard, during this financial year the department will be concluding the closure of Servcon Housing Solutions, which will cease operations on 30 September 2009; Thubelisha Homes, which is scheduled to cease operations on 31 July 2009; and the Social Housing Foundation, which must fold at the latest in February 2010.
In all three cases efforts are under way to find alternative employment for personnel and optimally harvest the assets, which include knowledge and, in some cases, specialised expertise. To this end, provinces, municipalities and other public entities are encouraged to accommodate the transfer of staff to their establishments when they are approached to do so.
The enactment of the Social Housing Act, 2008, which the Minister spoke about earlier on, comes at a crucial time as government seeks to upscale the development of affordable rental stock as part of creating sustainable human settlements.
In the process of providing proper homes for our people, we will also endeavour to provide community residential units. We will also continue to revisit the issue of hostel redevelopment. We also need to promote inclusionary housing, meaning that wherever there is private property development, at least 20% of that development should be set aside for low-cost housing.
In response to government's rural development drive, the department will in the current financial year introduce a rural housing subsidy voucher programme to assist rural households to source building materials for building their own homes, or even incrementally improving their homes.
I am happy to announce that there is a newly-appointed council of the National Home Builders Registration Council, the NHBRC, chaired by Ms Granny Seape. It is critical that the NHBRC focuses on issues of quality and strict adherence to the national housing code. It must also make its presence felt in all provinces so that human settlement projects are registered with the NHBRC. This entity must be able to address the complaints of housing consumers timeously. Failure to do so results in paying huge sums of money for structural defects, which would have cost less if the matter was dealt with appropriately. The inspectors must inspect houses at all stages of development, especially at the foundation level. [Applause.] I am happy that the director-general said that more inspectors are to be trained.
The Housing Development Agency was established in terms of the Housing Development Act, Act 23 of 2008, and was formally launched on 2 March 2009. It commenced it operations on 1 April 2009. I am pleased to note that in a very short space of time it is up and running.
The agency is driving four flagship projects announced at its launch, and in time these projects will deliver up to 100 000 homes, with a total investment of approximately R7 billion.
The Housing Development Agency has two fundamental functions based on its legislated mandate. These are, firstly, land acquisition and land holding, focusing on state-owned land in general and privately owned land linked to specific prioritised projects, and secondly, project management, including direct and indirect delivery of projects of integrated sustainable human settlements in economies of scale.
The function of the acquisition of well-located land is fundamental to the government's objective of ensuring that citizens of our country are provided with homes in sustainable integrated human settlements, so that we can address the issue of the spatial development framework and begin to build homes for our people closer to their places of work. In this regard the Housing Development Agency will be required to work closely with provinces and municipalities in securing available land, in order to make human settlements a reality.
In addition to this, we expect that the Housing Development Agency will, in the short to medium term, review the land portfolios of the various state-owned entities and government departments to identify and package land for human settlement development.
A key project delivery blockage identified is the mobilisation and co-ordination of all required state funding for human settlement development. It is envisaged that the Housing Development Agency will play an active role in co-ordinating projects and capital budget commitments and in securing capital transfers directly to the projects.
In the main, the Housing Development Agency will primarily support the provinces and municipalities in human settlement development. This support will be delivered through implementation protocols developed with all parties within the established intergovernmental framework. Our objective is to do away with unnecessary bureaucratic bottlenecks in order to fast-track the human settlements delivery processes.
However, in the national priority projects of the N2 Gateway in the Western Cape and Zanemvula in the Eastern Cape, the agency has assumed direct management of implementation within the existing intergovernmental framework.
The work of the Housing Development Agency and the delivery of sustainable human settlements will be hugely enhanced provided three things happen. Firstly, suitable land needs to be made available at a minimal cost. Secondly, funding is needed for a broad range of social amenities, such as parks and playing fields. Also, funding to service the land needs to flow to the project at the right time. This dream can only be realised with the support of the National Planning Commission by putting pressure on related departments to plan and budget together for human settlements. Finally, the internal procedures within the department need to ensure that funding flows in the most efficient manner to the project. We need to beef up the existing personnel so that we have enhanced capacity to deliver on the new mandate.
The department will be improving its oversight management over its entities to maximise their developmental agenda for human settlement.
