ATC100806: Report on Oversight visit to Gauteng from 1-6 August 2010
Report of the oversight visit to Gauteng province as from 1-6 August 2010
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements on an oversight visit to Gauteng from 1-6 August 2010, dated 26 January 2011
In terms of the Constitution of 1996 and parliamentary rules, the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements has a responsibility to conduct oversight over any executive organ of State that falls within its portfolio. In line with this mandate, in its strategic plan, the Committee committed itself to undertake provincial visits to oversee the project plans and programmes. The Committee also undertakes to evaluate progress made and identify any challenges encountered in the implementation processes. Furthermore, the Committee seeks to promote and enhance co-operative governance principles in the human settlements delivery services. To fulfil its strategic plan, the Committee conducted an oversight visit to Gauteng from 1-6 August 2010.
2. Objectives of the visit
The objectives of the oversight visit were for the Committee to be briefed on the following issues and to conduct site visits:
- Implementation of a comprehensive, integrated human settlements strategy in the province;
- To gauge performance in meeting service delivery targets set for 2009/10 and challenges encountered and to ascertain whether value for money was achieved;
- The role played by the public and private sectors in service delivery;
- Plans, programmes and service delivery targets for 2009/10;
- Progress report in support of the disaster-affected communities;
- Blocked projects and plans to unblock them;
- Progress and plans made on the rectification programme;
- The number of informal settlements, the plan and the progress in upgrading such settlements, including Community Residential Units (CRUs);
- Progress in the implementation of the Farm-worker Assistance Programme;
- The co-ordination and management of the Beneficiary List and the incorporation of backyard dwellers in the provincial housing database; and
- Projects constructed with alternative technologies.
3. Multiparty delegation
The delegation consisted of Hon BN Dambuza (ANC), leader of the delegation; Hon MR Mdakane (ANC); Hon TMA Gasebonwe (ANC); Hon JM Matshoba (ANC); Hon NA Mnisi (ANC) ; Hon V Bam-Mugwanya (ANC); Hon AC Mashishi (ANC); Hon D Dlakude (ANC); Hon AM Figlan (DA); Hon AC Steyn (DA); Hon T Botha (Cope) and Hon KP Sithole (IFP). The delegation was accompanied by Mr L Jolobe and Ms M Pine from the National Department of Human Settlements. Ms K Pasiya (Committee Secretary), Mr M Molo (Researcher) and Ms N Mnyovu (Committee Assistant) from Parliament supported the delegation.
4. Day 1 (1 August 2010)
4.1 Meeting at the provincial offices of Local Government and Housing
The delegation was welcomed by the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Local Government and Housing, Hon E Magerman.
Hon Dambuza introduced the delegation and outlined the purpose of the visit as indicated in the objectives above. She stated that during the 2010 State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA), the President announced five key government priorities, that is, education, health, creation of decent jobs, rural development and land reform, and, fighting crime, fraud and corruption. Later on, as a result of protests and unrest in most townships and the establishment of Presidential hotline, it was revealed that most of the protests were about housing matters. Thereafter, the Cabinet Lekgotla elevated Human Settlements and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to the top seven priorities.
Sanitation was also transferred to the Department of Human Settlements, which also added on the mandate of the department. The Minister of Human Settlements had announced that 40 000 houses required demolishing and some required rectification. Therefore, it was vital for the Committee to get a progress report in respect of rectification and the rebuilding of those houses.
Hon Dambuza indicated that during the State-of-the-Nation Address, the President emphasised that all informal settlements should be upgraded. Hon Dambuza stressed the importance of compliance with the Housing Act (No 107 of 1997) and other policies that regulate the delivery of houses. She further noted challenges with regards to the slow registration of title deeds.
Mr K Lekgoro, the MEC for Local Government and Housing, indicated that the population of the province was growing rapidly and the department may not reach the target set on housing delivery. The policy that gave free houses to every citizen aged 18 years and above was not sustainable. The housing backlog was increasing to 700 000. However, the Provincial Department only received a budget that could provide for the building of 30 000 units per year. The conversion of hostels into family housing units was also a costly exercise as hostel dwellers could not afford to pay rent. Most of the people who lived in hostels were elderly people who were solely dependent on social grants for a living while others were unemployed. Most dwellers could not afford to pay R300 for rental. They could only afford R70 towards rental.
The delays in service delivery and the protests were due to a lack of funding to deliver on a large scale. The resources required in achieving large-scale delivery or the eradication of informal settlements by 2010 was a challenge. It was anticipated that the province was not going to meet the 2014 targets of the Millennium Development Goals. The other challenge facing the department was the naming of other projects as Presidential projects, whereas they were financed by the provincial department. There was a need to review policy dealing with bulk infrastructure due to disjuncture in the installation of bulk infrastructure and top structure, as most projects were delayed due to a lack of bulk infrastructure.
Challenge that impact on housing delivery:
á Domestic migration and continental immigration posed a huge impact on Housing delivery in the province.
á Equitable share not increasing.
á In Diepsloot a national task team has been set up to deal with the issue of housing and land has been purchased at R80 000
á Ekurhuleni too dense and it is difficult to relocate people due to lack of temporal structures.
á Entire Bekkarsdaal is sitting on dolomite therefore all those communities will have to be relocated.
á 260 00 units for people leaving in a formal 1999 year lease area has been transferred to qualifying beneficiaries except those in areas of dispute, however dispute mechanism has been set up.
á 4-5 shacks in Eldorado Park installed in one stand, specific intervention to renew Old Township is required.
á In Eden Park 800 beneficiaries have been legitimately approved however, houses are occupied by illegal occupants.
Mr M Mnyani, the Head of Department (HOD), gave an overview of the provincial department. He explained that the merger between the Department of Local Government and the Department of Housing resulted in the creation of the Department of Local Government and Housing. This meant that the delivery of essential services to advance the lives of ordinary people had to be mainstreamed and ensured. This was crucial in that Gauteng is the smallest province with largest population, which grows rapidly as a result of migration and natural growth.
