Budget Speech for 2005/06 financial year by MEC for Housing in Gauteng, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane, delivered on the 13th June 2005 at the Gauteng Legislature
13 June 2005
“But this day, no doubt, will stand as a bright torch or beacon of liberty in the skies of South Africa that are already gloomily darkened by the dishonourable past action of its people who in the past and now have glorified and enthroned in the place of moral values the evils of racism, discrimination, apartheid and the like.”
This is the profound assertion made by the late Comrade Chief Albert Luthuli in a message read on his behalf during the Congress of the People, in 26 June 1955.
Respected Members of the House
Ladies and Gentlemen
As a matter of fact the day that Chief Luthuli alluded to as “beacon of Liberty in the skies of South Africa” has for decades inspired generations after generations of the oppressed masses to launch a relentless onslaught on the racial barricades of the then apartheid regime. Undoubtedly, this historic day of 26 June 1955, shall remain embroidered in the hearts of freedom-loving people like the sublime African beads on the Ndebele woman’s outfit.
The inspiring beauty of this day captured in the ideals of the Freedom Charter document acted as the radar that directed the peoples’ fight for emancipation prior to the demise of apartheid and even beyond. Today, our programmes and policies are predominantly informed by the fundamental tenets of this day; our democracy which we unreservedly share with both foe and friend is the product of the Freedom Charter; our world view, in essence, is moulded by the humanitarian ideals of the Freedom Charter.
On 8 January 2005, the President of the African National Congress (ANC), Mr Thabo Mbeki, declared the year 2005 as “the year of popular mobilisation to advance the vision of the Freedom Charter”. This declaration is an indication of how important it is for all freedom-loving South Africans to uphold and implement in a programmatic manner the ideals of the Freedom Charter.
Since many of us in this country are cadres whose ideological perspective is rooted in the Freedom Charter tradition, the least we can do to honour the crafters of the Charter is to translate its spirit and letter into actionable plans. Despite the negative sentiments echoed by Mr Douglas Gibson of the Democratic Alliance, we from the mass democratic movement shall always respect the Freedom Charter and work in unison to realise its profound principles.
Comrade Speaker, as we move closer to the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Freedom Charter this month, the people of this country shall do so with great sense of confidence and contentment. This sense emanates from the high levels of consciousness many people have about political and socio-economic reforms achieved under the ANC-led government.
Honourable Members, it is not a matter of blowing one’s trumpet to assert here and now that the transformation agenda of the government has benefited multitudes of our people. There is ample evidence that proves that the quality of life has indeed improved. It is only those who deliberately chose to adopt the ostrich tendency who cannot attest to this.
In fact, the assertion we are making can be best appreciated and understood if we contextualise issues within housing development front, which happens to be our line function. We cannot speak of successes in housing delivery outside the framework of both the Freedom Charter and the transformation agenda of the ANC. Therefore, Comrade Speaker, grant me your indulgence so as to reflect on what we said we want to achieve during the current tenure of government.
When the Premier addressed this house in June 2004, he did not mince his words. He eloquently expressed the observations and position of the government when he stated that (1) the quality of the housing products that we deliver was mediocre and inadequate; (2) the poor and homeless are denied access to basic services such as water and sanitation as though they were subhuman; (3) the poor continue to suffer the indignities of travelling distances in order to access decent health facilities, proper public transport system, sports and recreation facilities and other essential social amenities.
1. Review of 2004/5 Achievements
Accordingly, in my Budget Speech ( Vote 7) delivered on 28 June 2004, I responded by outlining the priorities and programs of the Housing Department aimed at addressing the anomalies prevailing in housing development. In my address, I committed the Housing Department by declaring that we are no longer going to perpetuate apartheid’s housing development patterns. The idea of isolating the poor far from the economic nodes as if to hide them from the eyes of the world is not sustainable. In fact, such nauseating idea does not have a place in a democratic state that many of our people died for.
