ATC191014: Report of the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings on the Executive Undertakings made by the Minister of Human Settlements during The House Sitting of 6 June 2017, dated 9 October 2019
REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON PETITIONS AND EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS ON THE EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS MADE BY THE MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS DURING THE HOUSE SITTING OF 6 JUNE 2017, DATED 9 OCTOBER 2019
On 6 June 2017, the Honourable Minister of Human Settlements (Minister) made the following executive undertakings during the Policy Debate on Budget Vote: Human Settlement held on 6 June 2017 in the National Council of Provinces (House):
1.1Executive Undertaking 1: “Working together with the Departments of Rural Development and Land Affairs and Public Works we will establish in collaboration with municipalities, land that will be serviced and this will be a priority for our municipalities to ensure that it is serviced and there is sufficient infrastructure.”
- Executive Undertaking 2: “In a situation where people live in dire circumstances, we’ll have a phased approach, very similar to the once that we have and lessons learnt on the N2 Gateway Project.”
- Executive Undertaking 3: “We would make sure that we have preferred material suppliers-we will list the material required and ensure that this is closely monitored so that we can transform that sector as well. At the moment we are held hostage by a monopoly over our material suppliers.”
- Executive Undertaking 4: “We would also like to make sure that we insist on innovative material and technologies. This will form a greater part of our new approach because it faster, eco-friendly and cheaper in the long run.”
- Executive Undertakings 5: “We will be conducting an audit of all blocked projects that you complained about last year and recall the contractors who left projects unfinished. Where necessary, we’ll take legal action to force the contractors to build and complete those projects.”
- Executive Undertakings 6: “We have taken a decision to partner with the CSIR to ensure that we can provide solar panels for those houses where lack of electricity has stopped us from allocating houses.”
- Executive Undertakings 7: “Our communications Team will ensure that the details of the visits to each area or village are announced ahead of time so that people know when the mobile unit will be in their area.”
- Executive Undertakings 8: “The second phase of prioritization of investment will be social housing and the third phase will be informal settlement upgrading and using the municipalities, particularly the USDG.”
- Executive Undertakings 9: “Chairperson, we come back to the thorny issue of title deeds, when I had the occasion here before you I explained that I have established a Ministerial task team that has taken over the responsibility that we had given to the EAAB to clear the backlog.”
- Executive Undertakings 10: “We have now decided that we will have a proper monitoring device to ensure that the money that is given to the Metros for the USDG does the work that it is supposed to do.”
- Executive Undertakings 11: “A Framework Agreement on the Establishment of a Government Employees Housing Scheme is welcome news, and was signed with the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council in 2015.We have now taken it over back to human settlements and the ultimate goal is to make sure that we can assist all government employees to own homes.”
- PROCEDURE OF THE COMMITTEE
The concerned executive undertakings were referred to the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings (Committee) by the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, on 12 June 2017, for it to scrutinise and subsequently report to the House on their implementation.
After their referral to the Committee, proceeded to extend an invitation to the Minister to appear before it and report on the progress made by the Department of Human Settlement (Department) in implementing the concerned executive undertakings, which falls under its respective portfolio.
3.MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE
On 5 September 2019, relevant officials of the Department appeared before the Committee to report on the progress made in implementing the executive undertakings under consideration.
The following Committee Members were present at the meeting with the relevant officials of the Department:
- Hon Z V, ANC, Eastern Cape (Chairperson);
- Hon S Shaikh, ANC, Limpopo;
- Hon M P Mmola, ANC, Mpumalanga;
- Hon A B Gxoyiya, ANC, Northern Cape;
- Hon S Zandamela, EFF, Mpumalanga; and
- Hon S E Mfayela, IFP, KwaZulu-Natal
The Committee Members present, at the meeting, were supported by the following Committee officials:
- Mr N Mkhize, Committee Secretary;
- Adv. T Sterris; Committee Research;
- Mrs N Fakier; Executive Secretary;
- Ms F Lombard; Communication Services; and
- Mr M Nkwali, Researcher, Office of the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces.