The HOD presented the key programmes of the provincial department as follows:
- Mixed development housing;
- Alternative tenure;
- Eradication of informal settlements; and
- Urban renewal projects.
The province did not have any blocked projects. It was, however, faced with the challenge of some projects failing to produce a closing report and other projects that lacked resources. In dealing with the issuing of title deeds, the Department had appointed Servcon to verify beneficiaries who did not have title deeds and assist them in applying for title deeds. In Soweto , approximately 2 600 title deeds were transferred to the beneficiaries of the old stock houses. Gauteng province did not have any backlogs as far as sanitation was concerned. The department had eradicated the bucket system in all informal settlements.
To address challenges emanating from the waiting list, the department introduced the Housing Demand Database to correct the inefficiencies. Operation Ziveze was launched where applicants were required to update their information so that it could be correctly captured in the new database. The roll out plan of the database includes regionalisation of the customer services unit and the re-opening of municipal satellite offices to bring services to the people. In 2010/11, the province acquired a total of 29 land portions at an estimated cost of R250.4 million.
With regard to the issue of informal settlements, the provincial department reported that the province had 405 informal settlements according to the 2005 census registration and according to the growth statistics in 2009, they had increased to 489. There were 122 informal settlements that were identified and earmarked for formalisation. The remaining 268 settlements would be eradicated.
The delegation observed that there was a discrepancy in the numbers of informal settlements as was reported. The delegation requested the province to provide the correct statistics on informal settlements, indicating the number of informal settlements that were to be formalised, relocated and eradicated.
The HOD reported that the housing backlog at the time of the oversight visit was 687 285. The actual delivery summary for 2009/10 was 12 819 stands; 30 744 houses; 2 910 rental units, which comprised a total of 46 473. The delivery targets for 2010/11 for stands, houses and units were 38 439. The department has embarked on the process of addressing the backlog of service delivery through a two-phased incremental approach which is the:
- formalisation of informal settlements through the provision of basic services; and
- eradication of informal settlements through the provision of formal housing structures.
The department informed the delegation that there were challenges hindering the delivery progress as follows:
- Funding of suitable and well-located land was costly;
- Growing number of informal settlements while others were being eradicated;
- Re-invasion of land and densification once a settlement was targeted for formalisation;
- Availability of resources in order to meet the formalisation target by 2014;
- Poor health conditions and unsafe living environments; and
- Domestic migration and immigration by neighbouring countries huge impact of service delivery.
The department reported that all 12 895 initially identified buckets that were supplied and serviced by the municipality had been eradicated by the end of November 2007. The buckets were either replaced by water borne or VIP sanitation systems. The total number of toilets built were 13 021. The challenge was that whilst the entire identified bucket system in terms of the definition of the Department of Water Affairs had been eradicated, informal settlements continued to develop their own bucket system, which has been a never-ending challenge.
In regard to alternative technology, the province was utilising the services of the Eric Moloi Innovation Hub. The hub provides beneficiaries and end-users with a wider choice of good quality, affordable housing depending on the income level of the beneficiary.
The provincial department has developed a Housing Development Sector Involvement Strategy (HDSIS) for women, youth and persons with disabilities. One of its objectives was to create an environment where women, youth and persons with disabilities could be assisted to access skills and training. The department was also aiming at ensuring that housing was accessed by individuals with special needs, women, youth, person with disabilities, child-headed families and pensioners through its special needs programme.
In regard to rectification, the department informed the delegation that in 2006 it had appointed Servcon to conduct the verification of all occupied houses and serviced stands and to determine the physical conditions of houses and the legality of occupancy. The report showed that there were 121 461 houses built before 2002 needed to be rectified. At the time of the oversight visit it was reported that 117 451 units were repaired and 4 010 units still required rectification. In addition, during the rectification process, units that were 24 to 30 m 2 in size were increased to 40 m 2.
It was further reported that the provincial department was facing funding shortages and challenges in relation to proper budget allocation to implement outcomes-based models. In order for the department to achieve integrated human settlements, it needed to address the challenges of bulk infrastructure and the use of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG).
The affordable rental products were still not supported by policies in the Department of Human Settlements and that the Community Residential Unit (CRU) policy needed to be reviewed as it was too expensive to implement. The acquisition, cost and availability of well-located land was hindering housing delivery. Gauteng has 64 hostels and the provincial department plans to concentrate on 13 hostels during this financial year
The following questions were raised:
- What criteria were used to change from the beneficiary list to the demand database?
- What does the department mean by the small-scale rental programme?
- What progress had the department made in the issuing of title deeds for the government subsidy sector?
- What was the department doing to resolve the challenges of the shortage of land with reference to Kagiso township where four families were sharing one plot?
- What role is the Housing Development Agency (HDA) playing in the acquisition of land?
- What role did the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) play in the projects that were due for rectification and how much money was owed by the province to the NHBRC?
- Why was the department still utilising Servcon whilst its mandate has been expired in 2006
- What is the number of blocked projects and what plans have been put in place to unblock them?
- What progress has been made regarding Presidential projects? Were these projects prioritised?
- What kind of assistance is the department giving to child-headed families?
- What progress has been made in the roll out of the new sanitation programme and what assistance has been given by the national department?
- What challenges have been encountered with regard to environmental impact assessments (EIAs)?
- What challenges have been encountered in the acquisition of temporary relocation structures?
In regard to the issuing of title deeds, the department had appointed Servcon to conduct occupancy verification and delivers title deeds. Subsequent to that, Servcon appointed its own service provider to do the work. A total of 2 600 title deeds for old stock (former 99 year lease houses) in Soweto townships were transferred to the owners. In order to fast-track the issuing of title deeds, the department was going to establish a conveyancing unit within the department to deal with paperwork for all the projects.
It was reported that Servcon contracts with the department ended in 2006, but at the time of the oversight visit it was indicated that the department was still finalising the handover reports. Servcon and Thubelisha projects were implemented by the department.
The department was using a small-scale rental programme. Rental units were built in the backyards of a government subsidy unit in the old stock (municipal houses) to facilitate rental accommodation. This was the departmentÕs attempt to address the demand of houses and the shortage of land.