Umeli wezwe obekekileyo umnumzana uZuma kwiintetho zakhe azenzileyo apha ePalamente ubeke phambili ukubaluleka kokwakhiwa kwamakhaya, ukhuthaze yonke iminyango ukuba isebenzisane, uhlangabezane ekufezekiseni amaphupha omphakathi. Lo mnyango ayisenguwo umnyango wezindlu nje kuphela, ngumnyango ojongene nazo zonke iimfuno zokuhlala nentlala kahle yabantu ukuze kwakhiwe izindlu kwiindawo ezikufutshane neempangelo ukwenzela ukuba wonke ubani abe nempilo engcono.
Into enye urhulumente ayicelayo kubo bonke abantu kukuba sonke sibenegalelo kulo msebenzi.Eli khwelo liya koosomashishini, kubakhi abakhulu nabakhasayo nakubo bonke abahlali, sithi ukwanda kwaliwa ngumthakathi.Lithuba lokuba sivuke, sizenzele sincedisane norhulumente. Lo ngumnyango okhokelwa ngumphathiswa uTokyo Sexwale, uzimisele ukusebenzisana naye wonke ubani. Okona kumphatha kakubi urhulumeni ngaba bantu bathe gqolo ukuthengisa izindlu abazinikwe simahla ngurhulumente babuyele emikhukhwini. Sithi mabawuyeke lo mkhwa.Sithi halala kumaqobokazana namaqobo athe gqolo ukwakha izindlu ngomkhankaso wePHP, siza kunika inkxaso kakhulu ngakumbi kuwo. Lo rhulumente ukhokelwe ngu-ANC uyakhathala ngakumbi ngabantu, uthi abantu bayi kulamba, masisebenzisane mawethu silwe indlala.
Chairperson, this Ministry is committed to making sure that the Breaking New Ground pilot projects identified in all provinces go ahead as planned. We will ensure that there is in situ upgrading of informal settlements in all provinces. This will mean provision of water, drainage, sanitation, electricity, roads, etc.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon Deputy Minister, it is time to wrap up.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS: Our engagement with the international community will continue, taking into account existing memorandums of understanding, and participation in the African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development and UN Habitat.
The time has come for all peace-loving South Africans to join hands with the Department of Human Settlements in its journey of making poverty history.
Mandibulele ubukho buka Johnny Nash, umama uGcina, uMabhena amalungu ale komiti. Enkosi. [Kwaqhwatywa.]
Ms G M BORMAN
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS
Ms G M BORMAN: Chairperson, hon Minister and Deputy Minister, hon members and guests, during the past few years I have been privileged to be involved in the building of houses in an informal settlement.
One of the millions of South Africans who had never owned a house was an old lady of 85. Ever since the arrival of democracy she had dreamt of owning her own house. I promised her that she would be in her house for Christmas and she could invite her family to come and share Christmas dinner with her. However, the project ran late and she did not get her house for Christmas. The housing development was ready in February, some three months later. The week we were due to hand her the keys, her daughter came to my office to tell me that her mother had died. She never lived in the home that she had waited for so long. The family collected the key and buried her from the house. That's sad.
I also refer to the state of the nation address where our President reminded us that we will proceed from the understanding that human settlement is not just about building houses, it is about transforming our cities and towns and building cohesive, sustainable and caring communities with closer access to work and social amenities, including sports and recreational facilities.
The Freedom Charter states:
All people shall have the right to live where they choose, to be decently housed and to bring up their families in comfort and security.
Slums shall be demolished, and new suburbs built where all have transport, roads, lighting, playing fields, crèches and social centres …
Our old lady in the informal settlement would have been 30 at the time and her hope of a house would have been kindled by that event. Many more like her are still alive and hoping, and we dare not fail them.
In our ANC manifesto we have pledged to halve the levels of poverty and unemployment by 2014. The building of houses can go a long way to achieving this goal, as we have a ready-made job creation situation right here. This is acutely so in our informal settlements, which we are upgrading as an urgent priority. This is where the poorest of the poor are to be found. As a committee, we would like to see the department put a figure on the number of jobs we will be able to create, so that we can measure what progress we are making.
The building of houses also affords our emerging contractors an opportunity to be growing in their businesses. However, sadly, we have seen a situation - and this has already been referred to - where the contractors have delivered the worst quality.
