Budget Speech Vote 15 delivered by Honourable North West MEC for Human Settlements, Desbo Mohono
3 Jun 2010
“Expanding the frontiers of human fulfilment and pushing back the frontiers of homelessness”
Honourable Speaker of the Provincial Legislature,
Members of the Executive Council,
Honourable Members of the Provincial Legislature,
Honourable leaders of political parties and traditional leaders,
Executive Mayors and Mayors,
Head of the Department of Human Settlements,
All Senior Managers from all spheres of government,
Friends, comrades and fellow citizens of the North West
Addressing the first democratic Parliament of a liberated South Africa in 1994, President Nelson Mandela, among other things, had this to say:
“And so we must, constrained by and yet regardless of the accumulated effect of our historical burdens, seize the time to define for ourselves what we want to make of our shared destiny. The purpose that will drive this government shall be the expansion of the frontiers of human fulfilment, the continuous extension of the frontiers of freedom.”
Sixteen years later, we can boldly state that as a nation and a province, we had indeed seized the historic moment presented by the 1994 breakthrough to define for ourselves the kind of society we wanted to construct out of the ruins of our ugly past.
Our determined efforts over the years have helped to accelerate our collective advance towards the realisation of a better life for all. Each year that passed represented a significant and progressive realisation of the dream of a better life for all that President Mandela defined for us as a nation in 1994.
Today we can boldly assert that, as a country and province, we have succeeded in turning the tide against homelessness. We have done so in fulfilment of the pledge made by the representatives of our people who, gathered at Kliptown in 1955, declared: “There shall be houses, security and comfort for all. All people shall have the right to live where they choose, to be decently housed, and to bring up their families in comfort and security. Slums shall be demolished and new suburbs built where all shall have transport, roads, lighting, playing fields, crèches and social centres.”
This commitment, made by the real Congress of the People 55 years ago, is at the heart of what defines our human settlements vision. Honourable Speaker, the task of translating this pledge of the Freedom Charter into reality resides on the shoulders of this department which I have the honour to lead. In her State of the Province Address, the Honourable Premier articulated the key strategic thrust of the new Human Settlements paradigm.
She said: “our goal is to provide sustainable human settlements that improve the quality of life. This will include the eradication, over a growth anchored period, of informal settlements thereby restoring the dignity of our communities through legal security of tenure; the availability of services, materials, social interaction facilities and infrastructure.”
She went on to caution against implementing programmes that perpetuate apartheid spatial planning which marginalises the poor from economic opportunities as well as social and cultural amenities. We at Human Settlements regard the Premier’s pronouncements as marching orders which must be followed to the letter!
Honourable Speaker, I stand here before your august House to reflect on the road we have traversed on our long journey towards sustainable human settlements and to explain how we hope to navigate the road that still lies ahead. In doing so, we will seek to give concrete expression to our vision as articulated by President Jacob Zuma and Premier Maureen Modiselle in their State of the Nation Address and State of the Province Address respectively.
As the era of housing as a concept steadily recedes into our distant past and a new era of human settlements firmly entrenches itself in our collective consciousness, we must remain alive to the challenges that this paradigm shift imposes on our collective shoulders. These challenges relate to the need for integrated service delivery planning, coordinated implementation and integrated budgeting regimes that will enable effective delivery of habitable human settlements.
The general lack of suitable and appropriately located land makes the task of developing real human settlements a daunting challenge, but not an insurmountable one. Some of the land that we had originally earmarked for housing development has been found to be dolomitic. In this regard, we are continuously engaging the relevant department to avail appropriate state land.
Honourable Speaker, you will recall that last year I made an undertaking that we would deliver 19 000 houses by the end of this financial year. In this regard, we have succeeded in completing 16 557 certified housing units, and managed to spend R1,1 billion conditional grant. A number of factors have contributed to our inability to achieve the target that we set for ourselves. These include, among others, the subsidy quantum increase in line with the nationally determined quantum (that is pronounced by national government after the provincial budget has already been finalised) as against minimal complementary conditional grant budget growth, funding of other activities such as investigations for dolomitic conditions and funding of internal services as part of providing basic services to our housing beneficiaries.
Given that all these constraints tap from the same source, we have been unable to reach our original target. Despite these constraints, our programme to deliver sustainable human settlements remains firmly on track. With each passing day, our people are assured of a future that looks qualitatively better than the past as the frontiers of homelessness recede in the face of our collective and sustained push. This, I can say with absolute certainty, that after almost sixteen years of democracy in our country, the masses of our people can attest to a gradual, step by step, replacement of the old with the new.
