Address by the MEC for Housing in Gauteng, Nomvula Mokonyane, during the presentation of the oversight report on the Annual Report 2006/07
Members of the house
Ladies and gentlemen
During the past financial years and the one under review here today, the Department of Housing has gained much knowledge whilst at the same time faced enormous challenges, but despite all this, we remain focused to achieve our objectives and goals in meeting our constitutional mandate.
In this report being tabled before this house today we have highlighted and reported about our ongoing strategies and interventions that we embarked upon in order to realise the provision of housing and human settlement.
We are also accounting in terms of our financial management as required in terms of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). We are demonstrating our ability to implement key Gauteng priorities as outlined by the Premier and the Executive Council.
Speaker this is that time of the year where we take stock of what we have been able to achieve, where did we go wrong and what interventions are needed in order to ensure that we don't fail the electorate. I have no doubt in my mind that as people read through this report they will develop an insight on what the Department of Housing in Gauteng is all about and what has been done under the year under review.
The Department of Housing through the collective efforts with various sister departments, municipalities and various agencies have been able to realise the 2004 electoral mandate and this has been executed with vigour and determination. This is the result of the Gauteng Provincial Government's Five Year Strategic programme for 2004 to 2009 together with the Manifesto's Vision for 2014 which guide our actions in this decade of democracy. Our five year strategic programme is propelled by the desire to provide better life for all as opposed to the privileged few.
It is in this context that we committed ourselves as the ruling party in government to, amongst other things, fighting poverty and building safe, secure and sustainable communities. In line with this commitment we resolved to put in place key programmes and priority actions that will assist us in achieving our strategic goal - of providing shelter and building sustainable communities. As we took stock of what we achieved and where we faced challenges in the Mid-Term Report released during October 2006 and how far we have progressed in achieving the Five Year Strategic programme the reality of the situation became clear.
Speaker, as outlined in the Budget Statement of 2006/07, the department has the following as its key priorities / programmes:
* Formalisation and eradication of informal settlements
* Mixed housing development
* Alternative tenure
* Twenty Prioritised Township Programme
* Urban Renewal Programme
Honourable Speaker and members, it is a fact that the majority of our people in Gauteng now enjoy their constitutional rights which entails the right to dignified existence, access to economic opportunities, and liberty to choose where to live without fear of being persecuted.
To demonstrate our commitment, between June 2004 and October 2006 we registered the following achievements:
* Created over 160 000 new housing opportunities.
* Through provision of housing and shelter, we have improved the lives of over 600 000 Gauteng residents.
* Provided 100 000 serviced stands with basic water and sanitation.
* We have transferred over 43 000 properties to rightful owners.
* More that 12 000 bucket systems identified in 2003 was replaced by 2006. An additional 13 588 was identified for eradication by June 2007.
* In line with our indigent policy, 96% households are receiving free basic water and 78% receiving free basic electricity.
* Implemented 282 community infrastructure projects, including water, sanitation, storm water, lighting, solid waste and community facilities.
* Implementation of all Urban Renewal Projects with more focus on upgrading of infrastructure, stimulate local economic development and create sustainable jobs.
In the year under review - April 2006 to March 2007 we have been able to achieve the following based on resources that were provided and approved by this house:
* We have provided 32 176 serviced stands with water and sanitation.
* We have completed 44 868 houses thereby benefiting over 223 000 households.
* We have completed 2 165 rental units across the province.
* In all there three Urban Renewal Projects we have commenced with 57 infrastructure projects, 32 economic projects and two community projects.
* We have transferred 6 921 residential properties to rightful owners.
* The Gauteng Rental Tribunal has dealt with and resolved 797 of cases that were referred to them.
These are the targets we have achieved with the budget allocated to us and more details thereof are contained in the full annual report.
During the reporting financial year, the department was allocated R2 171 717 billion to achieve its mandate and its target for the year. I am pleased to report that the department managed to spend R2 137 278 which translates to 98,4% of these allocated funds.
The department has received the Unqualified Report from the Auditor General and it indicates that we do observe the imperatives of the PFMA compliance and there has been considerable effort at all levels to improve our financial management capability.
Notwithstanding some of the challenges that are contained in the annual report and further information provided to the committee during our deliberations, we remain committed to ensure that all our efforts are dedicated towards improvement of the quality of life of our people.
Speaker, I am happy to announce that all matters raised by the committee in its report including the recommendations, the department has already drafted, and is, currently implementing a programme to deal with such concerns. This, speaker mainly relates to us implementing sustainable programmes and projects that will respond and deal with issues of youth, women and people with disabilities.
A schedule of consultative meetings in the form of stakeholder workshops and seminars with sections of the Vulnerable Groups has been created. The outreach programme (workshops and seminars, etc) involving women, youth and persons with disabilities including other important stakeholders such as Private Developers, National Home Builder's Registration Council (NHBRC), non governmental organisations (NGOs) and the banking sector.
The purpose of the consultative process is to communicate the department's sector strategy to the target audience. The exercise will be used to share the department's vision with the members of the sectors.
This programme is managed by the Accounting Authority and regular reports provided to the Executive Authority as part of monitoring and ensuring that we indeed achieve government objectives as part of the collective especially on matters where the Executive Council has made certain pronouncements.
The Department is planning to deliver 58 552 housing units in Gauteng. And by the end of September 2007, we have delivered just over 40 000 housing units and very optimistic that the target will be met by end of the financial year.
We are currently exploring other ways of speeding up housing delivery, and in this regard the Department has now dedicated its time to introduce alternative building technologies to supplement the brick and mortar construction for various reasons, the following being a few:
* assist to fast track housing delivery and curb the increasing demand for housing on the demand data base
* offer a varied array of housing choice to the beneficiaries
* provide a visual change to the face of affordable housing in Gauteng.
We already have two pilot projects that we are implementing in Nomzamo where 468 houses are to be built and Kaalfontien Ext 22 with 887 house units.
In moving forward towards 2009 and 2014 vision, our strategies are geared at delivering sustainable human settlements within a safe and healthy environment with secure tenure. We are dealing with the challenge of how to best optimize the use of space available to the urban poor and unemployed in targeted areas, enabling these people to find alternative local economic development paths that are collectively determined by them.
In conclusion, through this report we have once again demonstrated that Gauteng is now a better place to live in and this is based on the testimony of the people themselves, many of whom have benefited and will continue benefiting from a range of programmes which are well-thought intervention aimed at fighting poverty, growing the economy as well as creating sustainable jobs.
In closing let me thank committee members under the leadership of Member Tsotetsi and also the member Mkhize who was acting during the absence of the chair. The Committee has been very supportive and able to understand and appreciate challenges and turbulences that we have to endure at times.
I thank you
Issued by: Department of Housing, Gauteng Provincial Government
4 December 2007