I remember the excitement felt by all when we were about to hand over our first 18 houses in the Cato Crest informal settlement in Durban. This community had been waiting for 12 years for something to happen. When I went on the morning of the handover to do an inspection, I couldn't believe what I saw: big gaps between the wall and the window frames; broken windows; uneven floors, with the mess of the cement mixing left there; and broken toilets. I just wept.
In addition, as has been referred to, in many projects, the wrong mix of the dagga has resulted in cracked walls and poor foundations. We acknowledge this. We do not only have to build houses; we have to build good quality houses.
The portfolio committee is committed to exercising its oversight role. We owe it to our people, especially the vulnerable people, to do this.
The ANC government has delivered on housing, and we are very proud of this achievement. Not only has the number delivered been impressive, but the size and the subsidy have been increasing as we have sought to deliver a better product.
We are happy to note the increase in four of the five programmes in the budget. This will allow the department to accelerate delivery. We are concerned, however, that the strategic relations and governance programme of the budget have been chopped.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon Borman, you need to conclude.
Ms G M BORMAN: Will do. In his overview of the 2008-11 strategic and performance plans, the accounting officer states among the key challenges faced by the housing sector are inadequate intergovernmental co-ordination for accelerated delivery, specifically in relation to the capacity of provinces and local government to deliver on national priorities. This problem needs to be worked on in the future. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr R B BHOOLA
Ms G M BORMAN
Mr R B BHOOLA: Chairperson, the MF very strongly urges the Minister to look at two very important factors.
Firstly, we need to review the old stereotype housing and make South Africa a property-owning democracy. When a person owns a home or a property, they honestly feel that they belong to a nonracial democratic country. The answer is simply that we are creating a very broad-based professional middle class who are being frustrated as a result of the policies of the past. Our problem is that we are looking at addressing the imbalances of the past using the market value system.
Secondly, in 1948 when the National Party came into power, they created what is called a Land Bank. We must look at buying land and make sure most of the land for residential purposes is government land.
I suggest we service sites and sell them at a reasonable price to people, mainly from the disadvantaged community, who can get loans and erect their homes. Our problem will be that in terms of the market value system, the person who is just above the upper limit of the state-assisted housing cannot get a shelter, because the prices in the open market are too unrealistic and too high. The MF suggests that sometimes it might be necessary for government to intervene to peg the prices of vacant land and in respect of all the people who are holding valuable land. We very strongly urge that we should have a policy for a property-owning democracy. Let us declare war on market value, because market value is artificial and was created by apartheid, and is affecting black people in particular.
The MF will support the budget.
Mr M S MOTIMELE
Mr R B BHOOLA
Mr M S MOTIMELE: Chairperson, Comrade Minister, Deputy Minister, hon members, ladies and gentlemen, comrades and friends, I was supposed to respond to what the members of the opposition have said. But, Minister, most of the issues that were mentioned are just a reiteration of what you were saying. They just need your attention, expect that I have to say to the hon Tozamile Botha that he can rest assured that his understanding is the correct ANC understanding. [Applause.] He is correct that the function of this department is not to sell state land but to identify state land for human settlement.
In the 2009 election manifesto, the ANC has a vision to put in place an economic stimulus package constituted of various policy instruments in order to stimulate the economy. Furthermore, it will take active measures through an appropriate social package to minimise job losses and protect vulnerable sectors of the economy. Therefore, the creation of housing entities was in line with the ANC manifesto in the sense that it seeks to accelerate service delivery and stimulate the economy.
These housing entities will also assist the ANC-led government in tackling the legacy of the National Party's apartheid policies with new measures that will do the following: mobilise and support community efforts; facilitate access to subsidies; promote the most cost-effective use of resources; regulate settlements and create secure tenure options; build capacity and facilitate an optimum transfer of skills; facilitate economic upliftment and employment creation; promote a culture of saving; and create mechanisms to link credit and savings.
The Department of Human Settlements has launched the Housing Development Agency as a result of its determination to eradicate informal settlements by 2014. The intention was for the agency to minimise delays caused by excessive bureaucratic red tape that hindered approval for housing projects. This programme involves community participation, and will create opportunities for poor families to boost the value of their subsidies by contributing their own resources and taking important decisions around the design and construction of their homes.