The department confirmed that it did not owe the NHBRC any registration fees as the last balance was paid. It was further confirmed that all projects were enrolled with the NHBRC.
Three inspectors were assigned to each project as a way of ensuring the quality of the built houses. One inspector was from the NHBRC, one from local government and one from the provincial government.
The department assisted six child-headed families by allocating houses to them to houses and also by referring them to Social Development for assistance in term of grants. In his closing remarks, the HOD assured the delegation that the province has no challenges with regard to sanitation.
Day 2 (3 August 2010)
Visit to national Department of Human Settlements
The delegation was welcomed by the Director-General, Mr T Zulu. He tendered an apology for the Minister of Human Settlements (Mr T M G Sexwale) and the Deputy Minister of Human Settlements (Ms ZA Kota-Fredericks) for not attending the meeting as they had prior engagements.
Hon Dambuza outlined the purpose of the visit, which was, amongst others, to:
- understand the environment in which the department is operating;
- ascertain whether the department has adequate capacity to monitor and evaluate its service delivery implementation; and
- ascertain the capacity of the department to deliver on the new mandate.
Mr Zulu gave a brief overview of the department. There was a need to look at the new strategy. The issue of capacity in relation to the new mandate was being addressed with the Minister. The department was still operating on the old setup, which was not influenced by the new mandate (operating as the Department of Housing). The department was in the process of reviewing housing legislation and policies to accommodate the human settlements mandate. The legal team has been mandated to embark on that process.
In terms of performance contracts, there was a disjuncture as they were drafted for the Department of Housing and did not incorporate the new mandate, especially the sanitation function. It was reported that the performance standards of the Department of Public Service and Administration are very generic and some issues do not cover the expanded mandate of the department.
In response to a question about timeframes for the policy review, it was reported that there were no timeframes but the panel had been appointed to assist in drafting and amending some pieces of legislation and policies to accommodate the human settlements strategy.
The departmentÕs operational environment is informed by the Public Services Act, as amended, the public services code of conduct and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). The departmentÕs staff complement, including senior managers, was 599. A copy of the organogram would be forwarded to the Committee. The staff complement reflecting the gender and demographic breakdown and vacancies was submitted to the delegation.
The department has a fully functional Internal Audit Committee in accordance with the requirement of the PFMA and Treasury Regulations. It comprises independent auditors in accordance with the PFMA requirements. The department also has a Risk Management Committee, which assists the accounting officers in executing the oversight requirement of risk management, and evaluating and monitoring of the institutionÕs performance.
The department has a Special Investigations Directorate whose mandate is to deal with the prevention and detection of corrupt activities and to ensure a reduction of corruption in the human settlements sector. The following policies and strategies are in place to prevent and combat corruption:
- Fraud prevention policy and plans;
- Whistle blowing policy;
- Partnership between the Department and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU); and
- National Audit Task Team (NATT).
The delegation raised the following concerns, questions and points of clarity:
- What plans were in place to fill the vacant positions and were the filling of these vacancies budgeted for?
- How much was the rent for the three buildings that were used by the department and what were the plans to acquire one building?
- Was the department able to roll out service delivery in terms of the new mandate?
- Were the housing institutions functioning and effective?
The vacant positions were budgeted for and the appointment of personnel would be fast-tracked. In regard to the rental of the buildings, the Department of Public Works was facilitating the process and the Department of Human Settlements was reported to be paying R10.5 million per annum for the three buildings. There was a plan to acquire a nearby Electoral Commission (IEC) building which was just across from where the department could accommodate all staff from the three buildings. Negotiations were still underway and the Department of Public Works was facilitating the lease agreement.
The housing institutions were functioning well and effectively in the delivery of houses. However, there were also those that will have to be restructured and some to be closed down as their mandates had matured. It was reported that the Housing Development Agency needed to acquire huge parcels of land as most of the projects could not get off the ground due to the unavailability of suitable and well-located land.
Visit to the Group Five/Everite plant
The delegation was welcomed by Mr M Kistnasamy, National Sales and Marketing Manager: ABT. The leader of the delegation outlined the purpose of the visit. Ms I Makute gave an overview of Group Five/Everite campany. The company was established in 1974 and had a broad footprint. The company also had a new department that dealt with investments and concessions, construction, engineering and manufacturing. In 2009, the company had a good financial year. During the All Africa Games, Group Five built houses in Alexandra for renting purposes. It had projects in Cosmo City and also manufactured temporary relocation houses in Alexandra.
The material used to build houses lasted for almost 60 years. The life span for temporary houses is 30-40 years. Group Five trains and develops local contractors in erecting the units. A 24-30 m2 temporary house costs approximately R43 429. The material used was approved by the CSIR and the SABS. The units could withstand disasters. The structures were properly joined and there would be no need for rectification. Communities were reluctant to accept these units as they were not familiar with them.
During interaction on the alternative technologies, Group Five was advised to popularise its alternative technologies to the communities. The national Department was also advised that it needed to educate people on the ground about the new innovations and technology.
Group Five shared with the delegation some of its contributions made in housing delivery as follows:
¯ Approximately 1 600 units for Gauteng Department of Local Government and Housing (temporary units);
¯ 200 units in Tshwane;
¯ 300 units in Mamelodi; and
¯ Construction of temporary Airport Terminal Buildings ( Umtata ).
The delegation visited the factory where the different materials were manufactured and viewed the different housing structures, the temporary units, VIP toilets and temporary ablution units.
Day 3 (4 August 2010)
Meeting with the Registrar of Deeds
Mr E Steven, Registrar of Deeds, together with his two deputies welcomed the delegation. The purpose of the visit was to understand the processes of issuing title deeds, the process followed in the registration of Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) projects which are known as government subsidy houses, as well as compliance with policies and the Housing Act of 1997, as amended, especially in terms of section 10(a) and (b) that dealt with the deregistration of title deeds.