The following representatives of the Department of Human Settlements appeared before the Committee during the meeting:
- Mr. M Tshangana, Director General,
- Mr W Jiyana, Chief Director, Stakeholder and Intergovernmental Relations
- Ms S Taitai, Parliamentary Officer;
4.PROGRESS REPORT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS
In their progress report to the Committee, the relevant Officials reported as follows:
- Executive Undertaking 1:
Submissions by the Department of Human Settlements (Department) were led by Mr M Mbulelo (Mr Mbulelo) and Mr W Jiyana (Jiyana). In his oral submissions, Mr Jiyana commenced by informing, that there was a Land Task Team, chaired by the Deputy President, supported by officials from the Department of Public Works and the Department of Land Reform (DRDALR). He reported that a decision was taken on which parcels of land should be transferred to the Department Human Settlement and Land Reform. Reporting that a comprehensive land audit has also been undertaken by DRDALR which will allow for property assessment and release of state land and property at the National sphere The challenge the Department had to consider was to avoid to publish this information to the public since there was the issue of land graps.
The presentation tabled before the Committee outlined the current status, indicating that a Joint Coordinating Committee on Land has been established which includes Departments of Public Works, Rural Development, Agriculture and Land Reform, Public Enterprises, Transport and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. All applications for release of land is assessed and recommended for release by the custodian department for Department development. Further informing that the relevant Provinces and Municipalities have also been directed to undertake such processes, with limited success. The Gauteng Department of Human Settlements has however undertaken a process for release of state land and properties for release. To date, 11 743 hectares of public (national and provincial) including municipal land has been identified to support the programme. The identified land can yield 121 898 units.
- Executive Undertaking 2:
Mr Jiyana then took the Committee through the progress made with the N2 Gateway Project in Cape Town, informing that the Department has now also started in Cosmo City and Durban. Informing that the recommendations of the evaluations have been applied in order to improve project outcomes and this includes transformation of current spatial status. Indicating that this
has now resulted in more intensive and focused implementation of the Catalytic Projects Programme and that 48 projects are currently in various stages of planning or implementation. In addition, focused grants have and are being introduced to ensure households living in informal settlements and more dire precarious circumstances are prioritised.
In its presentation, regarding the next step, the Department indicated that the Provinces and Municipalities are being monitored to ensure that ISUG and Emergency Grant applications are able to achieve required outcomes and this includes required business plans.
In respect of the IRDP, the Provinces have been directed to ensure that priority is given to ensuring implementation of the Catalytic and Mega Projects.
- Executive Undertaking 3:
Mr Jiyana then touched on the issue of material supply, indicating it been a challenge since manufacturers preferred to supply the bigger chain stores, which had the advantage of buying in bulk. Suggesting that the Department will consider looking to smaller manufacturers for better offers as well use alternative building materials. Further indicating, that this has been done in the Eastern Cape, and it been successful in the Nelson Mandela Metro and Delft (Cape Town) where about 2 000 units had been built through the CSIR. And the Department was now looking at doing this on a more expansive scale. Thus an Emergency Housing Grant and Informal Settlements Upgrading Grant has been established and implemented and in the case of the ISUG it is in its window period.
According to the Department presentation, it has commenced with a process to evaluate the procurement processes being applied in the Provinces and Municipalities. This is to ensure that there is compliance with the provisions of required socio-economic directives focused on empowerment and eradication of cartels and monopolies in the delivery chain. It further stated that the Chief Procurement Office will be enlist to provide guidance, advice and support in the monitoring of Provincial and Municipal procurement in the human settlements delivery chain.
The presentation further stated that a required and feasible process are envisaged to include the designation of material supply. Further indicating, that the Minister has already issued directives that all Provinces and Municipalities utilising Departmental grants ensure that a minimum of 30% is allocated to women enterprises and 10% to youth enterprises, across the
delivery chain. Provinces and Municipalities required to submit monthly reports to both the DG and Minister.
It was then reported that once complete the evaluation is expected to allow for the Minister to issue further directives to transform the economic aspects of the sector. This is expected to be completed in the 2020/21 financial year
- Executive Undertaking 4:
It was reported to the Committee, that the Department had a bilateral agreement with the Department of Science and Technology and other Departments, like the Department of Environmental Affairs through the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in attempt to secure better building materials.