In terms of project management, the Housing Development Agency will look at the issues of proper facilitation. An essential component of the Housing Development Agency will be to ensure proper project funding, and thereby creating a better life for all the people of South Africa.
The National Urban Reconstruction and Housing Agency is a joint venture between the government and the Soros Economic Development Fund, which aims at providing bridging finance to contractors building low- and medium-income projects, and ensuring that 80% of those financed were smaller contractors. This entity plays an important role in terms of empowering small contractors.
The Rural Housing Loan Fund will maximise financial access to rural communities, thereby improving the quality of life in these communities. It also contributes to small, medium and micro economic development and job creation. It works in all provinces through intermediaries, which is in line with the ANC-led government's aspirations.
The National Housing Finance Corporation was instrumental in establishing the social housing sector, and banks are now participating voluntarily. Most social housing projects are funded by the corporation. Attempts are being made to attract other funders to engage in co-funding initiatives, I believe, Comrade Minister.
We want to commend and encourage banks to continue to support the initiative so that together we can provide homes for all. However, future funding remains a concern, as a continuous drain on reserves would prove detrimental to the overall mandate. The corporation will participate with the new housing plan by changing the risk of the private sector.
A retail route is being considered to bring the corporation closer to end-users and to strengthen the understanding of the target market. An example will be provided to the private sector to indicate that low-cost housing could be a viable business option. Funding for informal settlement will be pursued and initiatives will be introduced to reduce rental costs.
President Jacob Zuma, in his state of the nation address on 3 June 2009, stated that the Neighbourhood Development Partnership Grant programme would target the renewal of rural towns, and thus areas around the towns would benefit from the economic boost. Therefore, these housing entities will go a long way in achieving the President's goal. [Interjections.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon member, I'm afraid to say your time is up.
Mr M S MOTIMELE: Enough said, Chairperson. There is every reason for us as the ANC to support this budget. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms C DUDLEY
Mr M S MOTIMELE
Ms C DUDLEY: Chair, hon Ministers, due to rapid urbanisation and migration from rural areas, housing poses a great challenge for any government. The ACDP recognises the 2,6 million subsidised houses that have been provided as a commendable achievement.
Waiting lists for people still to be housed, however, are a major concern. The ACDP can see no specific allocation for information technology in this budget, or provision to review and establish a comprehensive and transparent database of persons - a fundamental requirement. About 1 million families are estimated to be living in shacks in Cape Town alone, and the backlog is growing at about 200 000 households a year. Without comprehensive data, those who have waited many years are at risk of being overlooked.
The ACDP has championed rural development to redress the problems of migration to the cities. So, we are interested in the recapitalisation of the Rural Housing Loan Fund of R50 million in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Communication with prospective residents will be vital for settlement success, from the Joe Slovo challenges of the Western Cape to the agri-villages for farmworkers. Farmworkers faced with the village option have at times resisted, despite the seemingly obvious benefits. Only through interaction can planners, most of whom are from urban backgrounds, hope to accommodate the actual needs and concerns of rural people.
We applaud the work taking place to improve living standards and conditions for impoverished suburban and rural communities. Hon Minister, has an allocation been made for the upgrading and restoration of innercity buildings as well? I'm thinking here of examples such as the old warehouse which was turned into makeshift housing on Saratoga Avenue near the Ellis Park precinct - a key 2010 focus area. Has that been provided for? Many buildings like these are home to hundreds of families. Like their suburban counterparts, they are faced with erratic garbage collection, no electricity and no water or sewage disposal, which can lead to health and safety hazards. The ACDP hopes that the concept of human settlements will facilitate better responses to these problems.
We will support this budget. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr A M FIGLAN
Ms C DUDLEY
Mr A M FIGLAN: Chairperson, hon Minister and Deputy Minister, the strategy and performance plan for 2008-11 appears to be a well-prepared document intended to deliver houses to the people, but this is only on paper.
Umba wentlalo yoluntu wande kakhulu. Ngokokwam ukwazi, lo mba uthetha izindlu, izibhedlele, iiklinikhi, iivenkile kwakunye nezikolo.
The question of the illegal occupation of land is a cause for concern, as this problem continues unabated. The Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land, Act 19 of 1998, does not properly address the serious illegal occupation of land, which is seriously hampering government in delivering services.
