ATC120215: Report on oversight visit to Mpumalanga, dated 15 February 2012

Mineral Resources and Energy

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements on oversight visit to Mpumalanga, dated 15 February 2012

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements on oversight visit to Mpumalanga , dated 15 February 2012


The Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements (the Committee), having conducted an oversight visit to Mpumalanga from 24 to 30 July 2011 in relation to the implementation of the human settlements strategic plans, projects and programmes , reports as follows:


1. Background


In terms of South Africa ’s Constitution of 1996 as well as 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, the Committee undertakes provincial oversight visits to evaluate progress and identify challenges encountered in respect of the implementation of programmes and projects. Furthermore, the Committee seeks to promote and enhance intergovernmental relations and co-operative governance principles in the delivery of human settlement services. To give effect to its strategic plan, the Committee conducted an oversight visit to the Mpumalanga province from 24 to 30 July 2011.


2. Objectives of the visit


The objective of the visit was to conduct briefing sessions with the provincial department and other stakeholders in relation to the implementation of human settlement strategic plans, projects and programmes. In addition, the Committee recognised a need to conduct site visits. The focus was on the following key issues:


· Implementation of a comprehensive, integrated human settlements strategy in the province;

· Performance in meeting service delivery targets identified for 2010/11, as well as and challenges encountered;

· Role of public and private sectors in service delivery;

· Plans, programmes and service delivery targets for 2011/12;

· Progress in supporting disaster-affected communities;

· Blocked projects and plans to unblock them;

· Strategies in relation to the rectification programme;

· Number of informal settlements, the plan and the progress in upgrading such settlements, including Community Residential Units (CRUs);

· Implementation of Farm Worker Assistance Programme;

· Co-ordination and management of the beneficiary list and incorporation of backyard dwellers in the provincial housing database;

· Use of alternative technologies in construction.


3. Multiparty delegation


The delegation consisted of Hon BN Dambuza (ANC) as leader of the delegation; Hon MR Mdakane (ANC); Hon GM Borman (ANC); Hon NA Mnisi (ANC); Hon D Dlakude (ANC); Hon AM Figlan (DA) and Hon AC Steyn (DA).


The delegation was accompanied by the following parliamentary officials: Ms K Pasiya (Committee Secretary), Mr L Tsoai (Researcher), Mr M Erasmus (Committee Assistant), Ms F Kwaza (Communications Office) and Mr B More and Mr N Maganlal (Sound and Vision Unit).


The national Department of Human Settlements was represented by the following officials: Mr P Chauke (Chief Director: Monitoring and Evaluation and Acting Chief Director: Sanitation); Mr M Kraba (Parliamentary Liaison); Ms M Mangqalaza (Director: Sanitation); Ms R Mapheto (Director: Grant Management); Ms L Werner (Director: Implementation Support); Mr A Matshego (Deputy Director: Management Information Services); Mr C Zingitwa (Deputy Director: Transformation); Mr J Ngoepe (Chief Planner: Monitoring and Evaluation) and Mr T Nkome (Chief Planner: Monitoring and Evaluation).


The delegation of the provincial legislature was led by Hon SPD Skhosana (Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs) who was accompanied by the following officials: Mr S Msibi (Co-ordinator: Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Ms P Kola Researcher, Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.


The provincial Department of Human Settlements was led by Mr SG Sono (Acting Chief Director); Mr F Ngobe (Acting Director: Communication); Ms C Mazibuko (Communication and Protocol Officer); Ms N Mdluli (Administration Officer: Stakeholder Management); Mr H Makhubele (Deputy Director and Regional Co-ordinator: Sanitation); Mr R Mbambo (Deputy Director: Sanitation Programme) and Ms C Mathebula (Community Development Officer).


4. Executive summary


The central objective of the oversight visit was to afford the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements a direct engagement with the provincial Department of Human Settlements in Mpumalanga , the municipalities and other stakeholders. By so doing the Committee intended to critically assess the implementation of human settlements strategic plans, projects and programmes in general.


The delegation had an opportunity to interact with the provincial Department, the MEC for Human Settlements and his team, the Chairperson of the provincial Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and also held meetings with various communities and other stakeholders. Site visits were undertaken to three district municipalities, namely Ehlanzeni, Gert Sibande and Nkangala.


During the visit it was evident that the province was committed to implementing and enhancing Outcome 8. For instance, in Nkangala at Klarinet, an integrated development project of 960 units had since been started and 20 units had been set aside to accommodate people living with disabilities. The project entailed the upgrading of informal settlements and rental stock as well as paying particular attention to challenges posed by the gap market. Implementation of the Community Residential Units programme was also taking place alongside the People’s Housing Process in which 5 000 units had been set aside for reconfiguration of plans which would involve co-operatives. The province had adopted a strategic plan to roll out a comprehensive rural development programme including agri-villages development, for example the Van Wyk Vlei Agri-Village.


However, the Committee identified the following critical challenges and areas of concern:

· Huge housing backlog.

· Lack of bulk infrastructure: houses were being built with no basic infrastructure in a number of projects.

· Inadequate planning: projects were approved on land without having conducted any proper geotechnical studies. For example, in Thaba Chweu it was discovered that land on which a project had been approved was dolomitic.

· Invisibility of the National Home Builders’ Registration Council (NHBRC) and the Housing Development Agency (HDA).

· Lack of proper management of the beneficiary list.

· Lack of dedicated policy to regulate the roll-out of the sanitation programme.

· Lack of monitoring of contractors resulting in incomplete housing structures and non-compliance with regulations, thus compromising quality.

· Limited community consultation on the part of municipalities: it was a fundamental principle that targeted communities ought to have been involved in all aspects of their housing and human settlements solutions.

· Disaster-affected areas not prioritised: in Bushbuckridge Municipality , bridges that were washed away during heavy rains were not rebuilt, which resulted in school children struggling to get to schools in the affected areas.

· Working relations of national and provincial departments with municipalities: Although the national and provincial departments claimed to have good working relations with municipalities, interaction on the ground indicated otherwise.


5. Overview of meetings and site visits


Day 1: 24 July 2011


5.1 Meeting with the MEC for Human Settlements, Mr S Masango, provincial Department of Human Settlements and other stakeholders


The delegation was welcomed by the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs) , who further acknowledged and appreciated that in Parliament there was no day that was not a working day. He extended the Speaker’s warm welcome to the delegation of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements. He highlighted that the province understood the responsibility and the seriousness of the Committee in executing its mandate. He tendered the apology for the provincial Committee members as they had attended the Mandela Day celebration activities. He advised the delegation that the provincial Committee and the Executive had a very good working relationship and were co-operating with each other. On challenges, he indicated that in general they were common and improvements to address such challenges had been made. Resolutions taken by the provincial legislature were managed by the provincial department and almost all of them have been dealt with.


The leader of the delegation provided an overview of the delegation’s expectations from the presentations and informed the meeting about the delegation’s intentions to conduct on-site visits. Amongst others, the delegation was interested in how effect was given to the priorities identified in the state-of–the-nation address (Sona) and government priorities as set out in the outcomes-based approach, the newly-transferred sanitation function, the role of the private sector and traditional leadership in the province, as well as adherence to policy and legislative prescripts, including the signing of the performance agreement between the MEC and the Head of Department (HOD) and between the HOD and his directorates.


The delegation was also interested in understanding how effective the province had been in improving intergovernmental relations with the municipalities, community involvement in their development, contractors as well as housing institutions. The discussions would also be guided by the information gathered from various oversight reports of Parliamentary Committees such as Adhoc Committee on Coordinated oversight on service delivery and the Select Committee on Public Services, including the presentations made by the national Department of Human Settlements to the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements.


5.1.1 Outline by MEC for Human Settlements, Mr S Masango

The MEC informed the delegation that the programme of the provincial department was informed by the state-of-the-national address and other legislative prescripts. The vision of the national department has slightly shifted, taking account the provision of all amenities as well as working with other departments. Water, sanitation and land invasions were challenges which resulted in delays in keeping and sustaining the developmental agenda.


5.1.2 Presentation by Head of Department (HOD) of Human Settlements, Mr D Dube


The HOD informed the delegation that the work of the provincial department was informed by the state-of-the-nation address as delivered on 3 June 2009. The state of the province as requested by the Committee was indicated below:


The provincial department had developed a comprehensive plan for integrated human settlements that required all settlements, urban and rural, to be the products of an integrated planning approach. These developmental processes occurred within the Spatial Development Framework of the municipalities in the province. In order for the provincial department to achieve the objective of integrated, sustainable human settlements, it had embarked on the following strategies:


· Identification and purchase of well-located land (eg Friedenheim at Mbombela and Donkerhoek at Emakhazeni).

· Informal settlements upgrading or eradication.

· Urban Renewal and Inner City Rejuvenation (eg Mbombela and Emalahleni).

· Development of social and economic facilities (eg libraries, community halls, schools, etc).

· Servicing of sites.

· Upgrading of existing and creation of new Integrated Human Settlements/Breaking New Ground (BNG) (eg Emalahleni, Dipaleseng, Steve Tshwete and Emakhazeni).

· Support for Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) sites (eg Chief Albert Luthuli, Mkhondo, Bushbuckridge, Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Dr JS Moroka, Thembisile Hani and Nkomazi local municipalities.

In meeting the service delivery targets indentified for 2010/11, the provincial department has been engaging in a number of processes as part of the planning cycle as prescribed by government. During the 2009/10 financial year, the provincial department focused on realising the vision of integrated human settlements in the province. Key to the commitment for the 2010/11financial year was the creation of multi-year Integrated Human Settlements. These included the Breaking New Ground projects at Thaba Chweu, Emalahleni (Klarinet) and Dipaleseng municipalities.


During the 2010/2011 financial year, a total of 9 860 of the planned 10 955 units, including hostels, were delivered. The following instruments contributed to this substantial achievement:

· Informal settlement upgrading – 4 022

· People’s Housing Process – 2 158

· Emergency housing assistance – 67

· Individual subsidies programme – 425

· Farm worker assistance – 89

· Rural interventions – 1 464

· Procurement of 28 water trucks by the Department, as part of the redefined mandate, to support water distribution to municipalities.


Municipalities encountered challenges of poor alignment of plans, financial constraints in the implementation of BNG projects, non-performing contractors, service delivery protests and mushrooming informal settlements, eg Mbombela and Victor Khanye municipalities.


The HOD explained that the delivery of sanitation was done through the Sanitation Unit in the national Department of Human Settlements. In line with the Rural Household Infrastructure Programme (RHIP) for the 2011/12 financial year, a total of R4 million had been allocated to Nkomazi and R4 million to Bushbuckridge local municipalities. Sanitation projects were being implemented and the national Department of Human Settlements had to sign service level agreements (SLAs) with two water service authorities. The Nkomazi SLA has already been signed since the sanitation projects commenced in the previous year (2010/11). The two municipalities had to provide their business plans. Bushbuckridge and Nkomazi local municipalities had to ratify benefiting areas in accordance with Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) and priority rural areas. The sanitation infrastructure delivered nine out of eleven planned sanitation projects in various villages of Nkomazi in 2010/11. About 250 jobs were created through the delivery of sanitation projects in the municipality during the past financial year.


