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Human Settlements 2018/19 Budget Vote by the Minister of Human Settlements, Nomaindiya Mfeketo, Mp, at the NCOP

7 Jun 2018

Honourable House Chair,
Chairperson and Members of the Select Committee
Deputy Minister of Human Settlements
Honourable members
MECs and MMCs both present and not
Director-General and officials of the Department of Human Settlements
Board Members and Executives of Human Settlements entities
Distinguished guests,

Thank you for the opportunity to present the Human Settlements Budget Vote for 2018/19 on the centenary of Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu.

I have fond memories of the NCOP from my days as a member of SALGA. We interacted with this house about the powers and roles of the different spheres of government. I am happy to be back to this house as Minister of Human Settlements. You can be assured of the great value I attach to the cooperation of these spheres of government.

I believe now as I did then, that the National Council Of Provinces is most instrumental in the line of monitoring and oversight to ensure that the interests of our people are served.

Ladies and gentlemen, we all know that Human Settlements is at the heart of restoring dignity to the poorest of our people. Informal settlements continue to mark the suffering of our people. Rapid migration patterns and slow economic growth have posed further challenges in our ability to deliver effectively as we are chasing a moving target and having to do more with less.

One of the cardinal pillars of the Golden Era of Human Settlements Expansion is Building Formidable Institutions. I commit to start with the National Department to set the example. I continually engage with Provinces and Municipalities collectively through MinMec, as well as on a one on one basis to deal with specific issues in communities.

Ladies and Gentlemen, for the 2018/19 financial year, Parliament appropriated an amount of R32.3bn to the Department of Human Settlements.

The amount of R31.3bn is allocated as grant funding and transfers. It is divided between Provinces, Municipalities and Human Settlements Entities.

R18.1bn is Grants to all the Provinces, R11.3bn is Grants to Metropolitan Municipalities, with R1.1bn allocated to the Human Settlements entities. These funds are meant for the provision of sustainable human settlements, bulk infrastructure as well as public amenities. It further funds land assembly in order to build integrated social housing to undo apartheid spatial planning, where our diverse people will live with each other, side by side in prime located areas close to economic opportunities to build safe and prosperous communities. We call on active citizenry and NGOs in continuous consultative vibrant networks on community driven solutions. We need to share ideas on our mutual area of work towards inclusive and collective solutions that include integrated and sustainable human settlements. Next month, I will host an Indaba with civil society organizations to bring this idea to life.

Honourable Members, a sum R140 million is set aside for emergency housing for municipalities, while R260 million is provided to provinces for the same purpose. We urge efficient use of this emergency fund to alleviate the plight of our people in the face of unfortunate circumstances such as fires, floods and other natural disasters.

An amount of R787.6 million is allocated to the National Department for operational expenditure and for employee compensation.

We have R518.6 million for the Title Deeds Restoration Grant. We hope all three spheres of government will prioritise this area as it is the surest way to create security of tenure for our people. We know of cases where families live in houses for decades without the security of a title deed. I will work with municipalities and provinces to fast-track the provision of title deeds this year and I will personally oversee these as I did in Delft last month, on the 9th of May where 2000 title deeds were delivered. I will be doing the same across the length and breadth of the country this year.

For the 2018/2019 budget, we have also ring-fenced R1 billion for the informal settlements upgrading programme, bulk infrastructure extension and spatial consolidation in municipalities. We stand ready to invite the private sector, particularly in mining, to match our efforts to improve the development of communities in mining towns.

Over R900 million is apportioned for the Finance-Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) to support workers earning less than R15 000 per month to access home loans. We continue to call on banks to help increase access to home loans in order to close the gap for this important sector of workers across all industries.

Having outlined some key aspects of the 2018/2019 Budget, it is very important to reflect on the capacity and ability of provinces and municipalities to deliver on the Constitutional mandate of Human Settlements.

As I said earlier when speaking of the cardinal pillars of the Golden Era of Human Settlements Expansions, building Formidable Institutions becomes paramount. This also extends to provinces, municipalities and the human settlements entities.

It is both sad and frustrating that provinces and municipalities are not spending their allocations and therefore failing to meet their targets. This is one of the things that make human settlements a moving target. Because the following year, you have a greater need with even less money and this leads to endless service delivery related protests.

To mitigate some of these problems, the National Department has repositioned the Housing Development Agency to assist with delivery imperatives in provinces and municipalities.

My Department has initiated interventions to improve implementation and delivery in the provinces of Limpopo, Gauteng and North West. As well as the Nelson Mandela and Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipalities.

Metros are integral in our delivery yet we continue having funds returning back from Metros to the national fiscus. We call on Mayors and MMCs to turn this situation around.

Honourable Members, we rely on the NCOP to help tighten accountability at the Provincial and Municipal level in order to make sure that we deliver on this most basic need of our people in South Africa.

I can say it in this House without fear of contradiction, that the success or failure of the National Department depends on the performance of Provinces and Municipalities. This House is the most appropriate institution to hold all levels of the Executive tiers of government accountable.

Chairperson, I have great respect for this institution. As said earlier, from my days in SALGA and even more recently as Deputy Speaker, I have always understood and upheld the practical nature of the work of the NCOP in ensuring monitoring and oversight of service delivery.

We call on all members of society to take up the spirit of Thuma Mina and raise their hands to be counted amongst those who serve the nation loyally.

I hereby submit this 2018/2019 budget with a commitment to deliver on the Golden Era of Human Settlements Expansion.

Thank you

     
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