The delegation was informed that the registration of a title deed took six days to be finalised. In the case of RDP houses or projects, the registration took three days, depending on whether the department approached the Registrar of Deeds on time. T here were no restrictions. Transactions were barred by the Department of Housing. The registration was only rejected when relevant documents were not supplied. In the case on RDP houses or projects, the whole batch was rejected even if only one application lacked certain required information.
Several interactions took place to educate communities on how deeds office works, as people are defrauded due to a lack of knowledge. There was no provision for family title deeds of pre-1994 housing stock. This has resulted in some families fighting over the properties. There was a need to review policies that govern the issuing of title deeds to accommodate common and customary law.
The delegation indicated in some provinces that the old four-roomed municipal houses (pre-1994 stock) were transferred to the occupants (rent payers) who were given title deeds. The delegation further indicated that government needed to address this matter so that these houses could be transferred. Most people owed municipalities exorbitant amounts. Government should assist those people to resolve the matter and transfer the units to the owners.
The delegation had an opportunity to visit the offices where title deeds were kept.
Site visit to Kliptown Golf Course (social housing - rental stock)
The aim of the project was to deliver 932 units. The Johannesburg Housing Company (JOSHCO), a property management company, was appointed by the provincial department to manage and allocate the occupation of units. The department had also appointed the National Housing Finance Corporation (NHFC) as the developer, but due to delays by the developer the department took over the development. Subsequently, another developer was appointed to complete 722 houses. Two hundred and forty three houses were scheduled to be completed in the 2011/12 financial year and two contractors, M5 and Imisebe, were appointed in a joint venture to finalise the houses.
Site visit to Kathrada Park (Silvertown area)
The project started in 2002 and was essentially earmarked to build 583 units. In 2006, 383 units were completed and thereafter the project became blocked. In 2008, only 16 units were built to roof level and were exposed to vandalism and theft as the contractor had disappeared.
The area was de-densified and the province provided temporary relocation units (TRUs) which were made of corrugated iron. The area was further challenged by illegal invasions by both qualifiers and non-qualifiers. The municipality later conducted an occupancy audit in order to verify the occupantsÕ status. During the period of visit the province had already appointed Sea Kay Contractors to unblock the project.
During interaction with the community and the ward councillor, inconsistency in the communication and distribution of information around projects and delivery processes was reported as a huge challenge.
Site visit to Dube hostels in Orlando Township (Temporary relocation units (TRUs))
The project was started in the 2007/08 financial year with the aim of eradicating hostels and integrating the communities. One hundred and six of the 266 TRUs were occupied by February 2010. The units are 40 m² in size with two bedrooms, a stove and kitchen with tiled floors. Madilomo was appointed as a contractor to manage the property and to assist in advising on what should be included in the units.
Orlando West is a women-dominated area where 405 units were intended to be upgraded or built. There were approximately 150 TRUs on site that were electrified. The TRUs will be used to decant families from the old hostel room to allow for infrastructure upgrading and for renovations, which were to commence in September 2010.
It was reported that most of the hostel residents were unemployed and those who were employed were earning less than R1 000 a month, and therefore affordability was a challenge. The following other challenges were also highlighted:
- unavailability of suitable land;
- delays in electricity supply by Eskom or City Power;
- delays in the installation of storm water drainage systems; and
- overcrowding in hostels.
The delegation accepted the information given with the challenges. The delegation stated that the observation on hostel upgrading required an urgent review of policies governing implementation and that the process needed to be fast-tracked.
Day 4 (5 August 2010)
Site visit to Ward 79 - Themba Khoza informal settlement
The ward consists of three big informal settlements, including Tokyo Sexwale informal settlement. Originally the place was occupied by only 45 families, but due to land invasions the number of families increased and the place is currently overcrowded. The residents informed the delegation that they were placed on the land temporarily for a period of three months and were assured that they were going to be moved to their houses. At the time of the visit it was their seventh year of waiting to be relocated to the promised land or development. The land that they were occupying belongs to the Department of Sport and Recreation, who planned to extend the stadium. However, due to a lack of land for housing purposes people refused to be moved.
There was a development nearby to where the people thought that they would be relocated, but due to the demarcation issue, the development fell under another region or municipality (Ekurhuleni). There were no timeframes when the relocation would take place. Operation Ziveze also created challenges as it was shown that most of the people did not qualify as they had already benefited.
The department indicated that the challenge was related to the lack of land and the backlog which stood at approximately 2 400 units.
Site visit to Lusaka section
Various houses were left unfinished for approximately four years and some people were in serviced sites. The project was contractor-driven. In some plots slabs or houses were left half done. Some households were headed by children as they were without parents. The contract to build the houses was awarded to Xhasa who was later removed. The councillor indicated that he did not have enough information about the project and could not furnish reasons why houses were left unfinished. The Department of Human Settlements was giving conflicting information to residents and councillors, which made the lives of councillors miserable.
Adjacent to that project was an informal settlement that had been there for the past three years. The residents were excluded when allocations were made in relation to Lusaka . The people were settled under Eskom power lines and there had been cases where residents were electrocuted.
Site visit to Mafelandawonye 3
The settlements have 135 stands and 688 family shacks or households. The area was densified and later subdivided. There were about four to five families on one plot with one toilet. The electricity box was installed by Eskom in one of the shacks and if the owner was not there, the rest of the families would struggle to gain access to electricity. The residents were informed that during the relocation, only one would be left as the owner. The community was questioning such a decision as the municipality was unable to identify the legitimate owner in that situation. There was no storm-water drainage and no accessible roads. Street lights were installed but they were not functioning. Various cases were reported of some children who were eaten to death by rats and others who were in a critical condition due to injuries sustained. As a result of the overpopulation of the settlement some people were moved to Bagdad .
Site visit to Bagdad
The area has underground water and became flooded during times of heavy rainfall. There is palisade fencing along a dangerous stream to prevent access by children. There was no water supply and toilets in the area. Residents were using plastic bags to relieve themselves. Toilets that were located along the road were far from the communities and were dangerous at night.