The presentation indicating, that the CSIR in partnership with the Department and the NHBRC has undertaken research on the general priorities, barriers in the utilisation of alternative technologies, built a database, identified shortages on areas that need immediate intervention in each Province as, benefits and impact as well as how to scale up and implement alternative technologies. The research also advises on the regulations and approval methods for any innovative technology in the Human Settlement Sector. The Department, NHBRC and Department of Environmental Affairs have started engagements on the green house building as well as implementation of flagship projects that aims for a transition into a low carbon and climate resilient economy and society that can be achieved through the Climate Change Flagship Programme which aims to respond to these issues at a national scale.
It was further submitted that the Department had to compare the current systems, like geysers on roof tops, where the Department was not sure if they were the right weight for the building structures that they were on top of. The agreement was meant to look into these kinds of issues. The Department informed that it will also be rolling out a community education programme on these changes for the next two months, which would be presented to Parliament for adoption.
The Department then indicated a way forward, informing that a roadmap is almost complete, the draft document is to be presented to both the DST and NDHS/ WS management for endorsement and incorporation in the Policies of the Department to ensure implementation and inclusion in the MTSF (deadline for the presentation is 30 September 2019).Further indicating, that the MinMec has to approve the Guidelines for the implementation of already approved
technologies for the building of a house and other alternative technologies that may be considered to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in respond to climate change in collaboration with DEA ( deadline for approval is 2nd date of the next MinMec).
The Department progress report informed, that it held discussions with the DEA, KZN Provincial Department of Human Settlements and its Municipalities to start implementing flagship programme on new projects to ensure compliance with the DEA regulations on climate change. The Province and Municipalities had agreed to develop new guidelines that will inform all future projects and draft proposals that DEA may apply for external donor funding to ensure that the proposals are approved. Further, it was agreed that Greater emphasis needs to be placed on Environmental Impact Assessment protocols. Climate Change and environmental issues need to be dealt with at TEC level in which there will have to be climate control and compliance. From the roundtable discussion with the sector, the Department has to propose for approval by a management an implementation plan taking into account the responses from the roundtable. The deadline for the approval is 30 September 2019.
- Executive Undertaking 5:
According to the Department presentation, a desktop audit on blocked projects has been concluded. The individual Provinces and Municipalities have been consulted and they confirmed that various audits have been undertaken and that they will do the categorization of blocked projects, which includes Eastern Cape in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality (Rectification), the Gauteng Province (Hostel Redevelopment and CRU) (Transit Camps) and EThekwini Metropolitan Municipality.
The Department presentation then informed, that it is currently considering converting all blocked projects, based on categorization, into a national programme, then undertake a recon between the HSS and project based information, undertake a costing it and then enforce its implementation through a directive. The timeframe for activating outstanding project categories is 2020/21.
- Executive Undertaking 6:
In its presentation, the Department informs that a formal agreement with the Department of Energy has been entered into. And Work is being conducted to ensure solar panels used are right for the roof structure. NHBRC is looking into compliance matters that should not adversely affect the structure.
Further informing, that solar lighting is being pursued as discussed in the Green House concept with Department of Environment.
- Executive Undertaking 7:
According to the Department progress report, it has established an IGR Communications Task Team which manages the process of both Ministerial and Entity outreach coordination. The NHBRC has been requested to consider the procurement of an additional mobile unit in order to ensure more regular and frequent visits. The mobile unit currently in place allows communities where it visits to be provided with information and assistance on all of the Department and Entity programmes.
The presentation furthers informs, that Director-General has issued a directive to entities that there is a process of streamlining transversal services and this includes communication, outreach and training and empowerment initiatives through the use and application of mobile services. Reporting, that currently the Department, Provinces, Municipalities and Entities have wide variety of programmes to provide communities with information and in instances training.