The national department engaged the public through the IDP processes by actively participating during the formulation stages of IDPs in municipalities. In terms of private sector collaboration, government signed with Financial Sector Charter. Large-scale investment was made in low-cost and affordable housing by the banks. The Klarinet integrated housing project located in Emalahleni Local Municipality was the first large-scale integrated housing project implemented in the province. The project was being implemented by ABSA DevCo and co-funded by the Emalahleni Local Municipality , the Mpumalanga Department of Human Settlements, the provincial Department of Energy and Absa Bank. Upon completion, different income groups will take occupation. Burnstone mine was involved in the delivery of People’s Housing Process units in Dipaliseng. Burnstone mine contributed an amount of R10 000 for each housing unit.



The provincial department was planning to prioritise rural development and was playing a critical role in the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP). A total of 5 300 PHP housing units would be spread over the poverty-stricken municipalities. Apart from PHP delivery, the department also planned to deliver between 300 to 470 housing units under the Farm Worker Assistance Programme and the Rural Settlements Programme respectively.


In terms of urban renewal and inner city rejuvenation, the provincial department planned to provide rental stock, particularly in and around the province’s economically active municipal nodes. In partnership with human settlements associations or institutions, a total of 550 rental units would be delivered during the 2011/12 financial year. At the time of the visit, the provincial department reported that it was assessing dilapidated buildings in Nelspruit and Emalahleni for inner-city rejuvenation. It has allocated a budget of R25 million for this project. Whilst delivering on new projects, attention would be given to 600 houses that were built before 1994 and which had structural defects.


A total of 2 150 units would be constructed through the Informal Settlements Eradication Programme. As part of the Integrated Residential Development Programme, 8 235 stands would be developed and 1 600 top structures would be delivered. The Emakhazeni and Steve Tshwete municipalities have been identified for the further roll-out of Breaking New Ground (BNG) Projects.


The provincial department and the province have focused on two key areas to improve access to basic services:

· Supporting municipalities to reach all communities and households with services;

· Ensuring that all developments (Human Settlements) that the provincial department is involved in have the minimum services in place upon completion.

The province was participating in the development of a provincial Bulk Water Infrastructure Plan as part of a number of interventions in this area in order to ensure that water resources in the province were made available for posterity. The Department had developed an intervention plan in conjunction with the Department of Water Affairs, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and municipalities to address immediate bulk water shortages and challenges in the province by providing support to municipalities pertaining to this critical service.


The provincial department was also supporting the disaster-affected areas by implementing the Emergency Housing Assistance programme as per the municipality’s demands. The municipality submitted a list of the affected areas, and the department would in turn conduct a technical assessment of the damage and provide suitable interventions. In the last financial year the department delivered 67 emergency housing units to disaster-affected communities throughout the province.


There were blocked projects in the province that could not be continued due to various challenges that could not be addressed immediately. In some cases the challenges are contravention of certain laws. A project at Kameelrivier in Dr JS Moroka was approved for 1 000 units as a project-linked developer driven. The developer failed to deliver as stipulated in the contractual agreement due to a land dispute. At the time, services such as water and toilets had already been paid for. The land dispute dragged on for a long time until the municipality purchased the land itself. The department would engage with the municipality to resuscitate the project and implement it as a BNG project.


The Matsulu Railway Infill at Mbombela was approved for 350 units in July 2003. Implementation was done in two phases. The first phase consisted of 125 units as in-situ development. All the units were completed. The second phase entailed the formalisation of the provision of services and the building of 225 houses. In the first phase 125 houses were completed, 14 houses were at different stages of construction and 86 houses could not be built due to an illegal, forceful invasion. Efforts to evict the illegal occupants were unsuccessful due to the reluctance of the South African Police Service to institute an eviction notice.


The department indicated that in terms of rectification, a consultant was appointed to conduct assessments on the extent of the damage to the houses and provide a full report and the bill of quantities for the work to be done. Based on the information, the contractor would be appointed; and that was referring to pre 1994 houses as well as 1994-2002.


In Nkangala District Municipality assessments were conducted in 2006 on 1 000 pre-1994 housing units but the units could not be rectified because of insufficient funds for the programme. Only 100 units have been planned for rectification at Steve Tshwete Local Municipality during the current financial year. In respect of Ehlanzeni District Municipality an assessment was conducted in Mbombela Local Municipality on 500 units but only 65 units were rectified. In Umjindi Local Municipality 500 housing units were assessed but only 84 units have been rectified.

In respect of Gert Sibande District Municipality as assessment was conducted in Lekwa Local Municipality on 400 pre-1994 housing units. The consultant’s report suggested that 80% of the houses should be demolished and rebuilt. Two contractors were on site constructing 150 housing units. Another 500 post-1994 units were assessed in Dipaleseng, of which 75 have been rectified.

With regard to the informal settlement dwellings, the province has 139 informal settlements with 109 000 households. A total of 15 020 housing units have been delivered through the informal settlements eradication process from the 2007/08 to 2010/11 financial years. In 2008/09 to 2010/11, the department serviced 8 280 sites. In 2010/11, 244 units were delivered under the Community Residential Units Programme. In 2007/08 to 2010/11, three hostels were converted. This was equivalent to 531 rental units .

The provincial department planned to eradicate informal settlements through the delivery of 21 184 units which is a portion for Mpumalanga derived from the national target, servicing sites, delivery of 5 296 affordable and social housing, and the identification and purchase of well-located land for rental stock.

The provincial department has progressed extensively in the implementation of the CRU programme which entails the conversion of the old apartheid hostel blocks into habitable family units for rental purposes. Three hostel blocks were completed and the others were in progress. There were approximately 452 units completed in various municipalities in the province. The provincial department was faced with the challenge of non-occupation of some of the completed units that were ready for occupation. The reasons for non-occupation related to the affordability of the rates charged. The provincial department was engaged in a process to resolve this problem by meeting with the various stakeholders, including the municipality, the prospective occupants and community leaders in the areas where the problem had occurred.


The provincial department reported that in dealing with the farm worker assistance programme, it had planned to intervene in four local municipalities in relation to housing delivery for the 2011/12 financial year. The intervention by the provincial department came after a municipality identified suitable land and made a request for housing. In other instances farmers volunteered out of their own goodwill to release land to settle their workers. Projects planned were at various stages of implementation and consultants would be appointed to conduct environmental impact assessments and geo-technical studies to determine the suitability of the land for housing delivery. In other instances the Department has moved a step further by building and successfully completing housing units in various municipalities.


In managing the beneficiary list, the provincial departmental officials assisted the respective municipalities in cases where beneficiaries applied for houses. Applications were then included in the municipal system and were later submitted to the provincial department once a project had been approved and allocated to the municipality. The processing of the applications in the provincial department was done through the Housing Subsidy System which was co-ordinated by the national Department of Human Settlements. It was indicated that the province had 139 informal settlements comprising 109 000 households. A breakdown per municipality was provided to the Committee.


The province has not yet implemented any form of alternative building technologies as it was employing the conventional construction approach (brick and mortar). Three show houses using alternative technology were constructed at Phumlani village. The provincial department would still to take a decision on this matter.


5.1.3 Concerns and questions for clarity


  • The delegation was concerned about the provincial departments’ report which indicated that its comprehensive plan started in 2009, whereas it was adopted in 2004 as a Breaking New Ground strategy.


  • A concern was raised regarding the role of Housing Development Agency in the acquisition of land. To what extent has the provincial department utilised the land which was purchased for approximately R95 million in 2008? How many housing units had been developed and in which areas?


  • The report failed to indicate the delivery targets planned for the 2011/12 financial and the initial backlog, including timeframes.


  • Clarity was sought why R8 million was allocated for sanitation projects in 2010/11 while business plans were still to be submitted (Bushbuckridge and Nkomazi Municipalities ).


  • With regard to the nine sanitation projects in Nkomazi, how many units had been constructed and in which areas?


  • Were environmental impact assessments conducted prior to the commencement of the projects?


  • How the provincial department manages to fund the disaster-affected area as Mpumalanga was not declared a disaster-affected province?


  • A concern was raised with regard to the information provided on the sanitation programme and further explanations were requested. The issue of the bucket system was also raised. The delegation alluded to the fact that the VIP toilets were not utilised by most people due to their bad odour according to the latest research. Communities defecated in the surrounding bushes instead of using those toilets. Communities also needed to be subjected to an educational campaign or awareness on hygiene.


  • The lack of policy regulating the sanitation programme was also raised as a challenge.


A concern was raised around the Community Residential Units as it was reported that these units had been standing vacant for some time.


  • Concerns were raised around non-occupancy. How much rent was the municipality planning to charge? Was this amount communicated to the beneficiaries prior to construction?


  • What was the province doing with non-performing contractors? Were any cost recovery processes underway? Were such contractors, projects and units registered with the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC)? Were any investigations instituted for alleged fraudulent and financial misconduct practices?


  • Did the provincial department have an emergency housing plan and budget to accommodate emergencies and disasters?


  • How was the farm worker assistance programme being rolled out?


  • How was the provincial department managing the issuing of title deeds? How was the de-registration process undertaken in cases where beneficiaries were missing?


  • The delegation inquired about the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between South Africa and the People’s Republic of China in respect of the construction of 400 units in Graskop. What were the objectives and timeframes set in the MOU? What were the expected roles of both national and provincial departments and the municipality concerned? The provincial Department was requested to highlight challenges, including those led to a decrease in the number of originally planned units.


  • How many informal settlements were in the province?


  • What was the extent of the housing unit backlog in the province and what plans were in place to address it?


  • What was the province doing to address areas of concern raised by the Ad Hoc Committee on Co-ordinated Service Delivery in 2010/11, for example the bucket system in Dipaliseng and Mkhondo Municipality in Amsterdam and the dysfunctional reservoir in Burgersdorp?


  • The delegation expressed concern at the under expenditure of R51 million in the 2009/10 financial year.


  • The delegation also expressed concern about the vacancy rate at the provincial department during 2008/9 financial year


  • The issue of the Mpumalanga Housing Finance Corporation was not clarified and needed to be reported on comprehensively.


5.1.4 Responses from national and provincial departments


The Chief Director: Monitoring and Evaluation in the national Department indicated that the Chinese sponsorship programme target was 400 units but this was later scaled down. The challenges or disagreements were as listed as follows:

· Chinese insisted on bringing their own labourers;

· Flouting the country’s tax regime and reluctance to be subjected to the country’s labour relations practices;

· Temporarily importing their own equipment or machinery;

· Some clauses in the MOU were contrary to the country’s policies;

· The municipality changed the plan of the project from low-cost houses to rental stock;

· The labourers were also encountering challenges in obtaining working visas.