Consistent with the commitment made by Premier Modiselle in her State of the Province Address, we will complete 14 000 housing units during the course of this financial year. In the last financial year, the department approved more than 21 000 subsidy applications and during the course of this year, we will approve 18 000 subsidies as part of our commitment to house and promote home ownership to our people.
Honourable Speaker, for the current financial year, we have been allocated R1.4 billion, including a conditional grant of R1.2 billion. The departmental expenditure for 2009/10 financial year stood at 99.8%. We are confident that the same expenditure pattern will continue during the current financial year as part of our collective effort to expand the frontiers of human fulfilment and to ensure the realization of our national vision which was so eloquently expressed in 1955: There shall be houses, security and comfort for all!
We will also continue to pay focused attention to prudent utilisation of public resources. In particular, we are determined to address all concerns raised in the Audit Report as well as the management letters. In this regard, we have already appointed an Audit Steering Committee to identify weaknesses and recommend corrective measures. The challenge we are currently grappling with is the accountability of funds paid to municipalities in tranches.
Reconciliation of the tranche payments for periods prior to the previous financial year revealed that funds paid to certain municipalities for housing projects in some instances were not all used for the purpose for which they were originally intended. At the same time, I am pleased to inform this House that in the previous year we managed to improve tranche payments reconciliations. In the interest of financial accountability, we have decided to close this tap. No future payments will be done during this financial year as tranche payments to municipalities. We will only make payments on the basis of actual work done.
One of our major areas of concern is the illegal occupation of houses in some areas. We are unwavering in our determination to nip this problem in the bud. Among other things, we will ensure that beneficiary occupation is done immediately after completion of houses and housing occupancy audit done to ensure that the same problem does not recur. The national department is currently engaged in a process of identifying illegal occupants and ensuring that rightful beneficiaries occupy their houses. We will follow up and collaborate closely with the national department to expedite the process of normalising the situation.
Honourable Speaker, I am pleased to announce that we are in the process of developing mechanisms that will close the gaps so that we can arrest this problem more effectively. It should be appreciated that this challenge has both major legal and financial consequences. We will do whatever it takes within our policy and legal frameworks to ensure that remedial measures are instituted in the best interests of rightful beneficiaries!
The department had consciously chosen to utilise municipalities as implementation agents of our housing projects. However, inadequate capacity in municipalities, with regard to project and financial management, has been a serious challenge. We have, as a department, taken over the implementation of new and challenging projects directly. The objective was to ensure that municipalities are first put in a position of institutional readiness to adequately perform their statutory responsibilities in areas such as project management, planning and budgeting.
Honourable Speaker, we have decided to rescind our earlier decision to terminate the accreditation programme for municipalities. Accordingly, we are targeting five municipalities over the MTEF period for accreditation, namely, Mafikeng, Matlosana, Madibeng, Tlokwe and Rustenburg. During the financial year 2010/11, the department will start with the process of accrediting Rustenburg, Tlokwe and Matlosana and a budget has already been set aside for this purpose. A detailed capacity support programme will be developed in due course in fulfilment of this critical objective.
This shall be done strictly according the Accreditation Policy Framework.
Honourable Speaker, our commitment to upgrade informal settlements and to make them habitable places remains firmly on our radar screen. We are painfully aware of the enormous challenges that confront us as we embark on this mammoth, yet noble, task. We have approximately 71 000 informal dwellings or shacks in the North West. We will strive to reduce our informal settlements backlogs in line with the Presidential directive.
Most probably as a result of the rapid growth of Rustenburg, Bojanala District has the highest percentage of informal settlements at 70,9%, followed by Dr Modiri Molema at 43,6%, then Dr Ruth Mompati at 31,8 and Dr Kenneth Kaunda has the lowest at 12,6%. What drives these urban migration patterns is a fact of economic reality people want to be closer to economic activities and nearer to their places of employment. The plan that we articulated last year in this House yielded about 4 000 serviced sites as follows: Koster 850, Wolmaranstad ext13 1780, Makwasi ext4605, Wolmaranstad extension 15 540.