- Executive Undertaking 8:
It was reported to the Committee, that based on a revision of the Departmental capital funding architecture, a dedicated fund for the provision of affordable rental housing. This is the Consolidated Capital Grant, managed and implemented by the SHRA with Provinces and Municipalities. In addition an Informal Settlements Upgrading Grant will come into effect in 2020/21, to upgrade and provide basic services, infrastructure and housing-This grant has been incubated and created out of the HSDG and USDG
The establishment of the Human Settlements Development Bank will ensure that top-up funding for projects is accessed. An impact evaluation will be undertaken in order to remove weaknesses and capitalize on the strengths of the funding of the programmes
- Executive Undertaking 9:
It was reported, that the challenge with title deeds faced by the Department, lay in the processes. Citing a slow/no coding been done leading to non-formal registration of some properties in the townships, some going as far back as 1997. It was submitted that a Ministerial Task Team was
established in order to assist Provinces and Municipalities in removing legal, administrative, regulatory and compliance backlogs.
The Department further reported that it is in consultation with National Treasury to extend the term of the Title Deeds Restoration Grant. In doing so more stringent accountability and responsibility will be assigned to Executive and Accounting Officers. And an operational provision has also been put in place to allow for a supplementation of capacity in the National, Provincial and Municipal spheres to ensure required performances.
- Executive Undertaking 10:
The Department has indicated that it had set itself target for streamlining a portion of its grants to specific grants. One was for title deeds, and another was for informal settlements’ upgrading. These grants were meant to target specific spaces, and would force provinces that tended to divert grants to other areas instead of the specified areas to act according to what they were expected to do. Indicating in the presentation, that these will be achieved by following proper monitoring device that will ensure the following:
- USDG grant framework be more clearly defined outputs
- USDG performance measurement indicators should outline in the Monitoring, Evaluation and Impact Assessment (MEIA) framework.
- The implementation guidelines for the 2020/24 MTSF period
- USDG indicators available in the MEIA system for reporting
- Quarterly performance review sessions be held with the Metros
- Bi-annual project level monitoring exercises conducted in Metros
- Bi-annual round table discussions held with Metros
Further indicating, to undertake an evaluation to determine effectiveness of the measures in order to achieve the required targets, outputs and outcomes. The Department’s solution had been to place these grants under Division of Revenue Act (DORA) in order to ensure that there was compliance with how the grants were spent. And further meant that they were within the scope of the Auditor General.
- Executive Undertakings 11:
The presentation informed, that an institutional arrangement to implement are still to be finalised. In the interim, DPSA is coordinating the GEHS. At end of March 2019, 11 630 housing loans worth R7 129 713 294 (R7.1bn) were granted, with Individual Link Saving Facility (ILSF) has a balance of R7,3 billion and 7, 960 government employees have benefitted. There are 288 968 (45, 12%) of government employees are renting while 600 645 employees are registered as home owners and as a result are receiving a housing allowance.
The presentation further informed, that the implementation arrangement to be finalised between National Treasury, Department of Public Service Administration and National Department of Human Settlements.
5.OBSERVATIONS AND KEY FINDINGS
In noting the progress report given by the officials in relation to the implementation of the executive undertakings under review, the Committee made the following observations and key findings:
- The Committee resolved, that the Department had to look into time frames regarding it outcomes of it projects.
- The Committee observed that it preferable if the Department made presentations that had information specific to all provinces.
- The Department had undertaken the task of doing a cost analysis of building materials. There had not been an advocacy campaign to educate people on the availability of Government Employee Housing Scheme, so many governments employees did not know that this was a viable option that they could exploit.
- The problem with title deeds that faced the Department, lay in the processes, meaning that no coding had been done and for this to be done, the area had to be retrofitted.
- The Department to expedite the process of attending to the following projects:
- The implementation of housing loans/human settlement funds to government employees who do not qualify for RDP housing.
- That a Ministerial Task Team be established to assist provinces and municipalities to expedite the processes of the registration of title deeds by removing excessive bureaucracy compliance.
- The Municipality is to ensure there is greater transparency and openness in relation to the allocation of RDP houses, by developing and implementing a mechanism that is aimed at addressing the maladministration and inefficiencies plaguing the allocation of RDP houses.
- The Department is to ensure local beneficiation, in the local procurement of building material in recommendation 6.2 and community development in its building projects. To provide assistance and support to local suppliers in relation to the registering of the Centralised Supplier Database and ensure there is greater transparency and communication in relation to its procurement processes.
Report to be considered.
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