In addition to the above-mentioned challenges, the Chinese also had also financial challenges to meet the initial target of 400 housing units, which was reduced to 170 units.


Ms Dambuza requested the Chief Director to provide a detailed report in respect of the Chinese project to the delegation the following day.


In respect of RHIP, the Chief Director informed the delegation that R1.2 billion was set aside for the period 2009-2013 under the Department of Human Settlements to implement the sanitation programme. An amount of R8 million was allocated for both Bushbuckridge and Nkomazi municipalities. However, the allocation to Bushbuckridge was not transferred as the municipality was reluctant to sign the agreement and accept the service provider. Nkomazi Municipality was allocated 515 units and had completed 513 units covering nine villages.


The province informed the delegation that the municipality had programmes that were capable to deal with title deeds. The municipality had a standing arrangement with the deeds office to facilitate the issuing of title deeds. Challenges were mentioned in respect of section 10(a) and (b) of the Housing Act of 1997, in that the beneficiaries voluntarily surrendered or sold the state-subsidised houses to the municipality but this was difficult to enforce. Only the court could give the order to deregister a beneficiary. Deregistration was a separate process outside the Housing Act. Courts were very reluctant to grant orders for deregistration. They required proof of evidence (last address and council resolutions) in the case where the beneficiary could not be found.


With regard to non-performing contractors, the special investigating unit was working with the province to recover all the monies. Those who were bankrupt would be blacklisted.


In terms of land invasion, the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from Unlawful Occupation of Land Act of 1998 was meant to deal with the challenges facing farm workers or farm dwellers. However, the challenges were within the municipalities. There was a lack of monitoring people who settled in an area for more than 72 hours.


The provincial department indicated that when the HDA was established it had good working relations with the HDA and had agreed to sign the MOU. Afterwards, it had disappeared. The municipality was using its spatial development framework to determine and purchase well-located land for housing development.


The province further indicated that an attempt was made to purchase dilapidated buildings to provide for social housing. Evaluators were appointed to assess those buildings. The budget for this project was R25 million. With regard to rental tariffs of CRUs, the amounts were determined by the municipality. The costs were less that those provided for in the CRU policy. The residents were willing to pay R400 for type 1 (one bedroomed); R500 for type 2 (two beroomed) and R600 type 3 and three bedroomed). With regard to the rental housing backlog, social housing institutions were said to have the necessary figures. With regard to backyard dwellers, no figures could be provided.


The national department stated that the social housing programme was part of Outcome 8 and that Mpumalanga has got the target (number of social housing to be built) to deliver on this mandate. The Social Housing Regulatory Authority was obliged to work with all social housing projects. The Head of Department, Mr Dube He further undertook to forward the breakdown of social housing projects per province to the Committee.


Audits regarding rectification of houses were conducted and were not finalised. The provincial department received an unqualified report. Performance information of the department was raised by the Auditor-General. Detailed information was not easy to deal with as the system of the provincial department did not assist Auditor-General office in their auditing.


On the under expenditure of R51 million for the period 2009/10, the HOD indicated that a request for rolling over an amount of R31million was submitted and granted. The money was spent effectively. The Department of Local Government and Housing was one department then and the chunk of the budget went to local government. The new provincial department of Housing then was established, which introduced new challenges.


On the 51% vacancy rate during 2008/09, it was reported that the organogram was approved on 8 December 2010. However, the Cabinet resolved that it should be reconfigured. The positions where personnel were acting would remain until the new organogram had been approved.


The province reported that the land that was purchased for R95 million was transferred to Mbombela Municipality , housing associations and Vryheiden. The province had requested proposals for development from the beneficiaries of the land.


On sanitation challenges, the MEC indicated that the Premier had issued a directive to the province to deal with sanitation issues urgently in Delmas and Secunda, as well as the one that has recently been reported in Moloto where the system was dysfunctional.


With regard to land invasion challenges, it was reported that this depended on the political will of the municipality to enforce land invasion by-laws. It was further indicated that the government was slow to deliver land to the people and that this lead to the people invading pieces of vacant land. In addition, the issue of racial integration had not been expedited. The determination of rental tariffs was not based on research. Units in Bethal, Witbank and Mzinoni became white elephants. The CRDP was not doing well. The Premier indicated that he required 3 500 units from the CRDP programme and that human settlements needed to establish a myriad of co-operatives that would provide bricks, door frames and window frames in order to create employment opportunities.


Day 2: 25 July 2011


5.2 Presentation by the Executive Mayor of Ehlanzeni District Municipality , Councillor LN Shongwe


The Executive Mayor presented the breakdown of the status quo of the district and delivery per local municipality as follows:


5.2.1 Mbombela Local Municipality


  • The housing waiting list was standing at 32 700 houses, which was a combination of extended families, lodgers, backyard shack dwellers and child-headed households.
  • There was a need for approximately 1 308 ha of serviced land to cater for the backlog.
  • Much of the land in Mbombela was privately owned.
  • Informal settlements were a major inhibiting factor as they were sporadic, unplanned and deviated from the mandate of human settlements.
  • Matsulu has a housing project comprising 225 units at wards 27 and 28 which had been blocked. A total of 82 houses in the project were illegally occupied, 44 houses were at foundation and window levels; 19 are stands (plots or sites) which were also illegally occupied. The rest of the development had stalled.
  • The Department of Human Settlements took a decision not to evict those people.
  • There was a need for the Department of Human Settlement to fast-track the Tekwane South rectification project, as well as Phumlani Village .


5.2.2 Nkomazi Local Municipality


The municipality had a backlog of 51 747 housing units. During 2004 to 2006, approximately 3 121 RDP houses were completed by the then Department of Local Government and Housing. Serious attention needed to be given to poorly constructed houses at Goba Trust, Eriksville, Hhoyi and Mangweni.


5.2.3 Bushbuckridge Local Municipality


The municipality had a backlog of about 25 500 houses. Incomplete housing units were inherited from Limpopo Province during 2000 to 2005 at approximately seven areas with 13 units. Mkhuhlu and Zola projects required rectification as they showed serious structural defects.


5.2.4 Umjindi Local Municipalitity


There was a need to construct 142 family units and 50 sub-economic flats in town. The backlog of rental stock for middle-income earners stood at 829 units at Emjindini Ext 1. There were 50 pre-cast houses at Emjindini Ext 10 that needed to be converted to RDP housing units.


5.2.5 Thaba Chweu Local Municipality


The Graskop housing project had 154 houses which have not been completed since 2000. The Mashishing Ext 5 project comprised 70 units with no sanitation infrastructure, including 25 units at Sabie Ext 10.


5.2.6 Concerns and questions of clarity by the delegation


The delegation raised the following concerns and questions for clarity:


· The delegation was concerned about the land challenges and inquired about the role played by the HDA in assisting the district to acquire land, as well as the role played by the NHBRC in quality control in relation to human settlement projects.


· The delegation inquired whether the district had conducted an audit of state land or had a list of land parcels for housing development. The delegation inquired about the role played by the district in controlling the mushrooming of informal settlements and the illegal invasion of land.


· A question was asked on whether the municipality had a capacity to deliver.


· In terms of rectification, the delegation inquired whether an audit was conducted on houses that required rectification and those that needed to be demolished, as well as the cost thereof.


· The delegation inquired about the role played by the district in assisting the local municipalities in terms of human settlement strategies and planning.


· The delegation was concerned about the report of the district that did not reflect sanitation projects and the deliverables that were not clear.


· Did the district have a standard format for all municipalities to develop by-laws which would strengthen the development of human settlements in the area?


5.2.7 Responses to the questions raised and assisted by the provincial department


· The Head of Department informed the delegation that the involvement of the NHBRC was minimal. The NHBRC lacked capacity to assist the province, especially in the registration of projects.


· Matsulu had a court order which was not executed by the municipality. The province and the local municipality agreed to set up a team to verify the 225 units which were illegally occupied.


· Interaction with the HDA was inadequate. However, the entity had assisted in purchasing land for Mbombela.


· It was reported that projects were in place in Nkomazi Local Municipality . The district has been assisting Umsholozi informal settlements in terms of by-laws.


· Units in Bushbuckridge Municipality were inherited from Limpopo province, and Limpopo was going to finalise those projects.


· In terms of accreditation, Mbombela, Steve Tshwete, Govan Mbeki, Thaba Chewu and Emalahleni had applied for accreditation and the province was supporting them.


· The HOD indicated that the backlog was the national matter as money appropriated for this programme was inadequate.


· The Mayor of Mbombela submitted a copy of the presentation that would respond to questions raised pertaining to the municipality.

· Sanitation was a bit of a problem, but the municipalities were in the process of establishing policies on implementing sanitation.


5.2.8 Site visit to Goba Village


Councillor Hlahla informed the delegation that the project had started in 2003. Twenty five houses in the village had structural defects. The councillor alleged that the report about the conditions of the houses was compiled and forwarded to the provincial department, but nothing had been done. The report indicated that the structural defects were due to poor workmanship by the contractor who had been appointed to construct those houses.


5.2.9 Site visit to Mdladla Village


The delegation was informed that 50 toilets had been built in the village. During the site visit the delegation was only shown one toilet.


5.2.10 Site visit to Mangweni Village


The community development worker showed the delegation a house in which an elderly man was residing. It was full of cracks, almost like ventilators. The floor had potholes. There was no toilet, no water connection and no electricity installed.


5.211 Site visit to Tekwane South


The project was an example of informal settlement upgrading. It was initially planned to build 100 units but due to shortage of sites the number was scaled down to 97. The beneficiaries were sourced from nearby farms. The houses were 45 m² in size with two bedrooms, a shower and toilet, lounge and kitchen. The toilet did not have a hand basin.


Beneficiaries were required to pay connection fees for water and electricity. The delegation visited a pensioner. She was proud to own a house, but the challenge of not having water connected to her house was a problem. She was obliged to utilise a bush nearby when nature called and also had to fetch water from the stream in the village. The delegation requested the municipality to assist the elderly by applying the indigent policy and in the case of the pensioner for water and electricity to be installed.


The community and the Mayor also shared information on allegation of illegal occupation. Most of the people occupying those houses were not the intended beneficiaries. Some houses were sold by their owners to other people illegally. Some people were alleged to own more than one house in Tekwane North and South.


The Mayor indicated that in terms of electricity it would be difficult to apply the indigent policy as the electricity was not yet with the municipality, but with Eskom. The Mayor would meet with the district and the provincial department to sort out problems facing the project. The Mayor informed the delegation that the elderly would be provided with water. Research would be conducted on the allegations and a report would be compiled within three months and forwarded to the provincial department and to the Portfolio Committee.