Our approach to the upgrading of informal settlements takes into account the new human settlement paradigm. In addition, we have an understanding with municipalities that they will, through their projects, advance the goal of upgrading informal settlements. We are ready to commence with top structures for 1 600 units in informal settlements. Equally important is the task of curbing the further growth and mushrooming of informal settlements.
This requires government to redouble its efforts to curb further land invasions. In this regard, the national department is engaging the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development with a view to introduce enabling legislation.
Honourable Speaker, the hard work we have put in reducing the housing backlogs have been undermined by beneficiaries whose actions are inconsistent with our goal of ensuring decent housing for all. This problem was captured by the President during the recent special Presidential Coordinating Committee meeting on Human Settlements when he said: “We are aware that some people receive their houses, then rent them out and move back to the informal settlements. We therefore end up chasing moving targets.”
Honourable Speaker, we regard the concern expressed by our President as a call to action. I wish to appeal to all our people to help us exorcise this demon wherever it may appear. Together, let us expose this corrupt and fraudulent practice so that our scarce resources can be deployed to where real needs exist. It may be necessary for our municipalities to consider enacting by-laws and appropriate enforceable regulations to help eliminate this problem.
As we proceed to upgrade informal settlements and transform them into places that our people can be proud to call home, we remain concerned about the degrading names that have been given to our informal settlements and other newly-created townships. In this regard, we must use the upgrading process to contribute towards the restoration of the dignity of our people and to instil a sense of pride in the newly upgraded informal and formalised settlements.
We will, in due course, initiate a consultative process to rename some of our settlements which were given unpleasant and unpalatable names. Our objective is to ensure that all offensive and degrading names are replaced with names that reflect the dignity and pride of our people.
Consistent with the pronouncement made by the Honourable Premier in her State of the Province Address that three hostels will benefit from our family unit upgrading programme, we will proceed to upgrade the following hostels: Jouberton in Matlosana, Dube in Tlokwe and Tlhabane Female Hostel in Rustenburg. We have already completed feasibility studies for building family units as a critical step towards demolishing and replacing hostels. These studies have confirmed both demand and affordability for rental units in Tlokwe and Rustenburg municipalities. We will embark on further feasibility studies in municipalities such as Moses Kotane and Matlosana for projects that will unfold in the financial year 2011/12.
The process of constructing twenty-four family units in the Lekwa-Teemane municipality is currently underway and is expected to be completed in the next few months. In Matlosana, we are proceeding with speed to convert the remaining 198 family units at Jouberton Hostel. We are confident that this programme will be completed during the course of this year. In Tlokwe Local Municipality, double-storey walk-ups, comprising of 100 units, will be constructed to replace the old Dube hostel. We will deliver at least 400 rental units.
Honourable Speaker, Private-Public Partnership (PPP) is starting to bear some fruit. We have entered into a partnership agreement with Impala Mine and National Housing Finance Corporation (NHFC) for bonded houses. We have already approved forty beneficiaries for this new programme.
Our partnership with Anglo-Plats in Seraleng has delivered the much needed internal roads infrastructure which is critical to the realisation of integrated human settlements. We have already completed 3 200 low-cost houses. Together with Anglo-Plats, Xstrata and financial Institutions we will embark on a project to build bonded houses. The same approach will be adopted in Hartebeespoortdam in Madibeng Local Municipality, where we will implement different housing programmes in pursuit of integrated human settlements. This will facilitate the integration of all our people across class and race. The Hartebeespoort project is in the planning phase.
We will strengthen our engagements and partnerships with financial institutions in pursuit of the objective of expanding access to decent housing for all. We are pursuing this route as part of our determined effort to respond to the Premier’s announcement that: “Our delivery system will be expanded to include the ‘outside low cost income and below affordable housing criteria home seekers’ through credit linked projects secured through a negotiated arrangement with financial institutions and labour absorbing private sector institutions such as mines.”
Our government’s R1 billion guarantee fund initiative is meant for those who find themselves excluded by default because they fall outside the criteria for both the low-cost housing scheme and the bonded market. Those who stand to benefit from the R1 billion Government Guarantee Fund that was announced by the President in his State of the Nation Address include the nurses, teachers, police, prison warders, government officials, certain categories of management, and blue collar factory and office workers. This is the group that the Premier refers to as “the outside low cost income and below affordable housing criteria home seekers.”