I further stated that (a) the quality and standard of our housing products will be reviewed; (b) the informal settlements will be formalised, upgraded and eradicated; (c) the 1996/97 beneficiaries on the Waiting List and clean-up of the Waiting list data to be prioritised; (d) old historically black townships to be prioritised for the provision of housing and basic services; (e) participatory development principles and promotion of labour intensive technologies/ methods in all our projects to be entrenched; (f) non-racial and integrated mixed-income human settlements in well located land to be established; (g) security of tenure to be promoted and number of people enjoying security of tenure to be increased; and (h) funding agreements for time-bound Urban Regeneration initiatives with municipalities and other sister departments as well as the rental housing policy to be concluded.
Comrade Speaker, the commitments I have just enumerated are in line with the strategic objectives of the Gauteng Provincial Government. It is in the broader context of these objectives that our commitments should be understood. As a reminder, particularly to those in the opposite trenches who are quick to recoil to a state of amnesia, these priorities are as follows:
* To stimulate faster economic growth and drastically reduce unemployment
* To fight poverty and build secure, safe and sustainable communities
* To develop healthy, appropriately skilled and productive people
* To deepen democracy and nation building and realize the constitutional rights of all the people and
* To build an effective and caring government.
Ladies and Gentlemen, considering the above-mentioned commitments and strategic objectives, the logical questions that follow are: how did we perform during the last financial year as the housing department in Gauteng? How did we ensure that the ideals of the Freedom Charter are translated into reality? In short, how did we advance the vision of Freedom Charter as agents of change in the employ of housing department?
The Freedom Charter, in simple and unambiguous terms, declares:
“There shall be Houses, Security and Comfort”
It further states:
“Slums shall be demolished, and new suburbs built where all have transport roads, lighting, playing fields, crèches and social centres”
These ideals of the Freedom Charter are pertinent to our business and they should serve as a guide to all our activities.
In line with the declarations of the Freedom Charter, which to a greater degree shaped our programmes, I would like to report to the house on what we achieved in various areas of our work.
1.1 Upgrading and Eradication of Informal Settlement
Early in May 2004, we initiated the registration process of all informal settlements as part of addressing the challenges of informal settlements. We recruited 104 interns and 335 community field workers for this purpose. The registration process yielded the following data:
* There are 392 informal settlements in Gauteng and 50% of these are found within well-located land that can be developed
* The highest number of the settlements is concentrated in the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Council with a total 145, 470 households
* The total number of households in the informal settlements is about 450 000
* We have serviced a total of 51 690 stands which means the beneficiaries now have access to clean water and sanitation.
1.2 Social Housing and Mixed Income Settlements
* The construction of 646 units in Brickfields Housing Project at a cost of R98.4m is complete and tenants will take occupation from 1 July 2005.
* The second phase that will see the construction of 754 units is progressing well and will be completed in February 2006.
* Through the Gauteng Partnership Fund we have facilitated the construction of 2732 units in 2004/5 in the Province.
* We have reached agreements with various municipalities to prioritize the utilisation of prime land for non-racial, mixed income settlements.
* We have launched a multi-billion mixed-income housing project in North of Johannesburg known as Cosmo City.
* The occupation of the first 500 houses in Cosmo City will happen in August 2005.
1.3 Housing Tribunal
Since the establishment of the Housing Tribunal we have seen dramatic improvement in relations between landlords and tenants. For the previous financial year 2004/05 the Housing Tribunal received a total of 931 cases and managed to close 834 at both informal and tribunal level.
1.4 Affordable Rental Accommodation
* The Department has designed a phased approach to the transformation and regeneration of hostels. In terms of this approach, the first phase looks at the immediate physical needs of the hostels and implementation of Health and Safety interventions in 54 Hostels throughout the province.
* We have completed 828 units in 6 different hostels.
* Deployed Technical Resource Groups and Social Housing Institutions to assist with implementation and management of the plan.
1.5 Urban Regeneration Programme
* In all three areas, namely, Alexandra, Bekkersdal and Evaton, the projects are being implemented focusing on infrastructural and housing development.
* Twenty identified townships targeted for upgrade have been identified and the programme was launched in Soweto, Sebokeng and Duduza early this year.
1.6 Promotion of home-ownership
* In our drive to promote home ownership, we embarked on a process called Regularisation and Transfer of Ownership (RETRO) which resulted in the transfer of 4 700 provincial owned houses to the beneficiaries in former “own affairs areas” such as Eldorado Park, Ennerdale and Lenasia.