Day 3: 26 July 2011


5.3 Site visit to Phumlani Village


The project started in 2007/08 and the last phase in 2010/11 developed phases 1, 2 and 3. The houses had two bedrooms, an open-plan lounge with a kitchen, shower and toilet. The toilet did not have a hand basin. The councillor indicated that some challenges were encountered with the houses, like cracked foundations, doors that did not fit properly and roofs that leaked during the rainy season. In some areas people were still using VIP and pit latrines, which were not in good working condition. The councillor confirmed that NHBRC engineers were the ones who were responsible for quality control for the project. He also indicated that people from the surrounding area had tried to invade houses.


The councillor informed the delegation that the communities needed to be educated on the issues of land, for example to be informed that the invasion of land would not lead to obtaining houses. The workshops should be arranged to educate communities on how the three spheres of government work and how the budget is allocated.


The delegation requested the councillor to forward the report to the Committee on the progress made on the VIP and pit latrines. The delegation informed the municipality that the municipality needed to promote hygiene and the washing of hands before meals, after visiting the toilet, etc. The municipality was requested to ensure that hand basins were installed in all the houses. In addition, all houses should have aprons to prevent rainwater from destroying the foundation.


5.3.1 Meeting with Thaba Chewu Local Municipality


The municipality had a population of approximately 559 000 according to the census of 2001. The Mayor informed the delegation that the municipality was faced with challenges such as:

  • Unemployment due to the closure of many factories around the area such as the timber factory;
  • Bylaws – hawkers were not treating the tourists well;
  • Projects that had stalled for various reasons;
  • Land challenges – most land was privately owned and it requested the municipality to conduct a land audit so that the municipality could know how much land was available.


The Mayor informed the delegation that with regard to the Chinese project, the discussion had started during 1998 between the South Africa and the People’s Republic of China . A contract between the Peoples Republic of China and Thaba Chewu on the implementation of the project would provide 400 units in Graskop. The memorandum of understanding was signed on 12 November 2002. The project targeted middle-income earners. The initial agreement was to build 400 units in 1999, but only 25 houses have been constructed so far. The then Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs met and signed the memorandum of understanding with the Chinese in relation to the construction of those houses. The number of houses was later reduced to 170 and at the time of the visit the process was stalled. It was indicated that the Chinese had challenges, among others, with working visas.


State subsidy houses have been built in the area but lacked basic services. On land issues, most of the land was privately owned. The municipality had requested the province to conduct a land audit so that they can know how much land was available.


A total of 327 projects had been blocked or stalled. Green field projects that were approved were later discovered that the land is dolomitic.


5.3.2 Delivery to date by the municipality


  • Mashishing - 416 houses completed;
  • Hostel - 90% completed.


5.3.3 Challenges encountered by the municipality – blocked projects


The municipality faced the following challenges:


  • Angel fish project which was meant to deliver 1 500 houses could only deliver 1 173 houses.
  • Graskop hostel was dilapidated. The municipality was unable to rectify or renovate the hostel as it was assumed that the hostel fell under the Department of Public Works. It was later discovered that it belonged to the pre 1994 government of South Africa and was never transferred to the current government.
  • Since 1994, the number of deliverables was slow and demand was increasing.
  • Pilgrims Rest was proclaimed as District Municipal Area through the municipal demarcation process that took place during the 2001 local government elections. When the demarcation process changed in 2006, the area was not incorporated into Thaba Chewu Municipality which made it difficult for people to access services. In addition, the infrastructure did not receive approval. The lease agreements for business people had not been renewed.
  • Since 2004, 200 beneficiaries were approved and were formally informed, and then later on the study was conducted and revealed that the area was dolomitic. Strangely, new beneficiaries were approved and placed in the same area which had been declared dolomitic. These beneficiaries are now disadvantaged as they cannot be approved again.
  • The number of housing opportunities allocated to the municipality was very limited.
  • In Marere, land was given to the developers to develop the area but that project has never been materialised.
  • Primary school at Graskop hostel still used bucket system and had done so since 2000.
  • Refuse is not collected because the removal truck was broken and there were no funds to pay for its repairs.


5.3.4 Deliberations


Deliberations covered the following issues:


  • The delegation enquired about the size of the backlog in the municipality.
  • What were the reasons for blockages in relation to the Chinese project?
  • Who was responsible for quality assurance when the flats were built?
  • A total of R100 million was allocated to the municipality. The delegation inquired whether the municipality had the capacity to deliver.
  • The delegation raised a concern on how people were placed in an area that was declared dolomitic.
  • Clarity was sought on what was going to happen to those beneficiaries who were first approved to receive houses.


5.3.5 Responses


  • It was stated that 11 shops had closed down, tourism was also affected and the area was not properly maintained.


  • There was no sanitation in the primary school and children have been using the open bucket system since 2000.


  • The refuse removal truck was broken, there was no budget to fix it and therefore refuse was not collected.


  • The municipality has been complaining about houses that had been built without infrastructure. This concern had been raised for a period of five years but to no avail.


5.3.6 Site visit to Graskop – Chinese project


Ms L Lee, project manager briefed the delegation about the project. The project was initiated according to the agreement signed between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa . The project was aimed at building 400 housing units in 2002. The project encountered challenges and as a result can no longer afford to build the 400 units. Instead, the number of units has been reduced to 170. The project was initially earmarked for low-cost housing. The municipality had requested the Chinese embassy in Pretoria to change the model and occupation with more specification, which affected the grant financially.


The completed 25 housing units were 63, 1 m² in size comprising three bedrooms, a lounge, kitchen and a toilet, but without basic services (water and sanitation). The project became stalled due to various reasons, amongst them a deteriorated grant and struggles by labourers to obtain visas (working permit). The Chinese project manager indicated that they were assisting local people. In the following month (August) the General Manager of the company would visit South Africa with the intension to assist in the funding challenges. She hoped that the project will be unblocked and finalised.


The delegation wanted to know why the number of units was reduced from 400 to only 170. The project manager informed the delegation that it was due to the change of plan from low-cost housing to social housing, which had huge cost implications. On completion, the project would be handed over to the municipality. The municipality would remain the owner of the land.


5.3.7 Site visit to Graskop hostel


The hostel was built in 1971 to accommodate people working in the sugar and timber factories in the area. The living conditions in the hostel were inhabitable and the building was dilapidated. The municipality was unable to convert the hostel into community residential units as it was not registered with the municipality. The municipality then requested the Department of Public Works to assist by transferring the hostel to the municipality. The Department of Public Works informed the municipality that the hostel was not in their assets register. It was later discovered that the hostel still belonged to the pre 1994 government. The municipality was going to look for ways to assist the residents and for the hostel to be transferred to the municipality. Approximately 17 000 people were living in the hostel.


There was also an informal settlement near the hostel. The municipality indicated that the informal settlement required township registration or establishment. There was a lack of communication from the province for the informal settlement to be formalised and upgraded into in-situ upgrading. A concern was raised that the province delegated junior officials who could not take decisions and that this affected the progress. The Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) in the province did not correspond with those of the municipality. The municipality alleged that the province was formalising land which was under dispute. In the provincial cabinet lekgotla, the integrated Development Plans (IDPs) presented were not in the municipal programme.


5.3.8 Site visit to Simile flats


The delegation visited Simile flats where approximately 120 residents were residing. The units were not in good condition. The toilets in the hostel were separate from the main house and that presented a huge risk and serious hazard to the lives of the tenants. It was indicated that the toilets were built later and were attached to the main unit. Unfortunately they were not constructed properly. The residents were required to jump from the unit to the toilet. This posed a dangerous situation to residents and required urgent attention by the provincial department.


5.3.9 Meeting with Bushbuckridge Municipality


The delegation was welcomed by Ms S Nxumalo, Chief Whip of the municipality. The municipal Council was configured in 2011 but had not yet adapted itself to human settlement issues. Challenges encountered by the municipality were raised as follows:


  • Housing backlog is approximately 25 000 as determined by the waiting list.
  • Land is mostly privately owned or owned by traditional authorities.
  • Houses built are not reflecting human settlement features.
  • Lack of proper sanitation and maintenance of current VIP toilets which led to cholera outbreak.
  • Houses remain incomplete for too long.
  • In the 2006/07 financial year, a contractor was allocated 200 units to construct in Makwebo village but that development has never materialised.
  • Some projects were inherited from Limpopo province. The construction of these projects was started in 2006/07 and was transferred to the municipality incomplete. A contractor was appointed to unblock the projects.
  • In Mashipatshi, 360 units were to be constructed. However, only one unit was reported to have been completed by the time of the visit.


5.3.10 Deliberations


The following matters were discussed:


  • The delegation inquired about the total population of the municipality.
  • Did the municipality have its own projects rather that those of the district, like CRDP and PHP?
  • What happened to the funds that were set aside for the construction of the 200 units?
  • Was an assessment made of houses that required rectification?
  • Did the municipality have a natural dam to support people in rural areas with water and for sanitation purposes?
  • Was there any formal engagement with the traditional authorities in relation to the availability of land for human settlement development?
  • How was the municipality managing the social integration of all races?
  • How did human settlement projects contribute to job creation?
  • How far has the municipality developed woman co-operatives and contractors?
  • The delegation enquired about the relationship between the municipality, water boards and other water utilities.
  • Were any sanitation projects currently administered by the municipality and the Department of Water Affairs?


5.3.11 Responses


The Speaker of the municipality, Mr T Shabangu informed the delegation that the municipality had a population of 579 000. The municipality had 960 CRDP units that were inherited from Limpopo . Two contractors had been appointed to unblock the project. The challenge was that the contractors were very slow and had requested an extension of time. The municipality had intentions to construct a dam that would assist the whole community. In Belfast , communities were protesting for basic services like water and sanitation. The municipality was trucking water for communities but those services were very expensive.


The Manager informed the delegation that the municipality had the following projects:


  • 2008/09: 400 PHP housing units were built;
  • 2009/10: 200 PHP housing and 950 disaster houses were built;
  • 2009/10: a day care centre and the hall were built;
  • 2010/11: 960 houses were built, and 1 000 service stands were delivered;

It was reported that the municipality had only one water resource, namely Inyaka Dam. However, the challenge was to channel water to the north part of Bushbuckridge.


The delegation requested the national Department of Human Settlements to lead and the province to furnish a detailed report on the status of human settlement delivery in Bushbuckridge, including clear plans to address such challenges. Furthermore, the municipality should provide the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements with the agreement signed between Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces on the finalisation of inherited projects, stipulating the number, status quo and timeframes to complete such projects.


5.3.12Site visit to Mkhuhlu Comprehensive Rural Development Programme


Fifty units were completed and beneficiaries started to reside in the area in January 2011. Some of the houses demonstrated sub-standard work. There were no lintels on top of door frames and window frames.


The delegation observed that specifications were not met. Houses needed to have a bathroom or a shower and a hand basin. The toilets were built outside the house. There was no sewer connection in this area. The delegation was informed that the houses were still under retention, which meant that defects still needed to be rectified.