Site visit to Ivory Park
The Ivory Park project sought to de-densify and formalise the informal settlements. People will be relocated to the pieces of land within and outside the vicinity of Ivory Park . The following process would unfold:
¯ reduction of stand size site into 100 m2 and rezoning of surrounding land into residential sites;
¯ submission of amended township layout;
¯ re-pegging of stands and approval by Surveyor General;
¯ redevelopment of the temporary relocation sites into mixed housing development.
At the time of the visit there were two contractors that were appointed to build 210 housing units in the area but due to financial constraints they could not start. The site was formalised by the City of Johannesburg and 3 500 families were scheduled to be moved. Stands would be reduced to accommodate people in the area. Most of the shacks were on the flood line.
Water and sewerage were a challenge but there was a plan to upgrade the infrastructure. Water in the nearby dam was contaminated by sewege. The City of Johannesburg needed to proclaim Ivory Park . The project was going to cost R600 million to construct. The City of Johannesburg indicated that it required the full amount in order to start the project. The City stated that its point of departure was to relocate people and involve land surveyors as communities refused to be moved from shack to shack. The City had engaged with the national Department of Human Settlements on the funding proposal but was still awaiting approval.
Site visit to Diepsloot East
Two types of communities were residing in the area, which was made up of approximately 20 000 families. Some were relocated from Alexandra and others were left behind during the construction of Diepsloot West. In Diepsloot East, the plan was to build a mixed development consisting of government subsidy houses and rental stock. The project will provide approximately 6 700 housing opportunities. The environmental impact assessment (EIA) was a challenge because it was found that there were bullfrogs that needed to be protected. The area was on a flood line and 30% of the land was under water and contained indigenous bullfrogs. The lack of funding for the Diepsloot project was also a challenge. It was reported that the project was going to take at least 12 years to be completed, provided that funding would be sorted out.
The municipality indicated that the plan to relocate the bullfrogs was completed and that the majority of them had been moved.
Site visit to Diepsloot West, Ward 95 and Ext 1 and 6
The project started in 2002. Approximately 48 houses were incomplete for seven years and most were owned by orphans. In Ravele Street , there were more than five shacks on one plot and it was a challenge to identify the legitimate owner of the plot. There were no street lights and sewage was running down the street.
In Diepsloot Ext 1 and 6, people invaded houses before the elections of 2003/04 and were still living there. The invaders were also extending their occupation of the houses whereas the actual owners with keys and title deeds were still in shacks. The matter was reported to the department and the then MEC for Housing, Ms Nonkonyana, and the eviction order was granted, but because it was close to an election the occupants were not evicted.
Public meeting at Orange Farm
During the meeting the following challenges were raised by members of the community:
¯ Most contractors appointed by the provincial Department of Housing in relation to sewerage projects were not completing them. Some contractors left a project three years ago. Sewage was flooding onto the streets. The greater part of the area was still using pit-latrine toilets and those with sewerage informed the delegation about the poor quality thereof. The main sewer was installed by Johannesburg Water but was not connected to households, especially those who did not own RDP homes and those who resided in old-stock housing. The connection would be installed only in respect of RDP houses.
¯ In 1995, in a greenfield development in Lake Side the allocation was not conducted properly as people owned more that five sites, and some sites were sold illegally. Some sites were allocated as business sites and others were located in waterlogged areas.
¯ In some areas houses were built for people who did not qualify for government subsidies. It was reported that there was a lack of consistency in housing delivery as some plots were fenced while others were not.
¯ The slow pace in issuing of title deeds was a challenge in the area.
¯ Contractors whose contracts were terminated for shoddy work were later appointed for other projects and continued to build poor structures.
¯ Thubelisha constructed 1 000 units in ward 1 Ext 9 and all those houses have a sewerage problem. Furthermore, 4 000 units were of poor quality.
¯ There was a lack of proper planning coupled with the non-standardisation in delivery of housing projects. For example, some projects conformed to policy (providing a service delivery package with sewer connection, access roads and streets lights).
¯ Johannesburg Water Services has also ordered the people in Ext 29 to pay R100 for sewerage connections; however the sewer remained flooding in their houses.
¯ Contractors left site without completing construction of the houses. After three years the department re-instated their contracts again. The community reported that a constructor called Sea Kay left the site because it was not registered and people were moved to temporary structures are still living there. The Committee inquired how this constructor was appointed without proper documentation.
¯ It was alleged that the provincial department built houses in areas which were not approved by the municipality and at some stage people were allocated housing without a proper screening; hence some people were alleged to have owned five stands.
¯ In respect of Greenfield projects of 1995, ninety five per cent of the people living in the area are not the rightful owners.
¯ In respect of the PHP project, 250 units were set to be constructed; however, only 180 units were constructed and surprisingly, the department claims all that houses have been completed.
¯ The area has a quite number of orphans or child-headed families or households who are highly victimised by stepparents who chase the children away.
¯ Police do not assist in handling conflicts and incidents of intimidation.
The delegation stated that by listening to the presentation it became clear that the problem was too wide and complex; therefore it required an extensive investigation by the national Department of Human Settlements. The quality of most houses was not acceptable. The NHBRC needed to strengthen its inspectorial duty in respect of most projects. Government needed to intervene in the provision of adequate shelter. The department should assist those who did not qualify for RDP houses to be connected to sewerage. Gauteng sewerage was collapsing as the Vaal sewer reservoir was full. It was built to accommodate only 2 million people, but the population has since grown to 11 million people. There was a need to build a new sewer reservoir in the area.
The delegation drove through a number of blocked projects. Some were left at wall height, some at roof level and others at the foundation stage. Sewage was flowing in the streets where children were playing.
Meeting with Executive Mayor of Evaton
The Mayor, Mr Mshudulu, councillors and staff welcomed the delegation. It was reported that the municipality was embarking on the Evaton renewal projects which included the following:
¯ Sewer upgrading project which was almost complete.
¯ Mafetsane Government and Sports Complex which was 98% complete. The aim of the construction, among others, was to create employment opportunities and to provide essential services to the Evaton community.