* We issued a total of 16 766 title deeds to their rightful owners.
1.7 Formal Housing Delivery
* As promised last year that we will shift from quantity to quality housing delivery, we have build 19 448 houses in various municipalities.
1.8 Waiting List (Housing Demand Database)
* Regarding the clean-up of database of 1996/97 applicants on the Waiting List, the department has been able to register some measure of success in this area. During the database clean-up operation, we established that there are 153 429 applicants registered during 1996/97 period. After the database clean up, the total number of people currently on the Waiting List is standing at 445 000.
2. Service Delivery Environment and Challenges
Premier, in the light of the above account, it shows that we have been successful to a certain extent to breathe life to the Freedom Charter and give meaning to its ideals. But the journey is still long because a lot has to be done if we are to reverse the 300 years of injustice and deprivation that our people were subjected to under colonial and apartheid rule. The sigh of relief will only come once every homeless person is eventually provided for.
Prior to addressing myself to programs, plans and strategies for 2005/06 financial year, Comrade Speaker, let me give a view of the situation we encounter in Gauteng. I am doing this in order to avoid falling prey to the complacency demon which tends to breed arrogance in many of us. Complacency has the potency of inducing in us a false sense of security even in the face of looming danger.
The question then becomes: Where are we now, what obstacles and threats are we facing, and what are the opportunities?
Currently, we are at a point where the country is moving towards the second decade of democracy; it is a point where the opposition is haemorrhaging at an alarming rate; it is a point where marriages of convenience and hollow embraces as we approach local government elections will become the order of the day between extinct species of the opposition parties; it is a point where the opposition is huffing and puffing and can no longer put up the fight because it has long been running after the shadow of the ANC; it is a point where the opposition after given a chance for three consecutive times failed to convince the people of South Africa that they have a pragmatic plan.
In fact, they failed because they do not have an alternative programme to that of the ANC. All they do is to rehash the ANC’s programmes and plans and present them as their own. But the masses always see through the thin, white lie of the opposition. Well, the oppositions’ imminent death is no cause for celebration for us because we believe in multiparty democracy. But, if they drown there is not much the ANC can do beyond what it has provided for so that fair and open political contestation can thrive.
While the country and Gauteng in particular continues to enjoy political stability and positive economic growth, the country is experiencing population growth resulting in increased demand for government services and infrastructure. In Gauteng alone the population numbers soared from 7.3 million in 1996 to 8.8million in 2001. These figures show that a total of 1.5 million people were added to the province over the five year period. While the population numbers increase the geographical space of Gauteng remains constant.
Rapid urbanisation phenomenon, just like a rose which radiates irresistible beauty and pricks at the same time, constantly presents us with both opportunities and threats. For us in housing business, the growth in population numbers means an increase in a number of those who seek decent housing. The ramifications of this kind of situation dictate that we should move with speed in seeking innovative ways to address the new challenges.
What many people should be made to understand is that the resources at our disposal are limited and spread across to satisfy the needs of all the population groups in Gauteng as oppose to advancing the interests of one racial group over those of the majority.
As the government that upholds the democratic principles of accountability and transparency and the government that is people centred and people driven, we concede that service delivery has not been proceeding as smooth and fast as we desire. We accept and admit that some developers have been taking our people for a ride by delivering sub-standard products. We further concede that in our employ there are still officials who collude with unscrupulous service providers to steal from the taxpayer’s kitty. We also concede that in our employ we have officials who are nothing more than paper-pushers and cheque- collectors. These are the ones whose conscience has long gone numb. They are the ones that the Premier calls the evil servants and not civil servants; they are not into it to serve but to swindle the public.
The social disruptions that we have witnessed in the past are in part a result of the issues I have sketched. These incidents indirectly highlight the dilemma caused by an increase in demand for services and the dwindling size of the budgetary cake that needs to be shared amongst all. They also point to the structural and capacity weaknesses that continue to afflict our local governments.
As the ANC-led government we are fully conscious and sympathetic to the concerns and frustrations of our people and we are doing everything in our power to speed up service delivery in all areas. We are also aware of the opportunistic elements who will not hesitate to exploit the frustrations of the poor. Regardless of that we are bent to deal with any inefficiencies and maladministration which hinder service delivery.