The delegation requested that the province and the municipality should consider installing bathrooms or showers and hand basins in those units in an endeavor to promote and comply with good sanitation practices. The contractor should also rectify defects identified in those units. A report on this matter should be submitted to the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements within a month after receipt of the Committee’s report.


5.3.13 Site visit to Zola Village Ward 31 Thulamahashe, People’s Housing Process


The project was implemented in the 2010/11 financial year and consisted of 200 units of which all have been completed. The project faced challenges relating to a shortage of water and electricity. Although there were these challenges, the municipality reported that the challenges were incorporated in the municipality’s IDPs. The municipality reported that preference was given to child-headed families when they allocated houses. There was also a high unemployment rate in the area. Accelerated Community Infrastructure Programme (ACIP) sanitation was provided by the Department of Water Affairs.


In response to question on defects which were observed in the project, the municipality reported that the houses were still under the retention period. A Community Resource Centre, which was a beneficiary-driven project, was lead by a facilitator.


The delegation informed the municipality that the contractor should rectify defects identified in those units and that the report should be submitted to the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements within a month after receipt of the Committee’s report.


5.3.14 Meeting with the Community in former Bohlabela Council Chamber


The delegation was welcomed by Speaker Shabangu, who also introduced the councillors of Bushbuckridge municipality. The Chairperson outlined the purpose of the visit and stated that the delegation was visiting the area to listen to people’s concerns and urged the community to raise all issues pertaining to government’s service delivery and not only in relation to human settlements. She further indicated that community members were free to share their views, experiences and observations in the manner in which public representatives represent their interests. Furthermore, they should criticise contractively and give praise where necessary. She informed the community that some of the concerns raised would be responded to at the meeting and some would form part of the report which would be made available to the municipality and the community itself after it has been adopted by the National Assembly.


5.3.15 Concerns and challenges raised by the Community


The meeting with the community started around 20h00 in the evening. An elderly gentleman criticised the delegation for arriving late and indicated that the community considered the interaction as lip service. Hence, the perception was that these kinds of visits only took place during election time and thereafter the leaders would disappear. The gentleman was not sure whether the delegation’s visit to the community was going to make any impact or difference as many promises had been made by government and politicians and had never materialised. However, he indicated that the community was happy and appreciated that the Committee had visited them as it was the first visit of its nature to the area.


The community raised the following concerns as follows:

  • Members of the community thanked government for assisting and providing homes to poor communities. However, the monitoring of contractors posed a serious challenge. Houses were left incomplete, yet they appeared completed in records. Elderly persons still lived in appalling conditions in informal settlements.
  • Bushbuckridge Municipality was declared a nodal point, but there were no developments or benefits received.
  • Clarity was requested on who qualified for state subsidy houses as applications were submitted but very few were considered.
  • Government’s failure to monitor and assess contractors when constructing houses to ensure quality was raised. In addition, the community also inquired whether houses built were accessible. Reference was made to three houses in New Forest and two houses in Allendal. Houses were poorly built: they did not have proper foundations and had structural defects. These houses were falling apart and doors were not properly fitted due to non-compliance with housing specifications. The lack of inspectors also impacted on the quality of houses.
  • Poor access roads and lack of maintenance of the existing ones.
  • It was reported that the community in this area still used open defecation and elderly persons have to dig their own sanitation pits.
  • There was a lack of urgency in assisting people affected by disasters. People were provided with worn-out tents.
  • Services such as houses and sanitation were not provided in ward 29, Rollen Hill.
  • There was no high school in the area and children had to travel long distances to get to school. On rainy days children were unable to cross the river because the bridge had been washed away after rainy weather conditions. In Nkumane the disaster struck in 1998 and in Wisane in 2004, but the bridges had still not yet been reconstructed.
  • On the issue of municipal boundaries, the community raised its dissatisfaction at changes made during the 2011 local government elections (boundary delimitation processes).
  • The community inquired about who was supposed to benefit from food parcels. It was alleged that people who seemed to be benefiting were those who were not in need.
  • The community raised sharply the issue of consultation by government, including the municipality, as a great challenge.
  • The community was also concerned about the lack of response by the municipality to its request in 2008 for a graveyard.
  • There was a delayed pilot project in section C of ward 31. Houses were 16 m² and were not plastered and did not have a sink or a bathroom.
  • The elderly were not accommodated and were not given preference when houses were awarded.
  • A project dating back to 1998 had not yet taken off the ground.
  • The community applied for a school ( Damisa School ) in ward 29 to be renovated but no response had as yet been received from the Department of Basic Education. It was also reported that there was no electricity and proper sanitation in schools.


5.3.16 Responses


Mr Shabangu, indicated that since the disaster struck the area, bridges had been washed away and children were unable to cross the river. The Department of Public Works, through its Extended Public Works Programme assisted in temporary job creation activities. With regard to concerns about schools, the Mayor undertook to meet with the Department of Basic Education to discuss the challenges encountered.


With regard to food parcels, community development workers and ward committees had the responsibility to identify people who were in need and to follow up and forward the list to the Department of social development. If there were alleged inaccuracies and queries on such processes, communities should report these to the municipality and public representatives in their area (parliamentary constituency offices) for assistance.


The community was informed that the ward delimitation process has guidelines that considered the criteria used to allocate households into wards. For instance, a ward was made up of 3 000 households. However, communities were given an opportunity by the Demarcation Board to make inputs and comment on the processes. The delegation advised the municipality to involve communities in these processes and that the municipality should inform communities in time, especially on the forthcoming window period to address the concerns of the community.


On monitoring and evaluation of quality assurance in the construction of units, the community was informed about the importance of community involvement/participation, in terms of project steering committee structures, to monitor their projects stage by stage (raise issues and advise where necessary). The NHBRC warranty was extended in 2004 for quality assurance monitoring state-subsidised housing. The inspectors from the province and municipality were also part of the monitoring system; therefore if there is still substandard work being carried out, some people should be made to account. However, houses that were built post 1994 to 2004 are the ones that were identified for rectification. Where it was reported that houses were completed that were in fact incomplete, this could be deemed as corruption and should be investigated.


People were urged not to sell state-subsidised houses. This made it difficult for government to deliver to all the people who were in need of houses. People were also urged to stop buying stolen building materials as this perpetuated crime and comprised the quality of the service.


In terms of the criteria of allocating houses, consideration should be afforded to the elderly, child-headed households and persons with disabilities.


The delegation informed the community that a service provider appointed to construct toilets should excavate the pits and if it happened that the community participated in such process, they should be remunerated for doing so.


A member of the Mayoral Committee offered to assist members of the community who raised their challenges during the meeting. In respect of some of the issues that were not responded to, the municipality was requested to report to the community at a later stage. Other issues would be looked at by the delegation and a report would be forwarded to the municipality.


The delegation requested a detailed report of the project that was supposed to start in 2008 but never materialized. The report should be submitted to the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements within a month after receipt of the Committee’s report.


Day 4: 27 July 2011


5.4 Presentation by the Executive Mayor of Gert Sibande District Municipality


The Executive Mayor, Councillor KW Montloung, presented a brief overview of the district. The district had an estimated population of just over 985 000 and covered a geographic land area of about 31 846 km ², incorporating Albert Luthuli, Msukaligwa, Mkhondo, Pixley Ka Seme, Lekwa, Dipaleseng and Govan Mbeki. The municipality had not been engaged by the province in all programmes. In terms of the provision of basic services, the municipality had covered a large number of areas to such an extent that the municipality was in the process of constructing regional water schemes that would address the needs of the people. It was also indicated that there were still areas with incomplete slabs.


In respect of Mkhondo (in Amsterdam ) and Dipaleseng municipalities, water supply and roads were in a terrible state and the community was still using the bucket system and open defecation. The quality of VIP toilets was also reported as being in a bad state and was not sustainable. The district was affected by service delivery protests in 2009 due to the slow pace of delivery. The district and the province were still trying to resolve those challenges.


The district took the issues of human settlements seriously and had appointed officials to manage all the issues related to human settlements. The district was the centre of the province. It was a gateway to coal terminal road to Richards Bay . The roads were not in good condition due to the loads carried by trucks. The issue of co-ordination, planning, design and the handover process was the responsibility of the head of human settlements. There was a need for co-ordination with SANRAL with regard to roads.


The Mayor indicated that the communities needed to be educated and empowered about the role and processes that took place in the municipality. The communities should understand the budget, plans and processes.


In conclusion, the Mayor indicated that the Speaker, Chief Whip and the Councillors would accompany the delegation throughout the site visits.


5.4.1 Comments by the delegation


The delegation indicated that the officials would need to conduct qualitative research before implementing the VIP system or any other kind of rural sanitation system. The communities should play a vital role in choosing the type of sanitation they deserve. Co-ordinated planning for sanitation delivery between all spheres of government was cited as very crucial. The sanitation programme was also coupled with hygiene; therefore “the hand-wash awareness campaign” should be undertaken by all spheres of government seriously. Water services were also a challenge that needed to be resolved. The municipality was informed that the sanitation programme should create job opportunities and promote the participation of women co-operatives in such programmes.


The District status was not presented but the documents were handed out.


5.4.2 Site visit to Msukaligwa Extensions 3, 4 and 6


Ms P Nkona, project manager briefed the delegation and indicated that the project was an in-situ upgrading project and that units were scattered across the area. The houses had two bedrooms, a lounge, kitchen and a toilet without a hand basin. The beneficiaries were identified by the municipality. The province and the municipality processed the applications. The subsidy criterion was used for those who qualified. The project was initially meant to deliver 200 units but the municipality later reduced the number to 122 while 278 units would be built in Chriessiesmeer. In the project 114 units were completed and the remaining eight still had to be delivered. The project was supposed to be finalised by March 2011 but due to service delivery protests, the progress slowed down. The project was stopped and later resumed, and it is expected to be completed by end of September 2011.


The project was contractor-driven and two contractors were appointed. One contractor was meant to deliver 100 units and the other contractor was given 22 units and the other portion in another extension. The district had the database of the beneficiary list. The NHBRC played a critical role in monitoring quality assurance and worked jointly with the district technical team. The NHBRC also assisted in choosing the type of foundation according to the soil type.


The project encountered sewer challenges in that connection points were not matching the pipes from the houses.


The delegation was concerned about the drains that were running on top of the ground instead of being underground. In response to the concern, an official from the provincial department indicated that the points were fitting well with the pipes. This was because of the topography of the area: some areas were on higher slopes and others on lower slopes. Nonetheless, the delegation remained unconvinced by the statement and would discuss the matter further.


5.4.3 Site visit to Chriessiesmeer/Chibikhulu informal settlements


The project also aimed to upgrade informal settlements. Three contractors were appointed to construct 278 houses. Of this number, 178 houses were completed and beneficiaries had moved in by April 2011. The houses had two bedrooms with an open-plan lounge and kitchen, a shower and a toilet with no hand basin.