We have also intensified our focus on capacity building and consumer awareness. During the course of this year, 120 officials from the province and municipalities will be trained on housing consumer education. Eleven officials have already been trained on Home Loan Mortgage Disclosure Act for 2000 (HLAMDA) which empowers beneficiaries regarding their rights and obligations when applying for loans from financial institutions. The eleven trainees have, in turn, trained 38 beneficiaries.
Honourable Speaker, one critical area which will also receive focused attention during the course of this year is rental housing. This is consistent with the speech made by the President during the recent special Presidential Coordinating Committee meeting. As we pursue this area of our work, we want to ensure that the exploitation and abuse that historically characterised tenant-landlord relationships are consigned to the dustbin of our history.
We have established mechanisms that seek to enforce the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants whenever there is a dispute. The North West Rental Housing Tribunal has mediated on rental cases that have been brought to its attention, including cases from rural areas and farmlands across the province. The Tribunal has handled more than 240 cases over the past year. It is encouraging to note that since the implementation of the Rental Act, no rulings have been challenged in the High Court.
I am pleased to announce that we have appointed members of the North West Rental Housing Tribunal. They are reflective of the demographics of our province and have the requisite skills and experience to discharge their responsibilities. Let me express my profound appreciation to members of the Rental Housing Tribunal, some of whom are in this Chamber today, for having accepted this challenging, yet fulfilling burden on behalf of our people.
Consistent with our objective of speeding up housing delivery, I will, during the course of this year appoint four people to the Housing Advisory Panel which will provide the Member of the Executive Council with technical support to discharge the housing delivery mandate more effectively. We will soon be calling for nominations in line with the Housing Amendment Act No. 4 of 2001. Members of the Housing Advisory Panel will be people with requisite skills, knowledge and experience on housing matters.
Honourable Speaker, last year we made an undertaking to address the human development needs of our people by developing a plan and promoting housing as a central deliverable within Integrated Development Plans (IDPs). We have compiled the Provincial Multi-Year Housing plan that will guide housing delivery in the province. Twelve municipalities have completed IDP housing chapters and two are in the compilation stage.
Six municipalities will complete their plans by the end of September 2010. As these processes unfold, we are confident that our municipalities will also prioritise bulk infrastructure services as part of ensuring that human settlements become a reality.
The Multi-Year Housing Development Plan will also be reviewed and updated to take into account the changing housing dynamics in the province. While we are busy assisting municipalities to develop these plans, it is important to ensure that they are aligned to provincial and national plans. We believe that we will be able to achieve efficiency and effectiveness if municipalities model their spatial frameworks on the Provincial Spatial Framework as these framework give location to housing projects.
Efficiency will be achieved because strategic environmental assessments and environmental management plans will be part of the spatial frameworks. This will reduce the turn-around time for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) of our projects. As you may be aware, Honourable Speaker, this has been a major complaint in most of our projects. In addition, it will also promote co-ordination with the departmental responsible for approvals of EIAs.
There will be more emphasis on monitoring in the coming years to ensure that our housing delivery is consistent with our plans. This will enable timeous remedial actions should the need arise.
In our last Budget Speech, we announced that the department would research housing needs in the province and develop a housing needs register or housing database. In terms of the marching orders from the Premier, we will proceed to finalise a housing demand database during this financial year. All the necessary preparatory work has been completed and we are ready to proceed with this important task.
We see a Housing Needs Register as an important tool that will assist us to accurately determine the housing backlog and empower us to plan and budget better for housing developments. In this regard, we will, during this financial year, review the current housing strategy with a view to developing a provincial housing strategy that will take into account the paradigm shift from housing to human settlements.
Honourable Speaker, since assuming the responsibility as political Head of this Department, I have noted with both sadness and anger the shoddy workmanship on some of our projects. As our renewed focus on quality gains momentum, there will be no room for shoddy work and no space to hide for dodgy contractors. We have reviewed our contract management system to ensure better enforcement. We will be invoking penalty clauses wherever there is deviation from our service level agreements.
During the recent Provincial Emerging Conference, I reminded all emerging contractors that the word “emerging” should not be synonymous with sub-standard quality or shoddy work. Our people deserve decent and quality houses. As an industry, we have a responsibility to build houses that contribute towards the restoration of our people’s dignity.