I understand that the government is working with private and public sector service providers for the provision of houses. We continue to see people being evicted from houses that are privately owned. What is the government doing to assist people who are being evicted? What alternative or mechanism do we have in place to cater for those people? After being evicted, where do they go? Some move to informal settlements and live there for years, and again elongate the list of those who are already on the waiting list.
Hon Minister, in light of the current global economic meltdown, it appears unlikely that the current Medium-Term Expenditure Framework target of R18,4 billion budget for 2011-12 will be a reality. One therefore has to question the as yet undetermined costs associated with the name change. Surely, the outcome we are all looking for can be achieved irrespective of what the Ministry is called.
This brings me to the proposed expenditure on particular line items in the budget before us. All over the world companies and businesses are looking at ways to reduce unnecessary spending. I therefore find it unacceptable that this budget shows significant growth for items such as subsistence and travel. In programme one, there is an 83% increment in normal terms, from R14,1 million to R26 million, in this item. However, this is probably understandable in light of the appointment of a new Deputy Minister, but there is no plausible reason why there is an increase of 102%, from R5,1 million to R10,3 million, and 144%, from R10,2 million to R24,9 million, respectively in programme two and three, in this line item. This naturally will have an equal increased negative effect on the department's carbon footprint - something the director-general has assured my colleagues will be addressed. The department will start to offset its carbon footprint, planting a tree with every future house built.
Enye into ekufuneka iqwalaselwe ngokumandla ngabaniki-zinkonzo, kuba ngaphandle kweliso likarhulumente, abantu bathi gqolo besitya imali yabarhafi kakubi; ube umgangatho wezindlu ungenguwo.
Kukho umba wabanxusi. Kwesi sicwangciso sikarhulumente awuchatshazelwa, kuba abantu abakuluhlu lukarhulumente akuthethwa nto icacileyo ngabo, kwaye basalinde ukuza kukaNxele.
I am not sure about the internal audit report system. I am saying this because if it was effective we should not be having fraud cases as they stand.
The Department of Human Settlements needs to stick to the principle of people first. I hope the hon Minister will deal effectively with officials' conflicts of interest.
I am worried about the problem of title deeds. People still have no titles for their houses, thus making it difficult for them to access formal houses. This problem has not been sorted out. What is the hon Minister's plan to change this backlog? I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms A C MASHISHI
Mr A M FIGLAN
Ms A C MASHISHI: Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon members, departmental officials and distinguished guests …
Pele ke thoma, ke rata go tshepiša ba mphato – ke ra ba ka lehlakoreng laka – gore dillo tša bona di kwagetše. Re na le batswadi mo, gomme ba kwele dillo tša lena. Sepedi se re tsebe ga e na sekhurumelo.
Allow me to give food for thought for the day. Decide today to be a master of change rather than a victim of change. I am saying this because the ANC-led government …
… o bone bohlokwa bja go fa batho magae, e sego dintlo. Tona ya rena, mohlomphegi Sexwale, o re, ke a mo tsopola: "Legae ke moo o humanago batho, tšhireletšo le borutho. Ka gare ga ntlo o ka hwetša go se na motho."
Sejahlapi se re …
… there is no better place than home.
Human settlement is beyond housing. It's like a magnet attracting objects.
Re leboga pono ya Mopresidente wa rena ge a ile a bona gore o swanetše go okeletša kgoro ye maikarabelo. Bjalo ka komiti ya photefolio, re ile go kgonthišiša gore basadi ba tšwela pele go hlohleletšwa go ba bengdikontraka. Bengdikontraka ba basadi ba swanetše go tšwetša pele menyetla yeo e lego gona ya bonnyane bja 30%. Re ra gore menyetla ye e swanetše go oketšwa go feta mo.
Through the legislative measures post-1994, there's been a great change in the allocation of houses. For instance, women have applied in great numbers, and we applaud the ANC-led government for undertaking such initiatives.
The portfolio committee is committed to enhancing monitoring of the implementation of youth programmes in the human settlement sector in an integrated manner, to sustain the livelihood adopted with regard to youth development and employment. Preferential legislation procurement policies and co-operatives should also benefit the youth, and cover specific needs of the youth as well as sufficient access to finance and resources. As a committee we will make sure that we put extra effort into this so that these issues are seriously attended to.