5.4.4 Challenges


Ms Nkona, project manager informed the delegation that some people in the area invaded stands with bulk infrastructure. The unavailability of beneficiary list delayed construction. At some sites there was no bulk infrastructure installed and in some areas toilets were built but not connected to a sewer system due to a lack of water.


The delegation advised the province and the municipality to install hand basins in compliance with the National Housing Code specification and good sanitation and hygiene practices. The delegation was surprised about the unavailability of beneficiary lists whereas it was confirmed that the municipality was upgrading such informal settlements. A report should be submitted by the provincial department to the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements on receipt of the Committee’s report.


5.4.5 .5Site visit to eSandleni disaster-affected area


The Department received a request from Albert Luthuli Municipality to assist the people whose houses were damaged by heavy rains and storms during December 2010.


In January 2011, the provincial department appointed Ridonga Projects to demolish and rebuild the 22 affected houses of which seven were state-subsidised houses and 15 were mud houses at eSandleni village.


The contractor had successfully completed the units during March 2011. The classroom roofs were blown away and temporary classrooms were provided. A bridge was washed away and had unfortunately not been rebuilt. As a result, the school children were unable to access the school, especially on rainy days.


The municipality faced a challenge in maintaining VIP toilets, which constituted a health hazard to communities.


5.4.6 Site visit to Silobela blocked project


The project was supposed to construct 500 units, but it was blocked. Twenty nine houses had not yet been constructed. Approximately 31 beneficiaries were supposed to benefit, but the housing system was rejecting them as they seemed to have benefited already. An amount of R77 million was set aside to unblock the project, but the province has appointed the municipality as an implementing agent.


The delegation requested the municipality and the province to assist and address the challenges facing beneficiaries who had been rejected by the system and advise them appropriately. A detailed report with a list of beneficiaries and the assistance given should to be submitted provincial department to the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements on receipt of the Committee’s report.



Day 5: 28 July 2011


5.5 Meeting at Govan Mbeki Municipality


The delegation was briefed on Mzinoni hostel, which was 27 years old. The hostel project started in May 2009 and was meant to be completed by May 2011. The plan was to be demolished the hostel and reconstruct according to the current specifications.


The progress was hindered by the residents who denied access to the constructor to install services such as water and electricity connections. The murder of one of the civilians impacted on the progress of the project. Municipal officials who were alleged to be implicated in the incident were arrested and were released later as the allegations were found to be baseless. The municipality and the residents were to identify as piece of land where they were going to be relocated to allow the construction to continue. The residents later refused to be relocated, alleging that the piece of land belonged to other residents in a nearby settlement. The municipality informed the delegation that a meeting with the residents to discuss the matter further was scheduled for 2 August 2011. The province reported that the slow progress impacted negatively on the department’s fiscus as the department had appointed a security company to take care of the completed units.


Initially, the project consisted of 176 units in total. In phase 1, four blocks with 32 units had been constructed and completed but lacked basic services. It was reported that according to the municipality, not all the residents qualified for a government subsidy. Some had to benefit from other schemes. The municipality also confirmed that no decision had yet been taken on rental tariffs. The municipality raised a concern on the reluctance by the beneficiaries to pay rent.


It was reported that the second phase was blocked as a result of the refusal by residents to relocate. The residents stated that the municipality should come up with a clear and transparent plan in this regard.


5.5.1 Site visit to Mzinoni hostel


The delegation met with the residents of the hostel with the intention of understanding their side of a story. The Mayor and the delegation addressed the residents about the new hostel upgrading and the benefits to them as residents. The Mayor informed the residents that the hostel was due for upgrading and that the residents should allow the contractors to continue with their work. She further informed them about a piece of land in Ext 11 that had been identified for them where state-subsidised houses would be built. The Mayor requested residents to allow the municipality to screen the list in order that those who were working and qualified for other schemes could be accommodated.


The member of the residential committee indicated that only 10% of residents were employed in the hostel and that 90% were unemployed. He further expressed their grief at the death of one of their members where it was alleged that municipal officials were the suspects but that nothing was done. It was discovered that the land that was identified had been allocated to another group of people. Even though the hostel is inhabitable, the residents claimed that they belonged there and would not move until the municipality constructed their houses to enable the whole hostel to move at once.


The delegation urged the residents to allow those who qualified for relocation to the completed units to move in. The relocation process would be undertaken in phases, which would assist the municipality to accommodate all the families that required accommodation.


The delegation requested the province to provide temporary relocation units while the process of installation of bulk infrastructure was undertaken. The municipality and the province made an undertaking that they would have a meeting where they would meet and discuss the issue extensively. The province was also requested to make a follow up on the alleged murder case of one of the civilians and report progress to the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements. The municipality should facilitate a counseling session for the widow of the deceased.


5.5.2 Meeting at Lekwa Municipality


The Mayor, Councillor C Morajane, welcomed the delegation.


The municipal report was not presented, but submitted to the delegation due to time constraints. It was agreed that a summary would be presented on site.


5.5.3 Site visit to Standerton hostel


The hostel would be demolished and rebuilt. The project management team lacked capacity and the contractor abandoned the project. The department decided to appoint a new contractor and a new project management team.


The allocation for this project was R80 million. Single storey units would be constructed. The province planned to appoint consultants to modify those structures. The residents were advised to form a trust and would enter into an agreement with the municipality to address the issue of rental tariffs. It was reported that before the abandonment of the project, TRAs were provided for the duration of the contract. The contract would require to be revisited and the contractor would be requested to renovate the TRAs.


The delegation indicated that new TRAs should be provided because the old ones were already worn out. The hostel should be upgraded according to the BNG policy. The delegation also raised concerns about the lack of timeframes for completion of the project, including the steps taken against the contractor who constructed poor quality houses.


5.5.4 Site visit to Lekwa upgraded informal settlements - 2165 (Rooikopen Ext 4)


The project was planned to start on 20 October 2009, but the actual start date was February 2010. The project was aimed at upgrading 2 165 informal settlements and approximately 1 500 households stood to benefit. Twenty two contractors were appointed for the project. The squatter camp residents were relocated to Rooikopen in 2004 and a bucket system was provided for sanitation. Sites were set aside for private school and private child care centres, a secondary school, a clinic, a community hall and a library. The planned clinic site has been earmarked and the New Denmark has committed a donation to build the clinic.


The project was challenged by a lack of enforcement of by-laws by the municipality which has led to the mushrooming of informal settlements around the existing houses. The plan for the second phase of the project was intended to accommodate those households that were not catered for in the first phase. It was also alleged that beneficiaries were coerced by contractors to sign happy letters even though the houses were incomplete.


5.5.5Comments by the delegation


The delegation inquired about the role of the province and the municipality in ensuring that the handing-over process was legitimate. The municipality indicated that it had only one inspector which made it difficult to monitor the handing-over process.


5.5.6 Site visit to Siyathemba, Balfour pre 1994 rectification programme


The province informed the delegation that the project was implemented under the rectification programme of state-subsidised houses built between 1994 and 2004 at Siyathemba (Balfour). Initially Grinaker Developers were appointed and were allocated 593 housing units during 1996. Some of the houses were found to be sub-standard, hence they required rectification. A consultant was then appointed to conduct an assessment of the extent of shoddy work only for the identified 500 housing units. Crystal Sparkle was appointed as the contractor to do the rectification in 2009.


There were no challenges in implementing this programme except that the municipality had a limited budget to rectify more houses according to the assessment report.


The delegation observed that those houses were not rectified according to the current human settlement specification. Some residents were renting from the owners and were not aware that they were required to register with the municipality in order for them to be on the waiting list.


There were conflicting statements between the Mayor and the officials with regard to the number of houses identified for rectification and the ones that had been completed. As a result of late arrival by the delegation to the area and as it was already dark, the discussions took place in a house and the delegation was not able to see all that had taken place.


The delegation advised both the national and provincial departments that they should seriously consider accessing funds in order to urgently address the issues of inadequate sanitation installed in the bedrooms without separating walls. Furthermore they should revisit Balfour and verify the facts on housing challenges in the area and report back to Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, detailing clear plans and timeframes to address such issues including clarity on the dispute on the number of framed houses that were demolished.


Day 6: 29 July 2011


5.6 Meeting at Nkangala District Municipality


The Executive Mayor, Councillor SK Mashilo, gave a brief overview of the status of the district. The district is 16,880 km² in size and consists of six local municipalities: Emakhazeni, Victor Khanye, Thembisile Hani, Dr JS Moroka, Emalahleni and Steve Tshwete. Nkangala district municipality is the economic hub of Mpumalanga and is rich in minerals and natural resources. Emakhazeni is the largest municipality with the lowest population. Dr JS Moroka is the smallest municipality with high poverty rate and unemployed people. Emalahleni Municipality has a larger population than Nkangala. Dr JS Moroka and Thembisile Hani are former homelands and there is no economic spin-off. Between Emalahleni and Delmas, a big development was implemented and the plans of the district had linkages to the popular mandate of 2009 to 2011.


The district has incorporated Outcome 8 targets into the IDPs. In responding to government’s priorities, the district planned its work according to Outcome 8. The District Mayoral Committees have signed the agreement of commitment to the implementation of Outcome 8.


The district has identified anchor projects that would contribute to the economy of the province as follows:

§ The spatial structure of the Highland scale project was one of the anchors in Emakhazeni. In addition, the district was developing a convention centre in Steve Tshwete due to its proximity to Sandton. This would assist in diverting some meetings to the new venue.

§ The Moloto rail corridor was the biggest project and was located between Thembisile Hani and Dr JS Moroka municipalities. Such an initiative was the result of many accidents on the Moloto road and the district was of the view that the rail corridor would be the option to address the challenge. It was envisaged that the project would assist in alleviating poverty in the area.

§ In Victor Khanye there were plans to develop an airport that would service the overflow from OR Tambo airport and would boost Los Kop tourism.

§ The construction of a power station would contribute approximately R170 billion and was one of the biggest in the country between Victor Khanye and Emalahleni.


The Mayor indicated that the district was committed to the improvement of the physical, socio-economic and institutional environment in order to address poverty and promote development. The district identified 20 areas for integrated development plans through community involvement. Out of 20, six were not necessarily in the municipality’s competency but were under sector departments such as health, education, social development and human settlements. The district embarked on community outreach programmes twice a year in March and September.


5.6.1 Challenges raised


The following challenges were raised:


· Substantial housing backlog of the district;

· Slow pace of housing delivery;

· Poor building quality by contractors;

· Long period of construction and completion of state-subsidised houses;

· Selling of state-subsidised houses;

· Inadequate budget allocation for housing construction;

· No proper sanitation provided to some houses;

· Houses in Emakhazeni built on wetland.