3. The 2005/06 Budget for Gauteng Department of Housing
Comrade Speaker, in my account of what we did in the last financial year (2004/05) I provided this house with ample empirical evidence and also demonstrated in simple and clear terms how we have delivered on matters that we said we will deliver on. It is therefore appropriate at this point to chart the course of action for the current financial year, 2005/06. Let me start by giving you the breakdown of our budget for 2005/06 financial year. The budget is as follows:
Table 1 – Budget Allocation for the Department of Housing
Programmes 2005 – 2006 Budget
1. Administration: R82,276m
2. Housing Planning and Research: R8,331m
3. Housing Performance \ Subsidy Programme: R1,200,645m
4. Urban Renewal and Human Settlement: R305,503m
5. Housing Assets Management: R51,232m
In the last financial year (2004/05) our budget allocation was R1 440 226 000 billion. With this budget we were able to create a minimum of 92 604 housing opportunities in Gauteng and our expenditure was 98%. If we compare last year’s allocation with the current budget it shows that there is an increment of 14,4% which places us in a good position to achieve our goals.
For the current tenure of government, our plans and programmes are derived from the Comprehensive Human Settlement Plan driven by the national Ministry of Housing. Sometimes this Plan is referred to as “Breaking New Ground” in short BNG. In a nutshell, the BNG adopts a holistic approach in housing development. It moves from the premise that people want decent settlements that have all the necessary infrastructure and amenities that are a mainstay of any viable and sustainable communities. BNG postulates that every person deserves a better house which he /she can call home. The Plan has been adopted as the blue print for all housing developments in country.
3.1 Adjustment of the Quantum of the Housing Subsidy and related programmes funding limits: Financial Year 2005/2006
Honourable members, in keeping with the pace of inflation and our commitment to improve the quality of life of our people, we have resolve to effect changes in subsidies for various income groups as of 1st April 2005 and this is applicable to projects approved on the 1st April 2005 onwards.
Indigent category comprising of the “hard core poor”, households earning a monthly income of R0 to R1 500 will qualify for a subsidy of R31 929 without paying any contribution in kind or cash.
The poor category comprising of the households earning a monthly income of R1 501 to R3 500 will qualify for a subsidy of R29 450 and will be required to make a contribution, either in kind or cash of R2 479.
Aged, disabled and health stricken category comprising of people earning a monthly income not exceeding R3 500 will also qualify for a subsidy of R31 929 and will not be required to make a contribution. Intervention in the Secondary market: the Department will assist those earning between R3 500 to R7 000 per month. This sector of the market was previously left out. Negotiations are taking place with the Financial Sector to lend support.
The Department will now be able to help this income group to access credit from banks and to subsidise part of the required deposit. As it was announced by the national Minster, the Banking Association representing ABSA, FNB, Standard Bank and Nedcor signed a Memorandum of Understanding with us and pledged to inject R42 billion into affordable housing market by 2008. This breakthrough is indicative of the willingness and readiness of various partners from the private sector to take responsibility in the provision of housing for the poor. Above all, such an initiative will help in allowing more and more people to have access to affordable housing market. In particular the first time home owners are the ones that will benefit from such initiatives.
Through the Department of Finance and Economic Affairs, we are exploring alternative partnerships with various organisations aimed at giving more people access to mortgage bonds, infrastructural development and other basic services.
3.2 Upgrading and Eradication of Informal Settlements.
The programme of upgrading informal settlements has been consolidated into sub-programmes, namely, Water and Sanitation Infrastructure, Peoples Housing Process, Community and Social Amenities and Community Builder Programme.
Our aim is to address the 600 000 unit’s backlog on basic services and infrastructure by 2009, through implementation of the incremental housing approach. The main focus will be on formalising those informal settlements that are located on safe and habitable land by providing services and tenure. During this financial year, our plan is to service a total of 85 000 stands in the following areas:
* City of Johannesburg = 36 168
* Tshwane = 24 988
* Ekurhuleni = 16 860
* Sedibeng = 3 789
* West Rand = 2 253
* Metsweding = 1 439.