Still on youth issues, we have child-headed families, and there is no clear integration. We support youth mobilisation and volunteering to encourage the youth to do community work.
Ka Labohlano le le fetilego, di26 June 2009, re be re le KwaZulu Natal go Mmasepala wa Mlalazi, Eshowe. Baswa ba gona ba aga dintlo ntle le tefo. Ba agela batho ba ba golo. Se ke mohlala go baswa diprofenseng tše dingwe. [Magoswi.] Ba a kwešiša gore …
… together we can do more; nothing is impossible.
We have not done well for people with disabilities. There is a need for improvement to ensure representation and participation.
Re bona dikhamphani di ba šomiša bjalo ka tsela ya go ikgakanya. Ba bangwe ba bona ga ba tsebe le ge e le maloko a dikhamphani tšeo. Sepedi se re: Le ge o ka buela leopeng magokobu a go bona.
These people are committing fraud. It is totally unacceptable and corrupt.
We are proud to say progress has been made in ensuring accessibility to buildings by people with disabilities. For the purpose of poverty reduction and economic empowerment programmes, we have been unable to get the proper figures and the committee has to make a follow-up.
A lot has been done by this democratic government to improve issues for women, the youth and people with disabilities. The Freedom Charter says: "There shall be houses, security and comfort." The ANC supports Budget Vote 26. Ke a leboga. [Thank you.] [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS
Ms A C MASHISHI
The MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS: Chairperson, let me thank all members for their counsel, wise words, advices, remarks, observations, criticisms - which are very welcome - as well as their support for this budget. Let me respond to something that was mentioned by the last speaker, the hon Mashishi. She spoke in my mother tongue and said - I have never heard of this before, although it is in my mother tongue – "tsebe ga e na sekhurumelo". It is a very great andsage advice - an ear has no lid. I'm saying this as the Minister of Human Settlements to indicate that I have heard you. I take the issues you have raised on board. I can try to be as smart as possible by giving you all the answers here, as a Minister who is one month old. I don't pretend that I have all the answers.
Hon Beauty, our visit to Eshowe, as you will remember, was on the celebration of June 16. I want you to appreciate that. You levelled criticism at the houses you saw, on the sinks, but you also lavished praise on how they have been build. They were constructed actually by children for old people. I think that is very applaudable. [Applause.]
The other fact is that we were visiting a construction site. If there was anything to hide, we would have not taken members of the portfolio committee to the site. We wanted you to see work-in-progress so that the next time we invite you, you will have the benefit of seeing much more improvement and greater success.
Let me also say that we have heard the wise counsel of other hon members here. Hon Botha, your wisecounsel is accepted. I wish you were still in the ANC. [Laughter.] Nevertheless, I want to point out - as I warned you yesterday while we had some cocktails - that you must be careful with what you say in this House in front of me. You were the adviser of the previous Minister. [Laughter.] I want to believe that everything good she achieved was due to her own thinking. If she had any failures, we will put them at the level of Cope. [Laughter.] In any case, your wisecounsel is that we have to be very careful about how we treat land.
You also made a point around the question of contractors. This point was also made by others, and I know the Deputy Minister is very passionate about it. But let us differentiate between good and bad contractors - both large and small - particularly those coming from the black economic empowerment side. I have seen a lot of fly-by-nights; be very careful. Some people are assisted by government. They get contracts, but they spend the capital. After spending the capital, they get into a loss-making situation. They buy cars they should have not bought; they buy houses they should have not bought; and they take children to private schools which is something they should not have done. Then of course their businesses collapse, and they fail.
That is why I said we want this House not to just hold us accountable for spending money on the implementation of policies and on all sorts of things, but also to send a very strong message to those contractors as well. If they want to get into business, they must do the right things. There is a difference between capital and money for leisure, in as much as revenue does not mean the same as profit. They must know that when they get into a profit situation, it is time for them to plough back, before they start buying BMWs, Ferraris and other things.