¯ Temporary relocation village which was going to serve as a buffer so that construction could take place on identified sites. There was also a show village that allowed people to have an idea as to the type of development that would take place in their township. Some of the houses in the show village were allocated to child-headed families.
¯ The municipality had a land release project which was aimed at promoting security of tenure and to fast-track the process of housing delivery.
¯ There was also food gardening for planting vegetables, a brick-making plant and social facilitation for the benefit of the communities.
The municipality only reported on the renewal projects. The delegation further requested the municipality to forward a summary report reflecting the population of the municipality, housing backlog, housing stock before 1994, houses that required rectification, the role played by Housing Development Agency in the acquisition of land and the role played by the private sector.
Day 5 (5 August 2010)
Meeting with the Minister of Human Settlements
The delegation held a meeting with the Minister of Human Settlements, Mr TMG Sexwale, who gave a brief overview of what was happening within the department. The Minister indicated the following:
¯ The President showed a keen interest in human settlements as most of the complaints reaching the Presidential hotline were about housing challenges. He informed the delegation that the department had to be elevated to be one of the top priority departments due to its expanded mandate, as well as challenges encountered by the country in relation to the unrest and protests.
¯ During a special Cabinet Lekgotla, a presentation was made about outcomes that the President had put forward.
¯ Delivery agreements would be signed soon and the first Presidential Coordinating Council (PPC1) has been established (Human Settlements)
¯ The department was requested to deliver a presentation on the perspective of spatial planning at the national planning seminar.
¯ The National Planning Commission would prioritise eight objectives and design its national integrated plan and the Department of Human Settlements would feed into its plan.
¯ There was a need for new cities to be built in the democratic era.
¯ The construction of bulk infrastructure services was a huge challenge that requires urgent attention by government.
¯ The housing backlog which was due to growth in informal settlement dwellings, as well as farm evictions, was also cited as a burden to government.
¯ Another concern was the issue of slow growth in Cape Town and Gauteng that required R3 billion for bulk infrastructure.
¯ The Minister further informed the delegation that he would meet with farmers to address housing issues affecting farm worker/farm dwellers.
The leader of the delegation welcomed the briefing by the Minister. She stated that the Portfolio Committee was committed and willing to provide support to the initiatives and programmes of the department.
The delegation shared with the Minister its observations during the site visits, as follows:
¯ Bulk infrastructure was a challenge that delayed most projects and the roll-out of basic services. Overloaded sewer systems were also a challenge. The City of Johannesburg indicated that there were no short-term plans in place to overcome the sewer challenges.
¯ Lack of co-ordination and co-operation by spheres of government.
¯ Inadequate budgets to start projects.
¯ Unoccupied houses that were exposed to vandalism and theft
¯ people benefited in government subsidy houses whereas they were not qualifying r as well as those members of the community that owned more than one house. This showed that there was lack of monitoring in the allocation process.
¯ The selling or renting of government subsidy houses was also alarming.
¯ The illegal occupation of government subsidy houses in some areas was not acceptable as the rightful owners with title deeds were on the street. This needed to be addressed.
¯ Challenges of affordability by the people who live in converted hostels needed to be addressed. Most people are elderly and depend solely on a pension to survive. The policy on the conversion of hostels needed to be reviewed.
Meeting at and site visit to Alexandra Renewal Programme (ARP)
The delegation was welcomed by Councillor Maseko of Ward 75. Mr J Sithole ARP Chief Executive Officer briefed the delegation on the progress made by the renewal programme. He informed the delegation that:
¯ there were 1 229 subsidy houses and 1 695 affordable rental stock in Ext 9 (K206).
¯ there were 1 389 RDP (government subsidy) houses in Ext 7.
¯ In Eastbank there was a project to construct 520 affordable rental units with solar systems which would be administered by JOSCHO.
¯ there were 50 RDP (government subsidy) flats in Malboro Flats. The maintenance of the flats was a challenge. The plan was to convert them into rental stock.
¯ there were 96 social housing houses and 286 affordable rental units at M2 Hostel. A contractor who was appointed to finalise the project went bankrupt.
¯ 181 units were built in Ext 8. However, conflict arose between the surrounding communities and hostel dwellers.
¯ Old Alexandra has 350 social houses and is perceived as a violent area. The project manager planned to build 82 temporary relocation units on the nearby vacant land. The challenge is that these hostels have been ignored for several years and the number of people living there has doubled in numbers.
The delegation was concerned about JOSCHO who seemed to be the only company administering projects. The lack of co-operation by the province in ensuring that the renewal programme was a success would need to be taken forward as the life of ARP was very important and required dedicated resources to be channelled by respective departments as well as the provincial department. The Portfolio Committee would need to engage with the Minister at national level. The lack of resources needs to be addressed and the private sector should play a role. The people who were refusing to relocate were a challenge and ARP needed to have a plan in place as the houses would be vandalised. The lack of funding for such a huge project which was aimed at assisting the poor was condemned by the delegation.
Mr Sithole further indicated that ARP was working with all the relevant departments and was trying to assist where possible, and that they were not paying for the services rendered. JOSCHO is a company that works with the City of Johannesburg and argued that it charged better rates than others. The city was also meant to create Alexandra Property Management to assist with ARP projects. ARP was pleased with the work done and the quality of the units developed. ARP was going to operate as a project and not as an extension of the City of Johannesburg .
Site visit to Banakekele Hospice
Banakekele Hospice was the only hospice in Alexandra and had been servicing the surrounding areas since 2001. The hospice was operating in a warehouse and the rental had become too expensive to afford. The hospice had a staff complement of 27 people. Hospice management approached ARP to assist as it was struggling to acquire a building for its operations. ARP assisted the hospice by offering a school building which was vacant. Hospitals and clinics were referring their terminally ill patients to the hospice. The hospice was using a van (bakkie) to pick up the sick, the elderly and the disabled and transport them to the hospice.
Hospice management indicated that the school premises were not suitable for such an operation. The hospice had land that needed to be developed, but funding was required. The delegation indicated that the matter would be reported to Parliament for further discussion and referral to other relevant committees. The delegation appreciated the assistance provided by ARP to the hospice.