To deal with the problem of poor workmanship on some of the projects, we will increase our inspectorate capacity. The National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) will participate meaningfully in all housing projects to help with quality monitoring. In addition to increased monitoring of projects, more attention will be paid to contract management enforcement. As this House is probably aware, we are in the process of conducting a quality housing audit and rectification of old projects. This exercise will enable government to hold those responsible accountable. We have also noted with concern stoppages in some of our projects as well as the inability of some of our emerging contractors to deliver on site.
Our programme of empowering emerging contractors is firmly on track. We will ensure that mentorship is provided to emerging contractors in order to curb contract non-performance. In order to manage contractors within the programme, the department will create a database of emerging contractors.
The database will have rules for entry and for advancement. The exit strategy of the department will be designed in such a way that contractors will exit one support system at a time, until all support systems are removed. The department shall at all times guard against creating an environment that will promote the contractor’s total dependence on the department’s work opportunities and support systems for survival.
The department has established a new database for Turnkey Developers for women and is in the process of finalising the general database for Turnkey Developers. We have also opened our database for professional service providers. During the course of this year, we will open up the database to ensure that all qualifying contractors are able to tender for projects. This is critical to ensure that more developers get opportunities for new projects. It is however, important to remember that all contractors will have to comply with relevant policies and specific standards. Among other things, this means registration with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB).
During the Provincial Emerging Contractors’ Conference we acknowledged our responsibility to increase the share of construction work that is allocated to enterprises owned by historically marginalised groups. This we must do, not only to reverse the legacy of racial economic practices, but also because it is a business imperative.
Honourable Speaker, the programme to unblock all the blocked projects continues. At the same time, we are also implementing the housing rectification programme to rectify those houses that were shoddily constructed. In the light of the current conditional grant budget allocation and inadequate human resource capacity in the department, the challenge in this regard remains enormous. We are confident that a fully-fledged and functional organisational structure will help alleviate some of these challenges. We intend establishing additional regional offices in districts so that our department can be more accessible to our people. This will enable us to monitor closely human settlements projects across the province.
Honourable Speaker, we have made a commitment in this House to re-engineer the departments focus on policy development and implementation. We emphasised the need for coordinating capacity building in the province and to promote and integrate the needs of vulnerable and marginalised groups in all our policies.
The 20 women contractors and their employees that were trained by the department through financial help from the Department of Labour are presently on site building one house each at Mabule. R13 million was set aside for Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and National Youth Service project throughout the province in the current financial year. This exercise is intended to place trained youth into existing projects to accumulate practical skills in the building of houses. At the end of the programme, the impact assessment will be conducted to evaluate the level of knowledge that young people have acquired.
The department intends to establish District and Provincial Youth Housing Steering Committees in order to integrate young people in the delivery of houses. These structures will help advocate and influence participation of young people in the construction of houses. The department will continue to have information sharing sessions and conduct awareness workshops with women, youth and people living with disabilities at their district steering committees.
Honourable Speaker, I am delighted to announce that the province will be hosting the National Women Build in August this year. Each district is expected to build 500 houses by women contractors. Twenty houses will be built for abused women and children throughout the province during the Sixteen Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children. This will be done in partnership with the Department of Social Development and Health.
Honourable Speaker, I am pleased to announce that the process of disestablishing the North West Housing Corporation (NWHC) is almost complete. The operations of the Corporation effectively closed on 31 March 2010. All permanent employees of the NWHC have been absorbed into the Department of Human Settlements. We will be finalising legal processes in due course to ensure that the institution ceases to exist as a legal entity.
I have appointed a Task Team to identify all outstanding issues such as the legal processes, and to advise me on how to deal with matters such as debtors, creditors and assets of the Corporation. EXCO will, in due course, pronounce itself on the recommendations of the Task Team. As soon as all outstanding issues have been addressed, we will submit a Bill to this House which will provide for the disestablishment of the North West Housing Corporation.
It should however be emphasised to all debtors and creditors of the NWHC in the main, that all the functions previously discharged by the Corporation are now with the Department of Human Settlements. There is therefore no need for either panic or excitement! The department will in due course issue a statement indicating processes to be followed in, among others, settling accounts and honouring all obligations.
Honourable Speaker, during the week of 11 to 16 May, we observed National Sanitation and Hygiene Week under the theme: “Sanitation for health and dignity”. During that week, we sought to mobilise government agencies and communities to prioritise sanitation, health and hygiene and to highlight government’s efforts to ensure that our people have access to sanitation. Our government remains steadfast in its commitment towards restoring the dignity of our people through the provision of proper sanitation. We are determined as the North West to ensure that South Africa fulfils its international commitment to eradicate sanitation backlogs by 2015.
