18 May 2021
The existence of Covid-19, which started at the beginning of the last financial year, 2020/21 presented us with two sharp contradicting effects:
These contradictions are death in our sector and immediate families as well as doing business differently using technology. We would like to convey our deepest condolences to all those who have departed.
We had also planned a number of face to face activities as the department, which include training and capacitation of women so that they can directly participate in the construction of houses, outreach programmes that involve housing handovers, issuing of title deeds and conferences.
We then commenced with our virtual provincial roadshows, where we met with organised women across the country. This presented us with an opportunity to interact and establish facts around the participation of women and youth contractors in the construction of houses through the implementation of the 40% set aside for women and 10% for youth contractors.
After meeting with women from all provinces, we then decided to meet with MECs, along with the organised women, to further identify challenges in the implementation of the women and youth set-asides.
From this process, we observed that seven out of nine provinces are not implementing the set aside for women and youth contractors as expected. In this regard, let us congratulate the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces for their commitment to the implementation of this directive.
In moving forward with this very important task, we had gone back to the provinces and asked that they develop plans that will respond to these challenges in order to fully unleash the implementation of the directive. That is exactly what we will be monitoring in the current financial year.
Yesterday, we had a meeting with the CEOs of the National Home Builders Registration Council and the Construction Industry Development Board together with women representatives from Limpopo to discuss challenges around the development and grading of women contractors.
We have agreed that the Construction Industry Development Board will expedite the grading of lower grade levels for women and youth contractors to higher levels.
On the other hand, a lot of good work has been done through our entity the National Home Builders Registration Council where 2270 women have received training in various technical areas. We will also be introducing a module on Finances to capacitate women and youth contractors as this has been identified as a need by the trainee participants.
However, we can have all the training in the world, but if the training does not provide work for women and youth contractors it becomes a pointless exercise. We need to confront this challenge between training and practical placement of the contractors.
We have also agreed to hold an urgent Workshop that will audit the challenges experienced by women contractors across the country. This will enable us to respond appropriately going forward.
The other aspect that requires our immediate attention is the late payment of women contractors by provinces and municipalities. This kills the emerging women and youth contractors. All provinces and municipalities must adhere to the principle of paying service providers within a 30 day period.
Additionally, the Department is working with the Gender-Based Violence Forum desk of GBV victims who are in need of urgent housing assistance. This is for referral purposes and to provide assistance through the emergency Housing Programme.
We are extremely excited about the fact that the Informal Settlements Upgrading Partnership Grant comes into effect this year. This grant will support 1500 informal settlements we have identified to be upgraded to level three over the MTSF.
The informal settlements programme is fully funded and therefore means Provinces and Municipalities must plan and implement the programme without delay. It is our desire that the households in the identified settlements have the security of tenure, water and sanitation.
We will closely monitor that women and youth contractors are given an opportunity to participate in the upgrading of the informal settlements programme.
We also undertook provincial roadshows where we specifically met with our MECs to discuss the performance of provinces across Programmes.
We took a keen interest in the performance of provinces. As a result of this important action, we embarked on roadshows that were directed at those identified provinces, in order to assist them in coming up with recovery plans towards achieving their quarterly targets.
Eastern Cape and North West provinces are some of the provinces where we made a direct intervention in assisting to resolve their challenges on performance.
Honourable Members, in our last year’s statement we indicated that the Title Deeds Restoration funding was in its final year in 2020/21. The funding for title deeds will come from the Human Settlements Development Grant.
We have again made a commitment to put this programme as part of our focus areas and indeed we did so. Hence, we can report to this House that there were about 32 community outreach and information sessions conducted during the last financial year. This took place in four provinces where about 17 sessions included handovers of title deeds as follows:
Having said that, the slow pace in the registration and issuing of title deeds to our housing beneficiaries is of great concern to us. We have since started a conversation in the MINMEC, to secure the necessary turn-around strategy.
We are on record, stating reasons for challenges around the provision of houses for our Military Veterans. The Deputy Minister of the Department of Military Veterans and I have had numerous engagements on this matter and some proposals have been put on the table for consideration.
Honourable chairperson, under the leadership of Minister Sisulu, we are prioritising destitute families for the provision of houses. We have participated in many programmes aimed at housing destitute families which include the elderly, people living with disabilities and child-headed families.
Only last Friday, I had the pleasure of being invited by the MEC of Human Settlements in the Eastern Cape, Ms Nonceba Kontsiwe where we handed over houses to two elderly women (91 and 94 years old) and a child headed-family situated in Amahlathi Local Municipality.
Honourable Members, as the deployed and political champion of the Central Karoo District in the Western Cape, I had numerous visits to the Beaufort West Local Municipality where we have been exposed to real-life challenges that require our immediate attention. The DG, Mr Mbulelo Tshangana has already met with all the accounting officers from the province and the municipality to draw up a plan for intervention. Siyaqhuba, Asimanga!!
In March this year, we have done something very progressive honourable members, where we initiated a programme that involved Deputy Ministers from different departments – on a visit to communities of Coffee Bay and Thafalehashe Kulombethe under KSD and Umbhashe local municipalities. As the Department of Human Settlements, we are in the process of unblocking a housing project in Thafalehashe Village.
Lastly, we initiated and championed a government solution to a housing challenge that involved allegations of house demolitions in Inanda, eThekwini Municipality. This case was brought to us by Honourable Mohlala and we used the very District Development Model and Inter-Governmental Relations approach in bringing all spheres of government around the table and the matter was resolved speedily and amicably. Phambili nge District Development Model, Phambili.
I would like to thank the Minister and the Department for guidance and support throughout the year.
I thank you.