Through the New Formal Housing Programme, which is project-linked, we plan to construct 26 050 houses in the following areas: City of Johannesburg; Tshwane; Ekurhuleni; Sedibeng; and West Rand.
With the newly developed programme called ‘Community Builder Programme’, the department is blending institutional capacity of the private sector with community resources. The programme is being implemented through Xhasa Accounts and Technical Centre (ATC) and municipalities using labour intensive methods.
Through this programme, we will deliver 20 000 housing units per annum and create at least 1 333 short term jobs per year in the context of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). Construction of houses will take place in the following areas: City of Johannesburg = 3 300; Tshwane = 3 640; Ekurhuleni = 8 000; Sedibeng = 3 000; West Rand = 1 560; and Metsweding = 500.
In terms of our incubator programme, which is jointly managed with the Department of Transport, Roads and Public Works, the training of 81 emerging contractors is underway.
3.3 People’s Housing Process
In cementing our commitment to the People’s Contract, we shall continue to build strong community-based partnerships through the establishment of 20 additional Housing Support Centres. These Centres will continue to play a leading role in community empowerment. Our target is to provide skills and capacity to 5000 community members and create 400 jobs. Out of 5 000 community members to be empowered1/3 will be women.
Through the programme we aim to build 5 000 units in the following areas: City of Johannesburg = 1 320; Tshwane = 1 360; Ekurhuleni = 920; Sedibeng = 720; and West Rand = 680.
Comrade Speaker, as we diligently proceed with the execution of our work, we have come to realise that people were disgruntled with the quality of our products. I have already responded to this matter by instructing our departmental planners and architectures to come up with housing designs that meet the requirements of our market both aesthetically and structurally.
Today, I am delighted to inform the house and the public that the department is now building houses that are 36 square metres, with two bedrooms, 1 bathroom and an open living room and a kitchen. Beneficiaries will now have an option of choosing from six (6) different designs.
In addition, we are also exploring mechanisms jointly with sister organisations such as National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) to ensure that shoddy workmanship in our projects do not continue to survive. I am happy to announce that all our projects will now as a matter of rule be registered with NHBRC.
Above all, at MINMEC level we have taken a decision that all low cost houses that were built between 1994 and 2002 before the introduction of NHBRC norms and standards will first be assessed and if any structural defect is detected it will then be rectified. The Gauteng Department of Housing has reached an agreement with NHBRC that it will lead and co-ordinate this exercise on our behalf.
3.4 The Rental and Social Housing Programme
The Department will continue to create sustainable and viable social housing institutions that can deliver decent rental accommodation for middle and low-income earners, as well as for people with special needs. Our intention this year is to deliver a total of 9958 units. The Department together with the Social Housing Foundation has designed a programme to capacitate the Social Housing Institutions so that they can effectively manage the business on their own. Our target for this financial year is to capacitate 18 Social Housing Institutions.
In our efforts to increase the number of residential units within inner cities of Gauteng, the Gauteng Partnership Fund (GPF) will facilitate the construction of 4 601 units. The GPF is a dynamic and flexible intervention that adjusts to changing market conditions and it continuously assesses if its products meet the market needs. The GPF in 2004/05 undertook such a market review and the results indicated, amongst others, that its equity products and capacity support is well received and utilised in the market. In terms of GPF plans for 2005/2006, the following products will be implemented:
Intuthuko Equity Fund: It is essentially a high-risk venture capital fund for small, emerging entrepreneurs (landlords) with small scale housing projects in the inner cities. This fund has been set up in partnership with Trust for Urban Housing (TUFH). Through this product GPF is assisting small landlords who do not have equity to buy/ refurbish buildings.
Subsidised Loan Facility: This is a direct subsidised loan facility which supports development of new sub-markets within social housing sector as it allows for blending of interest rates between banks and GPF - results in reduced rates to projects. The first deal of its kind is currently being finalised with Standard Bank. The value of this deal will be R 90 million and the details will be made public soon.
We will also be launching the Housing Investment System (HIS). This system will assist in the capturing of data regarding the levels of rentals, tenant’s turnover, defaulters etc. Our goal is to gradually build a statistically significant database system for potential investors in social housing.