Honourable Speaker, our province has, over the years, experienced natural disasters such as floods and severe hailstorms which damaged houses and in the process brought untold pain and hardships to many families. We have made additional allocations for emergency housing and to disaster-prone areas to enable us to respond to the plight of our communities in distress.
In areas where we have intervened such as Kanana and Taung, work is proceeding to rebuild damaged houses so that affected families can return to their homes. During the course of this year, we will look at the way we assist communities and families that are affected by these disasters, and develop guidelines to enable us to intervene timeously and effectively. This is important because when disaster strikes, our people need help immediately, not years later.
As a caring government, our major focus is the poorest of the poor because they, too, are entitled to taste the fruits of our freedom and democracy. We have made a difference in the life of many families, including the Puleng family in Morokweng. Surviving on social grants with no other means of income, this family of thirty-one had been staying in a four-roomed cracked mud house for many years.
During Human Rights Month, we delivered seven houses to this family to address their unbearable living conditions. We have managed to ensure that a number of child-headed households in the province now have decent roofs over their heads. As part of the MEC’s special project and with the support of some contractors, we have, during the course of last year, ensured that seven child-headed households have decent roofs over their heads. We are indeed grateful to these corporate citizens whose social conscience and loyalty to their communities have moved them to lend a hand to the task of changing the lives of the poor for the better.
During Mandela Day last year, in response to the call to give 67 minutes of our time to nation-building, we helped to build a house for the a child-headed household in Ledig. The gift that we gave Mr William Pogiso Segone and his family members in their hour of need is a fitting tribute to the vision and sacrifices of Tata Nelson Mandela. During this year’s Mandela Day, we will be in Cokonyane village in Taung.
We will identify ten families living in mud houses and then lay foundations for proper houses to be built. These interventions give concrete expression to our commitment to change the lives of all our people for the better. We look forward to announcements by the business sector of their commitment in this regard.
Honourable Speaker, rural development is one of the key priorities of the current administration. We will, as part of the government collective, pay focused attention to addressing the challenge of housing in rural areas. As part of the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme, we have completed 320 low-cost houses in Mokgalwaneng. The majority of the beneficiaries are the poor and elderly. We are doing this as part of our effort to expand the frontiers of human fulfilment and to push back the frontiers of homelessness.
Honourable Speaker, we share the concerns of all South Africans regarding the recent spate of community protests in some parts of the country. We have also observed that housing is one of the central issues in many of these protest actions. This democratic government is the first to admit that the issues that our people raise are, in most cases, legitimate. However, we condemn the destruction of property and criminal activities that go with some of these protests. We are firmly behind our law-enforcement agencies in their quest to protect lives and property.
As a department we have already begun to respond to the many concerns raised by our people regarding the pace and quality of housing delivery. In addition, we will intensify our direct and unmediated interaction with our people during the course of this year. Consistent with Cabinet resolution, we will intensify our public participation programme (previously known as imbizo programme) which will primarily be a platform to give our citizens an opportunity to assess our performance as government and for us to articulate our programme of action for 2010/11.
We will also ensure that we respond timeously and comprehensively to all the issues raised by our people during all previous izimbizo. This we must do if public participation is to have practical meaning to the lives of our people and if participatory democracy is to be consolidated. As this platform of popular participation moves forward, as a department, we must strive to respond faster to the people’s immediate concerns. The people have confidence that their issues and concerns will focus the attention of government on their needs. We dare not disappoint them!
Honourable Speaker, as you are probably aware the housing sector has been the focus of anti-corruption investigations for some time, and the national Minister has given this matter his highest priority. As a result, some people have been arrested and others convicted. More arrests are in the pipeline. We will continue to do this as part of our resolve to ensure that never again will people steal from the poor and get away with it. With the assistance of the Special Investigating Unit, we will, without let or hindrance, continue to fight corruption wherever it may rear its ugly head.
The following housing projects have been identified for investigation: Meriting Ext 4 and 5, Freedom Park Phase 1 and 2 (located in Rustenburg Local Municipality), Kanana Ext 14, Khuma Ext 11, Jouberton Ext 24 Alabama Ext 3 (all in Matlosana Local Municipality) and Letsopa (in Tswaing Local Municipality). I must indicate that certain projects are becoming candidates for this action. Those found wanting shall be dealt with mercilessly as government will recover wasted and irregularly spent funds. Watch this space!