Hon Bonginkosi Dhlamini, we heard you very well. I accept your invitation to visit the hostels. [Applause.] I would like to believe that the previous Minister did not not do so out of malice. She is my friend. I don't think Lindi is afraid to go into a hostel. She was born next to one, where the house of her father, Walter Sisulu, is. I want to accept this invitation in her name and in my name as well. I am very passionate about hostels. I come from Dube, named after John Langalibalele Dube, who came from your province and was the first president of the ANC. There is a hostel across from my home as well.
I want to bring your attention to the fact that there is a policy now to change the hostels. Nine percent of the budget, this time around, has been allocated towards changing hostels from being single-sex migrant places to being homes. We have started with the Dube Hostel. I want to go to Mzimhlophe Hostel, because the last time I met with you, that hostel was visited by violence during the days when our country was tottering on the brink. So, I'm looking forward to visiting the hostel with you. We are committed to doing this because it is the worst area. It is very horrific and has the kind of circumstances that the special development of apartheid imposed upon our people, particularly the men who are there and are away from their families. They are now permanent in those hostels, and we must accept that we have to rebuild those places. We are committed to doing that.
Borman, I also understand that there are four other projects. I would like to invite you to those projects and see how developments are shaping up there.
I know a lot has been spoken about the Land Bank. I just want to respond to what was said by Minister McGluwa … hon McGluwa. Maybe it will be Minister McGluwanext time! [Laughter.] One of the things we should ask ourselves here is whether there should be a housing bank. There can be a land bank. We should interrogate this issue. I think ideas on a housing bank must come from this House because we will be your students eternally. Is it possible that we can continue to do what we are doing in view of the numbers? Many billions are mentioned in terms of the shortfall of our own budget in 2012 and 2016. These are hundreds of billions that will be involved. Can we do it without a housing bank?
I think we should put our heads together and see if we can find alternative ways of addressing the question of the "unbanked". If we can draw a line, we will find that above that line there are people like you and me, whose calls are taken by banks. In any case, some banks must take my call, and it is important. But there are people below that line - banks don't take their calls because they are not credit worthy. Those are the people we would like to help. Part of those people - the top pile - are people who qualify for subsidies and at the bottom are people who don't even qualify for anything. That is why we would like to engage business so that we can go that extra mile. I know and I understand. I said to businesses that I don't want to commit them to things that are beyond their abilities. I know what they do. But I believe we can make a much greater difference in a partnership as civics, business and as government if we put our minds together and have a closer look at the best step we can take on behalf of those people who are not bankable.
I don't want to take the matter very far, except to talk about the issue raised by the hon Figlan - the question of illegal land occupations. This is not nice. I have done this as the Premier of Gauteng in the past - to remove people who are occupying land. We will continue to remove people, but not in line with the policy of apartheid where people were forcibly removed without any alternatives. But land is prime.
And people are very clever. You must credit them for where they want to be. All informal settlements throughout South Africa are not that far away from urban settlements. They are just where you and I want to be. They are next to electricity, transport, schooling, leisure places and shopping malls. The people are telling us something. Human settlement is about bringing all these facilities around the houses which we are building. The core part of what we are doing is housing, but the rest of it is human settlement.
We are not talking semantics here. I have traced this thing from the days of the Freedom Charter, the Vancouver Conference, the World Summit, the Polokwane conference, the state of the nation address, as well as the Budget Vote of The Presidency. I took all these and recognised that even though it was originally not policy, there was something that was said by the last Minister of Housing - there is no other Minister of Housing; there is a new Minister of Human Settlements. I understand that in the Breaking New Ground area, they did refer to "human settlements". We don't want to engage in semantics; we want to make a difference.
I know we are saying a lot of things here, and sometimes we are contributing to climate change. [Laughter.] But the reality is that we say these things and we have to discuss them here. I see Parliament, as well as the National Assembly, as a place where ideas should be churned out.
We really mean it when we say that human settlements should apply. Yes, housing has been there. But beyond semantics, it is really making sure that the whole issue is integrated, co-ordinated and holistic. In that way, where you and I stay - next to amenities and facilities - will be doubled up by people who will also be experiencing the same things.
A lot can be said around this. But then I thought we are going to be together for the next five years. So, I will be answering many questions and also asking many questions as we go forward. I will remain your student, your Minister and your representative in the cabinet so that we can change. I believe that "working together we can do more". I thank you. [Applause.]
The Committee rose at 16:06.
END OF TAKE
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