Media brief on second quarter performance of Department of Local Government and Housing
23 Nov 2010
Our department is once again delighted to have this opportunity to report to you about our achievements since the last briefing. Our main goals still remain, and we continue to add more thrust, vigour and time to achieving these goals. It is our goal to build sustainable human settlements; to provide and develop integrated infrastructure; create cohesive communities and to improve governance and management of local government administrations.
The recent reconfiguration of the Executive in Gauteng underlines the urgent need to improve service delivery to the communities of the Gauteng province. The Department of Local Government and Housing stands in a unique and yet strategic position in the provision of sustainable human settlements to our communities in Gauteng.
The department is continuing with our programmes to provide decent housing to our citizens amid challenges we continue to face. We also appreciate that this task will never be a success if it is made an exclusive domain of government. We continue to strive for working partnerships with a number of important stakeholders in order to make sure that we shoulder the responsibility of provision of decent housing.
Our overall approach to the provision of human settlements revolves around the following programmes:
- mixed housing development
- alternative tenure
- eradication of informal settlements
Since April this year, our department has managed to build 7 512 houses, completed 676 rental units and serviced 4 397 stands. We continue to accelerate the provision of decent housing through various programmes including our Urban Renewal programmes. The Urban Renewal Programmes continue to be our flagship programmes to revitalise previously neglected black townships in order to ensure that they are developed socially and economically in order to ensure a much coordinated integration of those settlements.
To this end, on the 16 September 2010, we launched the Winterveldt Renewal Plan which aims to develop the area of Winterveldt into a more socially and economically sustainable area that will ensure a decent livelihood for its communities. The government will set aside a budget in the next financial year to continue with this project in Winterveldt.
We have also successfully launched on the 17 August 2010, the Lufhereng Housing project under our Mixed Housing Development. This is also one of our flagship projects that will yield just over 34 000 housing units for our communities, once completed.
Gauteng province continues to suffer from the shortage of suitable land to build decent houses. The Department of Local Government and Housing has been trying to explore sustainable ways to ensure that land which is in the public and private hands is made available to build houses. We have since finalised a land acquisition plan for the2010/11 financial year which has been approved by the Executive Council.
This plan seeks to outline an approach the province should adopt in acquiring land in partnership with various stakeholders and equally identifies pockets of land that must be acquired. Through this plan we hope that the department will be able to make sure its plans to deliver more houses are complemented by a more predictable availability of land.
Our work to strengthen local government's capacity in order to deliver basic services to communities continues. You will recall that in the beginning of the year, we launched a provincial framework on the Local Government Turnaround strategy (LGTAS). This was followed by a programme to support municipalities to adopt their municipal specific turnaround strategies. I am happy to announce that all municipalities in Gauteng have adopted their turnaround strategies. We will continue to work with them together with other sector departments both in the province and nationally including public entities to ensure that municipalities are supported to fully implement their strategies.
As part of making sure that we support municipalities we will enhance public participation and also bridge the gap between government in all its spheres with communities, and our work to support and monitor the functioning of ward committees continues. We have also presented to the Executive Council (EXCO) a refined model that will assist in enhancing the functionality of ward committees and this model has been approved by the EXCO as a basis to engage various stakeholders in order to seek social consensus amongst the stakeholders.
The work of our Community Development Workers' (CDWs) Programme also continues to ensure that government services are brought closer to communities and information on such services is made easily available to communities. The CDWs continue to undertake this task, working closely with municipalities and community structures. We have also developed a revised model on the CDW programme as an attempt to also enhance the effectiveness of bridging the gap between government and communities. This programme continues to be a very important one amongst the programmes of the department. We are currently in consultation with municipalities in order to solicit their input and support of the revised CDW model.
The ability of municipalities to ensure effective provision of services is heavily dependent on their ability to raise revenue and also to ensure that their debt collection and credit control systems are improved. Through our Revenue enhancement and Debt Management Model, the department is working closely with all municipalities in making sure that processes are put in place to ensure that consumer debt on services rendered to communities, government departments and business is reduced significantly. We continue to consult with municipalities to ensure that this model yields very positive results.
In order to enhance the institutional capacity of our municipalities, we have also undertaken a number of capacity building programmes focusing on a number of areas including the critical and scarce skills in municipalities. These capacity building and training programmes are part of our overall Critical and Scarce skills Strategy that was adopted by EXCO. This strategy seeks to pay attention to the challenge of shortage of important skills necessary to enhance services delivery and further looks at interventions to attract and retain such skills.
I must also take this opportunity to announce that all our municipalities in Gauteng have submitted their Annual Financial Statements to the Auditor General for the 2009/10 financial year for audit. Our target as a department is to have all 15 of our municipalities receiving unqualified audit reports for the 2009/10 financial year, and to that end, we will still continue with our support programmes through Operation Clean Audit.
The Traditional Leadership and Governance Bill has been submitted to the Legislature for consideration. This piece of legislation seeks to regulate the institutions of traditional leadership in Gauteng including their functioning. This Bill has already been placed before the public for comments through the public hearing organised by the Legislature. Our hope is that we will get it passed and signed into law very soon.
In conclusion, both our programmes to provide sustainable human settlements to our communities and strengthening the capacity of our municipalities to function more effectively are on the right track. The above work is made possible through our collective effort working closely with our municipalities. In the context of cooperative governance, we will always make sure that we approach our work as equal partners with municipalities in making sure that communities are served with precision and dedication.
For further information contact:
Mr Motsamai Motlhaolwa
Tel: 011 355 4013
Cell: 079 8972 240
Issued by: Gauteng Local Government and Housing
23 Nov 2010
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