I am keenly aware that all the undertakings we have made before your House today can only be realised if we have a skilled, committed and passionate cadre of public servants. We have, accordingly, devoted most of our energies to strengthening our staff’s capacity to deliver on our mandate through various training programmes as well as health and wellness interventions. We are also in the process of finalising our organisational structure to enable us to respond effectively to the mandate of the department.
As part of our response to the challenge posed by youth unemployment and at the same time help improve service delivery, twenty five unemployed graduates have been placed on a one year internship programme starting in June this year. A plan is in place to implement a learnership programme for unemployed youth. We are pursuing this plan through our engagement with Construction SETA (CETA).
We will prioritise Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) programme for officials of the department. Through this programme, we seek to avail education opportunities to all employees. Honourable Speaker, ABET addresses one of the most cruel legacies of our ugly past. As a result of policies that denied many of our people access to basic education, today we have an army of public servants who are trapped in lower ranks and with little prospect of upward mobility. I am confident that ABET will open new opportunities for many of our staff and empower them to serve the public better. Already about fifty officials are ready to enrol in this programme.
May I now table the following budget of the Department of Human Settlements:
Allocation: R85 656
Housing Needs, Research and Planning:
Allocation: R5 653
Housing Development: R21 794
Integrated Housing and Human Settlement Development Grant:
R1 288 770
Total: R1 401 873
Honourable Speaker, it is important to appreciate that the needs and expectations of our people far outstrip available resources. Challenges are countless and our budget is incapable of adequately addressing these needs and demands. As true human settlements cadres, we are responding to this challenge fully conscious of our responsibility to do more with less.
Let me concede that despite some significant victories and decisive advances we have made over the years, the stark reality that stares us all in the face is that the past still haunts the present. Far too many of our people still live in shacks, with no access to running water, sanitation, electricity and other basic services. However, as a result of our collective efforts, we are able to boldly declare that indeed we have managed to bring hope and dignity to the majority of our people. For many of our people, today is better than yesterday and tomorrow will be better than today.
We must never rest as long as there are informal settlements with insecure tenure and without basic services. We must never rest nor tire until every citizen of the province has access to decent and quality housing in secure environments. In so doing, we will be giving practical meaning to the pledge that we made during our liberation struggle that we will never consider our mission accomplished and our liberation attained, unless all our people are freed from the bondage of homelessness and poverty.
We must accelerate the speed of quality housing delivery in the province in honour of those who have placed their faith in our new democracy and those who sacrificed their lives in fulfilment of this dream. I call on all departmental officials and all stakeholders involved in housing delivery from across the province to harness the same spirit and energies that prevailed during the first democratic elections to help advance the goal of decent and quality housing for all.
Honourable Speaker, the challenges that lie ahead remain daunting, but certainly not insurmountable. Let us all remain focused on the task at hand and never abandon our vigilance. The road that lies ahead is long and hard. The legacy we seek to eradicate is stubborn and will not surrender with sheepish timidity. To relax our collective efforts now will be a fatal mistake and a betrayal of our historic vision. To let loose now will be to run the risk of aborting the sacred mission of expanding the frontiers of human fulfilment and extending the frontiers of freedom that former President Mandela spoke about in 1994.
In conclusion, let me thank my family, in particular my dear husband, Patrick; my precious children, Pana, Koketso, Tshepiso, Maso, Munaka; my mother, Dumelang; and staff of the department for having been my pillar of strength during trying times. I also wish to thank the Honourable Premier, Maureen Modiselle, Members of the Executive Council and Members of the Provincial Legislature, in particular the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Traditional Affairs and Housing, Honourable Paul Sebego and his team for their constant words of wisdom, advice and constructive criticism.
May I also extend a word of gratitude to my political home, the African National Congress, which is the embodiment and repository of our people’s aspirations, for having granted me the opportunity to serve our people in this capacity. To our alliance partners, my heartfelt appreciation for the enduring partnership and unity that have enabled us to bring hope to the majority of our people. More importantly, I wish to thank God the Almighty for giving me the strength to discharge my responsibilities and for guiding me through many difficult moments.
Indeed, working together, we can do more to deliver sustainable human settlements for all!
I thank you.
Issued by: North West Human Settlements, Public Safety and Liaison
3 Jun 2010
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