The Mayor indicated that it would be appreciated if Parliament could assist with solutions to prevent the sale of state-subsidised houses. The district also informed the delegation that a resolution was taken not to award contracts to those contactors who produced shoddy workmanship.


5.6.2 Deliberations


The delegation enquired about the following:

· Upfront payment of R2 497 by beneficiaries and its purpose.

· The number of informal settlements in the district and the number due for upgrading in this financial year.

· How the municipality was addressing the issue of the beneficiary list.

· The number of blocked project, in which areas and how long they had been blocked.

· The number of houses earmarked for rectification and whether an assessment had been conducted and how many houses were due for demolishing.

· The involvement of the NHBRC in the assessment and whether the geotechnical assessment was conducted.

· What steps were taken against the inspectors who were involved during the construction of houses on wetlands in Emakhazeni and without adequate sanitation facilities?

· Did the municipality have plans in place to mitigate in areas affected by disaster?

· What was the role of the Housing Development Agency in the acquisition of land?

· How many job opportunities were created?


5.6.3 Responses


The district responded to some concerns and questions raised. The upfront payment was paid by the beneficiary after the approval of the house. This amount was then paid to the department’s account as collateral for each beneficiary. The district informed the delegation that the NHBRC was not committed to their processes as they were coming as they pleased. The beneficiary list was not co-ordinated before the approval of the project but only developed when the project was about to start.


It was reported that all the projects were not completed. In Sakhelwe, Big Five Women Consortium was given 60 houses to construct. Of the 60 houses, six houses were not constructed. In wards 5 and 6, a project consisted of 380 houses, awarded in 1998, was still not completed by the time of the visit. The district was also challenged by the lack of capacity as it only had one building inspector. Houses of poor quality were approved. The province was not assisting by providing inspectors to conduct quality assurance inspections. The appointment of service providers was still a challenge. The disaster relief programme took time to address problems of the victims due to red tape relating to rules and responsibilities between municipalities and the province.


In wards 1 and 9 in Victor Khanye and in wards 1, 2 and 3 the municipality bought land and the latter found that there was a dispute. No geotechnical investigation had ever taken place.


In Dr JS Moroka Municipality tents that were provided for disaster relief were worn out. Human Settlement IDPs had housing chapters that indicated the backlog and the number of jobs created.


In Thembisile Hani Municipality the province has taken initiative to build 960 houses in various wards. The alignment of the department, municipality and the province was not the same. The appointment of service providers was also a challenge. Monitoring of service providers was difficult as they did not listen to municipal officials when they tried to correct the wrongdoings of a service provider.


It was reported that in Emalahleni there were challenges in quantifying the number of informal settlements and backyard dwellers. The municipality had applied for level-two accreditation. It was alleged that there were houses that were occupied by people who were not the rightful owners.


The Mayor confirmed that there were no open toilets in the district. The district provided VIP toilets through the Extend Public Works Programme in areas were water was scarce.


The delegation advised the province to replace asbestos roofing with appropriate roofing. The delegation further requested that the province should submit to Parliament plans to replace such roofing before the end of October 2011. Houses that were occupied by people who were not the rightful owners should be audited and necessary steps should be taken by the province and the municipality to reallocate such houses to the rightful owners. The allocation of housing should prioritise the elderly, the disabled and child-headed families. The policy provided that councillors should be recused from the allocation of beneficiaries. However, as public representatives, they had the responsibility to facilitate the process and represent the communities where there were complaints and challenges. Therefore it was important for the province to empower municipalities in this regard. The dual allocation of units should be addressed as soon as possible. The province and municipalities should budget for proper TRAs and refrain from using tents and corrugated iron as temporary structures. The houses in Emakhazeni that are built on wetlands should be rectified.


The delegation further indicated that the process of savings must not compromise the rights of the people from accessing housing due to their inability to save. As the province indicated that R77 million was allocated to unblock projects, the delegation requested the province to provide Parliament with the following:

  • District housing backlogs per municipality;
  • Detailed list of job creation initiatives;
  • List of blocked projects and plans to unblock them;
  • List of backyard dwellers and policy and plans to address their plight;
  • List of houses with asbestos roofing.


The province must ensure that the policy framework for disaster relief and emergency housing was able to respond urgently.


5.6.4 Site visit to Klarinet mixed houses


Klarinet was a mixed housing development with state-subsidised, gap and bonded houses. The project was developed as a private-public partnership with ABSA Bank. An amount of R1.4 billion was set aside for the construction of this development. Sites have also been set aside for the development of primary and secondary schools, a clinic, a sports field and all other housing amenities. The project was managed by Devco and was financed by ABSA. The municipality donated land for the development.


During the time of the visit 167 state-subsidised houses had been completed and beneficiaries had already moved in. The delegation managed to view one of the houses, which had two bedrooms, a lounge and kitchen, a shower, a toilet and a hand basin. Twenty per cent of the units had been set aside for the disabled. During the inspection it was found that the front door was not properly fitted, and the contractor was requested to correct it.


5.6.5 Site visit to KwaGuqa community residential unit - eMalahleni


Phase one of the KwaGuqa community residential, started in 2007 and 36 units were completed. During the time of the visit the units were not yet occupied due to rental rates that were not finalised by the municipality and the provincial department. The units range from having two to three bedrooms with a tiled floor, a self-standing four-burner stove, paved in the surroundings with security gates and a carport.


The rental proposal also varied according to the size of the flat. The Council resolved at a meeting held on 31 March 2011 that the rental should be market based, depending on the ability of the tenant to pay, for example, as follows:

  • 64.50 m² unit = R646 per month
  • 68.60 m² unit = R688 per month
  • 88.00 m² unit = R882 per month.


The prospective tenants signed lease agreements with the Emalahleni Housing Institution. The current hostel residents who did not meet the Community Residential Units’ eligibility criteria should be assisted in terms of housing subsidy instruments appropriate to their circumstances. The tariffs should be incorporated in the budget.


In phase two of the project 146 units had been completed and were similar to those of phase one.


5.6.6 Site visit to Tweefontein J (CRDP)


The project was aimed at assisting rural people and was started in the 2010/11 financial year with 100 units. The contractor appointed to construct houses was JM Plumbing. The units were 50 m² in size with two bedrooms, a lounge, kitchen and an outside VIP toilet.


The delegation noticed that the finishing was not in a good condition as the roof sheets were not properly fixed. When the wind blew, all the dust penetrated and on rainy days the roof leaked. The zinc or corrugated doors were also not fitted properly. A contractor was advised to attend to the leaks and doors urgently. The municipality and the provincial department would monitor that situation and forward a report to the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements by March 2012.


5.6.7 Site visit to Phola enhanced people’s housing process (ePHP)


The ePHP programme was based on the concept where beneficiaries were given an opportunity of being involved in the construction of their own houses. Rospa Trading 49 cc was appointed by the Department of Human Settlements as a Community Resource Organisation (CRO) for the 2010/2011 financial year. Rospa Trading 49 cc was allocated 100 units which were later scaled down to 97 housing units. The CRO could not build the remaining housing units because of the protest by the community claiming that there was nepotism in the allocation of houses. The budget allocation was R6 571 915 and included the geotechnical allowance.


The beneficiaries in this project were the elderly, women, people with disabilities and child-headed households. They were also given a chance to choose from three plans in order to diversify their villages. Local people were employed, of whom 116 were unskilled labourers, and 50 were skilled bricklayers. Skills transferred were in relation to bricklaying and roofing.


Ninety seven houses were completed. The remaining three scaled-down units would be allocated in the next financial year. The houses had two bedrooms, a lounge, a kitchen and an outside VIP toilet.


5.6.8 Site visit to Social Housing Project in Middelburg

This social housing project was started in 2000. There were 500 units in total: 450 units were subsidised and 50 units were not subsidised. The rental for a two-bedroomed house for an individual earning less than R3 500 per month was R2 478.08. Those who earned more than R3 500 (unsubsidised) were charged R3 907.69 for rental for a two-bedroomed flat with a loft. People were expected to pay a deposit prior to the occupation of a house. This money was refundable when a person moved out. However, conditions were set to manage the area and the housing company carried out an inspection to check if the flat was in good condition when the person or a family moved out. It was indicated that the maintenance of houses was carried out in two ways: long-term maintenance that would fall under a particular year’s budget or ongoing maintenance.


5.6.9 Deliberations


The delegation raised the following concerns and question for clarity:


  • Were there any social housing companies established across the province and were all of them registered with the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA)?
  • Had any project been completed since 2000?
  • A concern was raised where people earning less than R3 500 and are expected to pay a monthly rental of R2 478.08 as this would not assist those people because their earnings were low for them to afford such rental.
  • Clarity was sought on whether there was an option for someone who was renting to buy.


5.6.10 Responses


There were social housing companies established in the province that were registered. There was a new housing project which would construct 200 units and was funded by Standard Bank and the provincial government. It was said that the rental figure was based on when the Social Housing Company was getting a subsidy of R15 000. When the project was started, the rental was between R875 and R1 200, which was why it became high. It was said that in the past such people who were subsidised were earning less than R3 500 and now people’s earnings have increased. The response was that this option was only available in the township. The proportion of rental payment is 95%.


In relation to body corporate structures, there was a tenants committee that looked after the running of the flats. The delegation raised the issue of the social housing policy that stated that the houses were meant for rental purposes. People rented for a certain period of time while they were still subsidised. When the individual’s income bracket increased, such people should not continue to be considered under the subsidy because they could afford to buy in a formal housing system. The concern was also expressed that there were people who were earning less than R3 500. These people were looking for places to rent. They were not able to access the subsidised units as the units were all occupied and at times by people who could afford to rent somewhere else.


The delegation wanted also to know if there was any clause in the lease agreement that stated that should a person’s income bracket change, that person would be relocated by having to rent somewhere else by virtue of their income having been increased beyond the subsidy margin. The provincial housing representative indicated that the Social Housing Act did not mention anything to the effect that should a person’s income bracket increase; the person would be required to move out of the subsidised unit.


5.6.11 Emakhazeni local Municipality (Sakhile)

The project started in 2009 as a response to eradicate the informal settlements around the area of Emakhazeni Municipality . There was a high demand for housing in this area. It was indicated that 520 sites were initially planned to be serviced, but only 340 sites were serviced. The municipality approved 200 subsidies and the beneficiaries were identified and approved. However, a total of 198 units were completed. It was reported that the remaining beneficiaries were living in the wetlands. The municipality committed itself to provide electricity and roads.


It was indicated by the municipality that the sewerage system had gradually become overburdened because of the growth in the population and a number of houses in the municipality. This would therefore make it less possible for the sewerage system to accommodate any future developments, for both water and sewage. The LM stated that it had put a moratorium on any developments so that the municipality could deal with the issue of bulk infrastructure.


The number of informal settlements in Sakhile Township had increased such that when the municipality provided housing for those who were on the waiting list, others kept coming in. In addition, backyard dwellers were not accommodated when the list of beneficiaries was compiled, which made it very hard for the municipality to eradicate informal settlements completely. The demand for housing was very high.