Meeting in Codevco offices
Cosmo City was initiated by the Gauteng Department of Housing and the City of Johannesburg in late 1998. Codevco (Basil Read) were appointed as a preferred developer in 2000. After many years of court cases against objections to the development, Basil Read eventually broke ground in January 2005. Cosmo City was the first mixed-use, fully integrated sustainable housing development in South Africa .
The mandate given to Basil Read was to develop a human settlement with a sustainable environment to educate communities on how to manage their houses and to develop a nursery to green the area. The Danish government donated solar panels for the area. In 2005, the eradication of three informal settlements started with the shacks that were in the river bank. Those who did not qualify for subsidy houses were then given an option of rental accommodation. Various sites were set aside by Codevco among other to business, churches, a school and for a police station.
In Cosmo City , the land used to accommodate three informal settlements that were eradicated. The area comprised 60 000 households. A total of 12 500 units have been constructed on 1 105 hectares of land. The challenge was that the EIA took too long and the project required co-operation from all departments. Another challenge was that most of the people on the waiting list did not qualify for the government subsidy. Mention was made of other successful developments around the country. A similar project would be started in Cape Town .
Site visit to Cosmo City
The delegation had an opportunity to tour the newly-built community centre, low-cost houses, rental accommodation and mortgage bond houses. Cosmo City is a well-structured project that demonstrates integrated settlements.
Day 6 (6 August 2010)
Meeting with Ekurhuleni Municipality
A Member of the Mayoral Council (MMC) welcomed the delegation. She believed that such a visit was an opportunity for the municipality to share the frustrations it faced daily. It was mentioned that a one-day visit was not enough for Ekurhuleni Municipality . She suggested that it would be reasonable to spend a week to oversee the situation in the area. Planning in the municipality takes long as the process is undertaken over and over, for example projects as from 1996 to 2005 were still not yet implemented as they have to wait until the other spheres of government directed funds for implementation.
In regard to the protests within the municipality, several issues triggered the incidents, such as delays in upgrading the Thokoza hostels which were 60 years old and in a dilapidated state, the chemical toilets that were provided to the communities as well as the alleged unfair allocation of government subsidy houses. However, hostel upgrading has been in the Integrated Development Plans of the municipality for a long time but there was a lack of funds to accomplish the plans. Councillors find themselves in a difficult situation and are traumatised because the communities held them responsible for the delays.
The Empilisweni informal settlement development progress was delayed as a result of a Constitutional Court judgment. The housing problem in the municipality was huge. The population in the area constituted 3,7 million with 122 informal settlements and 22 hostels. The number of the backyard dwellers was also extremely huge. The conditions of the hostels are terrible and upgrading of these hostels would costly. The upgrading of the hostel would cost the municipality about R6 billion.
Ms E Ngobeni, Project Manager: Gauteng Department of Local Government and Housing, informed the delegation that 40% of land is dolomite to the extent that there was a possibility of demolishing Natalspruit Hospital due to the warning signs of the dolomite. Some parts are wetlands surrounded by lakes and others were privately owned. The municipality reported that the Minister of Human Settlements visited the area a year ago and offered R25 million for the immediate electrification of the hostels. The national department promised to transfer the money. However, at the time of the visit the money had not yet been transferred. To respond to the mounting pressure from the community, the municipality decided to scrape its reserves and fund the installation of temporary electrification of hostels at a cost of R12 million.
The municipality has set aside R700 million for land acquisition, but delays were caused by agreements between provincial departments and the HDA. The Operation Ziveze project did not assist in resolving housing challenges in the area; hence the waiting list is dated as far back as 1996.
The following challenges were experienced:
¯ Ramaphosa Ð land donated by Iscor and people do not want to move.
¯ Mt Everest and kwa Thema Ð not enough resources to cover 7 000 people, however the area is well looked after
¯ Emavangeni kwa Thema - about 1200 people obtain title deeds but no funds to build their houses only 20 units to be constructed.
¯ Tswelopele in Ramaphosa and Eden Park - residence have occupied houses illegally
¯ In monitoring Bylaws compliance, the municipality does not have reaction unity and private companies required funding.
Site visit Harry Gwala informal settlements (Beachfront)
The delegation visited the area where 1 600 shacks were built close to the dam. The residents of the informal settlement were refusing to move to a safer area and claimed that they would be far from schools and their places of work. Some shacks were built at the edge of the road close to the dam (flooded area). The area is life threatening to communities. The houses that were built for the communities of Beachfront were completed and ready for occupation. The municipality feared that the houses would be vandalised and be the crime zone as houses stood empty for some time.
Meeting at and site visit to Mshayazafe Hostel in Thokoza
The hostel is in ward 52 and consists of 41 residential blocks with 6 800 tenants. The block is dilapidated to the extent that it will have to be demolished and the site would be converted to community residential units (CRUs). It is also surrounded by informal settlements. The municipality had appointed a contractor to provide maintenance and the department appointed a service provider to conduct pre-planning studies and detail designs in terms of the CRU policy. The temporary electrification has been installed in hostels 1 and 2 in such a manner that the substation and power cables can be re-used in future developments.
Feasibility studies in phase 1 have been completed, and in phase 2 the Council for Geoscience has requested additional drilling to determine the dolomite conditions. Community facilitation was ongoing and the relocation plan was finalised.
The municipality would develop a temporary relocation plan that should include the moving of 130 communities to temporary relocation units (TRUs) from Buyafuthi Hostel Complex to Thokoza hostels. The plan will outline which hostel will be demolished and where the TRUs will be placed. The plan will also list the activities with timeframes and costs. The provision of temporary services and security to the TRUs will also be part of the relocation plan.
