The task team, deployed by a cabinet decision in April in terms of Housing Act 107 of 1997, concluded its work to identify challenges that have been hampering housing delivery in the province, early this July. The Cabinet decided that should the situation not improve within 12 months, consideration will be given to invoking a section of the Constitution, which provides for the national Minister of Housing to take over the administration of the provincial housing department.
The task team's process included gathering information on housing projects currently under way, progress made in its delivery, organisational issues facing the Eastern Cape Department of Housing, challenges that have hampered the department's housing delivery programme and financial management issues.
However, some of the identified projects are in areas where there is no bulk infrastructure. The challenge faced by the task team is to ensure that these challenges are resolved to ensure housing delivery to the people of the Eastern Cape.
The task team also took a decision to urgently tackle constraints associated with the slow payment of contractors. A register of those contractors who claim not to have been paid for completed work has been compiled, and investigations are under way to ensure that payments are paid out where they are due.
Another challenge is to ensure the technical capacity for project planning and implementation. The task team has identified the skills required to implement the projects. These skills are in engineering, town planning and project management. Some of these skills will be acquired from public entities and others from the private sector.
The Eastern Cape Department of Housing has also started with the process of recruiting people for critical positions within the department.
The Eastern Cape Intervention Task Team is composed of officials from the National Department of Housing, the Eastern Cape Department of Housing and officials from various provinces and municipalities. The task team, which operates as a single team meets every week to plan and review progress made.