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Human Settlements Minister outlines progress for 2023/24 year

An image of Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi

Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi

28th March 2024

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online

     

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The government has made progress on its Medium-Term Strategic Framework targets and, as it wraps up this administration, believes these numbers will continue to increase, Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said at the 2023/24 yearly media briefing on March 28.

She noted that the department had been able to achieve the following against its targets: 75.8% of Breaking New Ground (BNG) houses built against its target; 75.4% of serviced sites against its target; 92.6% of its target to rezone its acquired land; 47.2% of communal residential units; 73.8% of rental units in priority developmental areas delivered; and 104.3% of integrated projects achieved.

“We will elaborate on more achievements as we deal with various areas,” she stated.

In March 2023, the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) announced that it had established the Emergency Housing Centre and that emergency housing had become the responsibility of the DHS.

In the 2023/24 financial year, the department responded to multiple disaster incidences in various provinces. The provinces that were affected by disasters over the past 12 months were KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Free State, Gauteng and Mpumalanga, Kubayi said.

“Since we centralised the emergency housing function at national [level], we have noted several improvements. These include shortened time for accessing emergency funding, the introduction of other emergency interventions such as the provision of building material packages to beneficiaries, and the introduction of a voucher system to enable affected households to collect building materials from nearby hardware stores,” she pointed out.

The department would also build on lessons learned, and as such, introduced an Emergency Housing Monitoring System to enable officials to report a disaster incident and upload the beneficiary list expeditiously.

The DHS was also deploying officials to be stationed at the provincial offices of its entities.

INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS UPGRADE
Overall, 46.6% of informal settlements are on Phase 1 of upgrading, the department achieved 47.4% of informal settlements target to Phase 2, and for Phase 3 upgrading it achieved 25.4%.

Informal settlements established before 2005 that had been upgraded in-situ or relocated out of disaster-prone zones would also be prioritised.

“A phased-in approach to relocating those in disaster-prone areas will extend beyond securing suitable land for relocation to obtaining a court order to prevent land invasion to facilitate evictions.

“While the provision of free housing will continue, more efforts will be put towards providing people with serviced sites to build for themselves, as budget cuts will drastically lead to the reduction of the number of housing units to be delivered by the sector,” Kubayi said.

TITLE DEEDS RESTORATION PROGRAMME
The DHS has initiated several interventions to support the implementation of the Title Restoration Project to mitigate backlogs.

It has agreed that 30% of the Human Settlements Development Grant may now be used to install bulk services that prevent the conclusion of township formalisation processes, required for individual property transfer.

While this funding may not be sufficient, the Urban Settlements Development Grant, appropriated to metropolitan municipalities, will also aid in alleviating the pressure around bulk services provision, Kubayi averred.

Also, together with provincial MECs, it approved the Title Deeds Friday campaign, which has seen the distribution of title deeds to beneficiaries every Friday from October 6, 2023. Since the start of the campaign, over 27 842 title deeds have been issued to beneficiaries in 97 municipalities across all nine provinces.

The MinMec planning process also resolved on a deadline of March 31 for the devolution of all pre-1994 stock units to beneficiaries and land to municipalities.

MILITARY VETERANS HOUSING ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME
Kubayi emphasised that the department was moving with urgency to allocate housing to military veterans confirmed by the Department of Military Veterans (DMV).

There are 4 560 beneficiaries approved which will be allocated houses in their respective provinces.

The department has agreed to engage all formations to agree for it to provide the normal BNG while awaiting their verification and once this is done by DMV, their top-up subsidy to be provided to them; and will adjust based on their needs.

RECTIFICATION PROGRAMME 

This project will be implemented in a phased-in approach, with ringfencing budgets to ensure this work is done.

The National Home Builders Registration Council is conducting an evaluation of those that fall within the Warranty Fund to be rectified and where contractors should be held accountable for fixing those houses they assisted with.

Going forward, asbestos roof removal will be part of the rectification programme.

TRANSFORMATION INITIATIVES

Overall, 163 companies owned by designated groups were supported economically in the allocation of various human settlements projects, Kubayi highlighted.

The total awarded by the sector amounted to R4.7-billion.

As part of ensuring that these milestones achieved are sustainable, the department signed a social compact with women in the sector that aims to see more implementation of the set-aside for women in the sector, expansion of incubation programmes, and training of women in working with its partners through its entities, among other things.

NATIONAL HOUSING FINANCE CORPORATION & FIRST HOME FINANCE

Kubayi said the DHS had achieved 128% of its target for first home financing and this could be attributed to the rebranding and marketing of the product, where many people became aware of this support by the government.

In the current financial year, the National Housing Finance Corporation (NHFC) has assisted 2 717 women to the value of R244.2-million through First Home Finance to buy their first homes.

This has leveraged private sector funding of R1.2-billion in the affordable housing market. Women beneficiaries constitute 68% of the total recipients of the approved subsidies for the full year 2023/24, Kubayi said.

To sustain transformation interventions for emerging developers, the NHFC was in the process of establishing an Incubator Programme to help unblock technical capacity and financial hurdles experienced by previously disadvantaged groups who are property developers, she added. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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