3.5 Affordable Rental Accommodation (ARA)
Honourable Speaker, earlier I made reference to the fact that we need to diversify housing options in order to meet the housing needs of our people. It is a known fact that hostels are another form of accommodation where substantial numbers of our people have been living for the past decades.
Owing to prolonged periods of neglect, hostels in their present form are as bad as informal settlements if not worse. They have become a health hazard and the danger to our people, with illegal electricity connections, unpartitioned communal ablution areas, burst sewer system etc. Our main aim is to reinstate the self-esteem and pride of our hostel residents through the provision of affordable and suitable housing programme that will address their diverse individual needs.
To expedite the hostel redevelopment programme and to ensure that we meet the Premiers deadline of transforming all the hostels into self-contained units by the end of 2008/2009 financial year, we entered into partnerships with municipalities as the hostels stock owners, whereby we decided to appoint Social Housing Institutions and the Technical Resource Groups as implementing agents.
The 54 hostels throughout the province have been clustered into seven (7) regional groups for management purposes. The Social Housing Institutions and the Technical Resource Groups have already started with the implementation of Emergency Interventions in all 54 hostels.
We are now in the process of establishing Property Management structures in our hostels with the intent to improve law and order, maintenance and to sustain the current Emergency Interventions. These projects will result in 5000 completed self contained units.
I must thank the leadership of the ANC and IFP in the province for their co-operation and assistance in the implementation of this programme, we still have a long way to go but I am counting on your support.
3.6 Transfer of Residential Properties (TORPS) and Regularisation and Transfer of Ownership (RETRO)
In this financial year we are planning to transfer a total of 2 700 Provincially-owned houses to former “own-affairs” beneficiaries by December 2005. Through this program, we will be able to transfer 39 000 municipal stock by the year 2006/07.
With regard to TORPS we intend to issue 20 000 title deeds during 2005/06 financial year to people who have never tasted the fruits of homeownership
3.7 Urban Regeneration Programme
In reinforcing our resolve to streamline the implementation and speed up the delivery in all the regeneration programs, a political steering committee chaired by myself (MEC for Housing) has been established.
3.7.1 Alexandra Renewal Project
The Alexandra Urban Renewal Project is on track and will be finalised by 2007/2008. During the 2005/2006 financial year the following will be achieved:
* The planning for upgrading of Pan Africa is already underway and this consists of the Construction of the taxi rank, construction of a retail, commercial and entertainment complex, and provision of facilities for small and informal traders
* Development of 1 403 Houses in Ext 7 is already underway and constructor is on site and these will be completed by December 2005. Development of Houses in K206 and Tsutsumani
* Land acquisition process resulted in identification of seven pockets of land that will be used to develop different housing products for people of Alexandra in line with promoting mixed income development for different income groups.
* Finalization of upgrading and construction of units in M2 hostel.
* The second phase of the construction of London Road will be completed by end of December 2005.
* Construction of Ekukhanyisweni Primary School and Bombani Safe House
* The construction of an additional section to Edenvale Hospital will be completed by August 2005
* The process of transferring 6000 properties to their rightful owners has begun and will be concluded in 2007.
It is envisaged that the handover to the City of Johannesburg will be complete by end of the project which is in the financial year 2007/2008. The Department and the City are currently engaged in the finalisation of the institutional arrangements for the management of the project. The City has appointed a full-time project manager to ensure that the day to day operations are properly managed.
3.7.2 Bekkersdal Renewal Project
The Bekkersdal project has just entered its 3rd year of implementation with much concentration on high visible, high impact delivery projects like the Central Business District upgrading, the Taxi Rank upgrading, and the construction of a Local Business Support Centre and the Clinic. The procurement of land to relocate 80% of the informal settlements that is on dolomitic land is underway.
3.7.3 Evaton Renewal Project
Having completed the 1st year of the planning stage, the Evaton project has entered its second year of implementation. The focus is on high visible and high impact projects like the elimination of pit latrines, the identification of vacant land for the construction of new housing, the elimination of backyard shack dwellings and informal settlement, the installation of high mast lighting, the resealing of roads, the provision of roads and storm-water drainage.