The municipality had the following challenges:
¯ Adverse dolomite conditions;
¯ Insufficient funding;
¯ Overpopulation in hostels;
¯ Determining the future rental amount
¯ Very limited TRUs
The community informed the delegation that the Minister had visited the area in October 2009 and promised that an amount of R25 million would be transferred by the national department to electrify the hostel but to date the money was not yet received. It was indicated that the Ekurhuleni region has 22 hostels, all in terrible conditions, 122 informal settlements and backyard dwelling was also extremely huge. The land is dolomite, wetlands and most privately owned. The sewer system was in a decaying state.
The delegation observed the following:
¯ The deteriorating, aging bulk infrastructure was hampering development in the province.
¯ In Ivory Park informal settlements (e.g. Mafela 3 and 2) an average of five households occupied a single stand, which included access to a single, shared power point. This compromises the rights of other occupants to access basic services like electricity and further creates challenges for households to manage their budgets.
¯ Prior to 2004 in Diepsloot, houses were occupied illegally while the rightful owners were still living in informal settlements. Thus far, the province has not addressed the issue or assisted rightful owners to occupy their houses.
¯ There were approximately 64 hostels in the province and most of them were in a very poor state. To convert these hostels into community residential units (CRUs) would be a very costly exercise, and current residents who are mostly dependent of social grants would not be able to afford to pay the rent.
¯ About 90% of Orange FarmÕs challenges were related to sewer connections due to service providers that are alleged to lack capacity. Furthermore, some contractors failed to complete projects. However, the province continued to award contracts to some of those alleged contractors. Access roads were also in a very poor condition.
¯ The Banakekele Hospice was hosted in an unused school building and was not suitable for persons in frail care and people with disabilities. The hospice acquired land, but required assistance with future funding for a formal structure and equipment.
¯ At Harry Gwala Beachfront approximately 1 600 shacks were situated on a floodplain next to a lagoon. The province allocated 305 new houses for the relocation of residents to a new area. However, residents refused to relocate, arguing that the new site was further away from their places of work and schools.
¯ The province was experiencing similar challenges to other provinces in respect of blocked projects, e.g. Kliptown, Lusaka Section in Ivory Park , Orange Farm, etc. However, the province categorically denied the existence of any blocked projects.
¯ In Lusaka Section shacks were erected under power lines and residents were exposed to electrical shocks on a daily basis. The situation was so dire that residents could not use metal eating utensils or push a wheelbarrow.
¯ In Silvertown the province provided residents with temporary relocation units (TRUs) made of corrugated iron. The delegation noted that corrugated iron is not a healthy alternative since it is either too hot during summer or too cold during winter.
¯ Alleged fraudulent and corrupt practices in the allocation of houses were raised sharply in all areas visited.
¯ Public participation remains a challenge, especially in the dissemination of information which is very inconsistent.
¯ The Lack of proper communication between councillors, the city and the province resulted in conflicts between ward councillors and communities.
The Committee recommends the following:
To the Minister of Human Settlements:
- To commission a special investigation of all human settlements challenges, including sanitation challenges facing the Orange Farm community due to the complexity and extent of the problem. A written progress report on the matter should be submitted to the Committee within three months after its report has been adopted by the House..
- To urgently intervene in relation to the Harry Gwala Beachfront informal settlement. The Committee is concerned about the physical safety of residents in the area because of the serious risk of flooding in the event of heavy rains. A written report on the matter should be submitted to the Committee within two months after its report has been adopted by the House..
- To facilitate the policy review that will provide guidance, future strategies and funding strategies for the advancement and enhancement of the Alexandra Renewal Project. A written report on the matter should be submitted to the Committee within three months after its report has been adopted by the House..
- To fulfil the commitment made by the Minister to the Ekurhuleni Municipality for the electrification of Thokoza hostels. A written report on the matter should be submitted to the Committee within three months after its report has been adopted by the House.
- To ensure that the national Department of Human Settlements:
5.1 Give urgent attention to bulk infrastructure in Gauteng by building new reservoirs and by upgrading existing sewer plants and reservoirs. This initiative requires co-operation from various departments. The department should report to back to the Committee in writing within three months after the report has been adopted by the House.
5.2 Initiate a strategy to assist the rightful owners of houses occupied illegally in Diepsloot and other areas by giving those people houses. A written report on the matter should be submitted to the Committee within two months after the report has been adopted by the House.
5.3 Provide an updated report of informal settlements in the Gauteng province and its strategic plans for the eradication and upgrading of such settlements and provide support to the households in Ivory Park by completing the houses that were left unfinished. A written report on the matter should be submitted to the Committee within three months after its report has been adopted by the House.
5.4 Address the challenges of the Silverton TRUs urgently and attend to the allocation of units to legitimate beneficiaries. Those who cannot be accommodated in the area should be assisted by obtaining accommodation in other areas. A written report on the matter should be submitted to the Committee within three months after its report has been adopted by the House.
5.5 Consider the filling of vacant posts urgently. A written report on the matter should be submitted to the Committee within two months after its report has been adopted by the House.
5.6 Present a Report on Whistle Blowing Policy to the Committee within two months after its report has been adopted by the House.
5.7 Receive the human settlements development programme from the Evaton Municipality and submit it to the Committee within three months after the CommitteeÕs report has been adopted by the House.
5.8 An urgent intervention is required by the three spheres of government to address the challenge of sewage in some of the informal settlements and Orange Farm. The department should submit a written report on the matter to the Committee within three months after the CommitteeÕs report has been adopted by the House.
It is recommend that the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform request the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform:
- To review policies that governs the issuing of title deeds to accommodate common and customary law.
- To consider the provision of family title deeds of pre-1994 housing stock in order to fast-track the transfer of such houses to the present occupants.
- To share the outreach programme initiated by the Registrar of Deeds in the Gauteng province (educating communities about the importance/necessity of being in possession of a title deed) with other provinces and also encourage them to implement the programme.
- To assist the Ekurhuleni Municipality to access Transnet land which was donated by Iscor.
It is also recommending that the Portfolio Committees on Social Development and Health request the Ministers of Social Development and of Health:
- To provide financial support to the Banakekele Hospice for the construction of a proper facility on already-acquired land.
- To provide funds to purchase the necessary equipment for the hospice.
Report to be considered.
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