In response to whether the municipality had enough water in the area, the Executive Mayor told the delegation that there was a challenge as far as the provision of water was concerned but the Nkangala District Municipality was in the process of assisting the municipality. Because Eskom provided electricity, the municipality reported that the capacity of providing electricity to the people was available.


The delegation indicated that because of the green field developments, the Sakhile Township had the opportunity to create an integrated human settlement in the area. The municipality should consider the issue as this would bring people closer to their workplaces, schools, business centres, places of worship, etc. The area could build roads and other required infrastructure and had the potential to become a fully fledged suburb. The local municipality indicated that all this was in the pipeline and had been catered for in district IDP.


The delegation inquired whether the municipality had the capacity should finance be made available. The Mayor indicated that the capacity was available and that the local municipality had all the developments planned in its IDP. In addition, Emakhazeni was the biggest area in the region but it had a small population. However, unemployment was very high which put considerable strain on resources because revenue collection derived from rates was very small. The local municipality was dependent on the equitable share and other support from elsewhere. The Mayor indicated that the equitable share and how it was structured disadvantaged such municipalities.


In respect of sanitation, the local municipality indicated that it used a waterborne system which was working. The Mayor indicated that water was not necessarily a problem. There was sufficient capacity but the municipality would experience challenges with future developments.


The delegation indicated that green field developments such the one that was taking place in Emakhazeni could not take place in the open. The local municipality needed to provide every household with trees. It was requested that SHRA should look into this issue where a person became upwardly mobile, either socially and economically.


5.6.12 Site visit (housing inspection)


Upon the delegation’s visit to houses, there was evidence of visible structural defects and that the house was occupied by minors. They indicated that a happy letter was signed but they did not necessarily know what the letter was about. The delegation expressed serious concern at the shoddy work and that the contractor left without fixing those defects. It was also indicated that the NHBRC did not play any role in ensuring the quality of houses. The quality inspection was conducted by the inspector from the province. The delegation discovered that the employees from the municipality were charging residents a fee that ranged from R150 to R300 in order for water to be connected in their houses.


The delegation expressed its disappointment at such corrupt practices because this was done to people who were unemployed and who were hardly able to have such amounts of money. The Mayor indicated that this would be investigated and the perpetrators would be brought to book.


The delegation advised the province and the municipality to attend to the house with structural defects as a matter of urgency as the house was occupied by minors and furnish the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements with a report a month after receipt of the report.


5.6.13 Site visit to Van Wyk’s Vlei farm housing project

The programme manager informed the delegation that the farm owner donated a piece of land to his farm workers/dwellers in 2007/2008. The project fell within the 2010/11 financial year. The houses were 45 m² in size . A total of 40 families were catered for on this farm. In 2009, there was a process of rezoning and a proper township was established. The families received normal subsidies. VIP toilets were provided because there was no waterborne sewer. A borehole was used to provide water to this community. The local municipality would construct a new borehole. Electricity would be provided by Eskom.


5.6.14 Deliberations


The delegation wanted to know if beneficiaries received the title deeds for their houses after they have been given to them. Because the land was donated, the delegation wanted to know if the provincial department could have provided more services in relation to the project. Furthermore, if farm worker died and that farm worker was the owner of one of the houses, what would happen to that beneficiary’s children? It was indicated that the type of subsidy allocated in terms of the project only allowed for a 40 2m² houses also because the houses are not a PHP in nature. On the issue of a beneficiary who happens to die, it was indicated that title deeds are provided to a family and therefore the children will inherit the house from their parent.


5.7 Overall observations by the delegation


1. The province still faces a huge housing backlog. However, the delegation observed that it is difficult for the province to quantify its backlog figures.

2. In terms of bulk infrastructure, houses were being built with no basic infrastructure in a number of projects

3. Inadequate planning: projects were being approved on land without having conducted any proper geotechnical studies. For example, in Thaba Chweu it was discovered that land on which a project had been approved was dolomitic.

4. The National Home Builders’ Registration Council and Housing Development Agency were not visible in the province.

5. There was no proper coordination and management of the beneficiary list.

6. There was a lack of dedicated policy to regulate the roll-out of the sanitation programme including lack of commitment from both the national and province to fast track and upscale sanitation programmes

7. There was no evidence-based report to quantify the provision of sanitation services in the province

8. There was lack of monitoring of contractors, resulting in incomplete housing structures, non-compliance with regulations and project management capacity thus compromising quality.

9. Limited community consultation on the part of municipalities as it is a fundamental principle that targeted communities ought to be involved in all aspects of their housing and human settlements solutions.

10. Disaster-affected areas not prioritized – in Bushbuckridge Municipality bridges that were washed away following heavy rains were not rebuilt as a consequence school children are struggling to get to schools in the affected areas.

11. No policy in place to address the plight of backyard dwellers.

12. Continuing land invasion is affecting some of the municipalities due to lack of capacity and willingness to enforce by-laws

13. Inadequate capacity within some of the municipalities (Provincial inspectors accused of not doing enough to assist municipalities).

14. Shoddy workmanship on houses and toilets which remain unused due to poor quality.

15. Non availability of a quantifiable report on state owned land or private land in the province

16. Human Settlements (tendency on the part of the provincial department to just start projects without informing/involving local municipalities).

17. Need to strengthen intergovernmental relations and cooperative governance.

18. Lack of synergy and coordination between municipalities and the provincial Department of Human Settlements.

19. Non-monitoring and no assessment of Contractors.

20. Houses constructed without ablution/sanitation facilities

21. Poor access roads.

22. Difficulty in relocating communities for housing development for example, hostel dwellers.

23. Houses built on wetlands, proper environmental assessment not conducted Bureaucratic red-tape impacts and hinder compromises sound working relationship between municipalities and the province thereby local level impacting on service delivery.

24. Some municipalities accused the provincial department of being reactionary instead of being proactive in attending to some of the issues of concern.

25. There were still people residing in houses that had asbestos roofing. No arrangements had been made to re-house people on asbestos – free houses.

26. Role of private sector was not convincing.


5.8 Recommendations


5.8.1 It is recommended that the Minister of Human Settlements should:


  1. Brief the Committee on the international treaty signed between China and South Africa relating to the project in Graskop area in Thaba Chewu Municipality.
  2. Present to the Committee the final draft policy that would address backyard dweller housing because this has been a long standing issue.
  3. Provide a report on the assessment of the Community Residential Units ( CRUs) policy and any potential amendments thereto should be sent to the Committee for consideration.
  4. Regularly monitor and evaluate the performance of housing institutions, such as the Housing Development Agency and the National Home Builders Registration Council, because of the overwhelming number of complaints in most areas that were visited by the Committee during its different oversight initiatives.
  5. Urgently intervene with regard to Simile flats where the toilets structure was falling apart, separating from the main unit structure in Graskop at Thaba Chewu Municipality as this posed a risk and hazard to the lives of the dwellers.


5.8.2 It is recommended that the Minister of Public Works should:


  1. Assist the disaster affected bridges in Thulamashe at Bushbuckridge Municipality (Ward 29, Kumane and Wisane villages) which were washed away by heavy rains.
  2. Disaster affected bridge in eSandleni at Albert Luthuli Municipality.
  3. Assist in transferring the dilapidating Graskop hostel from the previous government (pre 1994) to the Department of Human Settlements as it posed a huge risk and hazard to the hostel dwellers in endeavour to intervene and facilitate redevelopment/upgrading as per the Department of Human Settlements’ Community Residential Units policy.


5.8.3 It is recommended that the Minister of Basic Education should:


  1. Assist in the provision of roofing at the school in eSandleni in Albert Luthuli Municipality, which was blown away during a disaster.


5.8.4 It is recommended that the national Department of Human Settlements should:


  1. Assist the province and the municipality by addressing the issue of temporary relocation units. Emergency housing ought to be for short-term purposes as it offers no real protection against elements yet there were households who had been housed on emergency housing for prolonged periods.

11. Upgrade and rectify houses according to the current human settlements specifications.

12. Promote synergy and enhance coordination between municipalities and the provincial Department of Human Settlements.

13. Assist the 200 beneficiaries who were approved and later discovered that the land where the project would be developed was dolomitic in Thaba Chewu Municipality as this compromised their right to access state subsidy housing.

14. As an anchor department mandated with the sanitation function, urgently intervene and assist Graskop primary school in Graskop to have access to adequate and sustainable sanitation.

5.8.5 It is recommended that the Mpumalanga province should:


  1. Eradicate asbestos roofing and replace it with a proper roofing system as this is a health hazard to communities (Nkangala District Municipality).
  2. Compile a detailed report on land purchased (R95 million spent in 2008) by the province, which should include information on how much land has been utilised by each benefiting structure i.e. the municipalities and the Social Housing Association, the size of the land purchased for Mbombela and the specific locations of such land?
  3. Ensure the provision of adequate qualitative and sustainable sanitation infrastructure to the communities and expand the capacity to roll-out and accelerate sanitation programmes. It is also recommended that greater priority should be given to Amsterdam, Dipaleseng, and Mkhondo municipalities and that the province urgently communicate with the municipality and ensure that the residents of Rooikopan are connected to sewer lines.
  4. Provide a list to the Committee of all villages that benefited from sanitation provision managed through the Department of Human Settlements during the 2010/11 financial year in Nkomazi Municipality. The report should be forwarded to the Committee within a month after the receipt of the report.
  5. Provide names of places where farm worker assistance projects would be constructed.
  6. Provide detailed information on how Burn Stone Mine has assisted in the building of houses, including the number of houses built and the amount of the contribution towards each house.
  7. Provide a detailed list of job opportunities created through housing delivery in the province, its impact on communities and types of skills transferred.
  8. Strengthen public participation with the communities and in particular with the traditional leaders.
  9. Update beneficiary lists of municipalities regularly.
  10. Monitor municipalities and contractors when handing over houses as they are alleged to be coercing and bribing beneficiaries to sign happy letters even though houses show defects.
  11. Ensure that more housing inspectors are appointed as the shortage of such capacity compromises the quality of houses delivered.
  12. Provide a list of the projects to be unblocked with plans to unblock them.
  13. Provide a list of informal settlements which should include clear plans and programmes on how these would be upgraded or eradicated.
  14. Provide a report on how the deregistration of beneficiaries was done when the beneficiary could not be found or died before the allocation of a house.

29. Provide a detailed report on the Mpumalanga Housing Finance Corporation, including its role.

  1. Provide a written response on how much was spent in addressing disaster-affected areas.


5.8.6 To Parliament:


31. The Mpumalanga based-members of the Committee, together with the municipality and members of the provincial committee in the legislature should conduct an evidence-based approach site visit to verify the 513 completed sanitation project units in Nkomazi and report to Parliament by March 2012.


Report to be considered.



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