3.7.4 Kliptown Renewal Project
The recent representative survey conducted in Kliptown showed that 72% of the households in Kliptown and surroundings unemployed, with a smaller portion (13%) in casual or part-time employment. Only 15% of the people in the area are in full-time employment. This would form the core of the targeted group for rental or eventual purchase of houses.
As part of contributing to the broader Kliptown Regeneration Project, the department has set a target of servicing and constructing 5700 top structures. To date, 1112 stands have been serviced with water and sewer; the construction of 1400 units will be completed by October 2005 and beneficiaries from Kliptown and surrounding townships such as Orlando, Pimville and Klipspruit will benefit from the project. The occupations are planned to commence by end of July 2005.
3.7.5 Twenty Identified townships
The work to be done in twenty identified townships entails the provision of housing opportunities to communities/families that are currently renting in backyards shacks; formalisation of informal rental agreements between landlords and tenants and upgrading of Backyards Shacks. The project will also focus on upgrade and/or construction of social and economic amenities, provision of affordable rental accommodation and construction of houses on vacant land to promote the densification of the areas.
The process of registering households living in backyard shacks in areas such as Orlando and Zola in Soweto, Duduza and Tsakane has commenced. We are planning to build no less than 30 000 units by the end of this fiscal year.
3.8 Accreditation of Municipalities
In order to address challenges of lack of capacity and realignment of programmes and processes between the Department and municipalities, we are planning to establish one fully-functional Programme Management Office (PMO) in Ekurhuleni.
We welcome the announcement by the Minister of Housing that R50 million has been secured from Treasury to be used mainly for capacitating municipalities nationwide.
3.9 Combating Fraud and corruption in housing delivery
We have now established an Anti-Corruption Unit within the Department with a task of investigating all allegations of Fraud, Corruption and Maladministration in the implementation of Housing Programmes.
So far, the Anti-Corruption Unit has investigated about 241 cases of which 7 have been referred to the police for further investigations. As we continue establishing various networks and partnerships with other law enforcement agencies we are in essence demonstrate that any form of corruption within housing sector will not be tolerated.
The impact of HIV/AIDS on households requires that we design and implement supportive programmes in conjunction with other departments so that we can respond to the pandemic in an integrated fashion.
In consultation with the Health Department and various stakeholders, we have developed a policy on HIV/AIDS. The policy places accent on prioritising the needs for housing of the vulnerable groups such as women, youth and people with special needs and child-headed families.
3.11 Empowerment Targets
The procurement of goods and services from the emerging entrepreneurs will remain a priority. And we will continue working together with other established businesses in capacitating historically disadvantage individuals (HDIs) through incubating and skills transfer programs. In this instance we have prioritised women-owned businesses.
In terms of black economic empowerment (BEE) we are planning to give 70% of opportunities to BEE companies. The breakdown in terms of historical disadvantage groups is as follows: Women = 30%, Disability = 5%, Local = 40%
In ensuring that the construction industry develops and sustain the required skills, we have recruited 500 young people to be part of our learnership programme and they have been deployed to various contractors to learn the required skills.
In conclusion, Comrade Speaker, the budget presented in this house today is a clear indication that we are Breaking New Ground in Housing delivery. We are speeding up delivery for the benefit of everyone in need of decent shelter with great emphasis on the poor. We now have the programmes and policies that are geared towards providing better life for all. We guarantee that we will deliver on our part of the People’s Contract and we expect other parties to do the same in order to push the frontiers of poverty backwards.
I would like to thank the Senior Management Team of the Department for the support and sterling work they are doing. It is the kind of team that unselfishly sacrifices all that they have in order to enhance the lives of the poor. I would be failing in my duty if I do not express my heartfelt gratitude to entire staff of the Department who is also working hard to ensure that the Peoples Contract to fight poverty is advanced.
May I also thank all our partners, stakeholders and ordinary individuals who continue to lend their support to us and together we will persist to look different ways and manes of speeding up housing delivery.
Lastly, I want to express a great sense of appreciation for the support that I am enjoying from the Premier, Members of the Executive Council and Housing Portfolio Committee.
May the spirit of the Freedom Charter continue to guide us in our work. Long Live the Spirit of Freedom Charter!!
Issued by: Department of Housing, Gauteng Provincial Government
13 June 2005