100 Days as minister of human settlements | Western Cape Government

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100 Days as minister of human settlements

10 September 2019


  • Establishment of three Radical Drivers
  • Municipal and Stakeholder Engagements
  • Housing and Title Deed Handovers
  • Acceleration of Catalytic and Priority Projects
  • Identification of Non-Metro Priority Projects
  • Revised Criteria for a Government Housing Opportunity
  • Establishment of Verification and Registration weekends
  • Proposed a Special Backyarder Grant
  • Development of Housing APP
  • HomeWise Youth Competition
  • Alternative Building Technology Discussion

It has been just over 100 days since I took office as Provincial Minister of Human Settlements. During this time, I engaged with 23 out of 30 Municipalities across the province, along with various stakeholders, including the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the finance and banking sector in human settlements. As a consequence, I’ve covered in excess of 25 000 km’s in this period.

These engagements, coupled with the two years I served as a Member of the Standing Committee on Human Settlements in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, made me realise that we would have to adopt a radical approach in how we deal with human settlements, particularly if we are to accelerate human settlement delivery and promote social inclusion through the development of integrated, resilient and sustainable human settlements in an open society.

It is for this reason that we’ll be focussing on three radical drivers throughout my term of office. These are:

  1. Radical Acceleration of Housing Opportunities
  2. Radical Implementation of Innovative Solutions and
  3. An Integrated Approach to Human Settlements

When we refer to being radical, we’re not suggesting that we’ll be militant or become violent. On the contrary, we’re saying there’ll be a significant push towards getting our people into houses, but also towards giving people ownership through Title Deeds, as in both instances, not only are we creating a better life for our people, but we are restoring the dignity of our residents, given our past injustices.

To date, we’ve handed over 238 houses and 383 Title Deeds. Recently, in Forest Village alone, we started handing over approximately 25 houses every second week. A further 110 units are ready to be handed over. We’ve also had sod turnings at the Metro Grounds in George and in Barrydale.

  • Acceleration of Catalytic and Priority Projects

I’ve visited various Provincial Priority and Catalytic projects across the Cape Metro, which included Belhar CBD, - Highbury Park, - Penhill, - Ithemba, Kosovo, -Taiwan, Thabo Mbeki – and the Airport Precinct, where informal settlements such as Barcelona, Vukuzenzela, Europe and others will benefit.

Outside of the Metro, I’ve been to Louis Fourie (Mountain View), Mossel Bay, - Vlakkeland, in Paarl and Vredenburg on the West Coast. In addition, we have various priority projects, namely Leonsdale in Elsies River, Du Noon, Rooidakke and Irak in Grabouw, Hout Bay, Bella Vista in Ceres, Greater Hermanus and Greater Retreat.

These projects are all at various stages of planning and implementation.

  • Identification of Non-Metro Priority Projects

We remain committed to rolling out our Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) and the Small-Town Regeneration Programme (STRP). 

Furthermore, to accelerate the provision of housing opportunities, I have identified 7 non-Metro projects, namely:

  1. Metro Grounds – George
  2. Melkhoutfontein – Hessequa
  3. Zoar – Kannaland
  4. Vredenburg – Saldanha (West Coast)
  5. Louis Fourie (Mountain View) – Mossel Bay
  6. Dysselsdorp – Oudtshoorn
  7. Hawston and Schulphoek - Overstrand

In a further effort to accelerate housing delivery, we have strategically focused our resources to three priority areas:

  1. Increasing Affordable/GAP Housing, along with our Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP);
  2. Prioritising the most deserving people in relation to the allocation of free Breaking New Ground (BNG) houses and
  3. Directing more resources for the Upgrading of Informal Settlements and the provision of basic services.
  • Revised Criteria for a Government Housing Opportunity

For noting we are prioritising these opportunities in-line with a set of criteria, which are:

  • The elderly,
  • People with disabilities
  • Child-headed households
  • Those who have been the longest on the waiting list (15 years and longer)
  • And our backyard dwellers, particularly single mothers with dependents.

At the end of June 2019, I issued an executive directive to all municipalities that henceforth, backyard dwellers must also be a priority. This means, whenever we identify beneficiaries from the housing waiting lists, for all Greenfield projects, backyarders must be prioritised, as we will work on a 50/50 split within the other criteria. 

I am pleased to inform you, that this is already being implemented in one of our projects in Bredasdorp. This project will yield 158 housing opportunities upon completion in December and backyarders make up in excess of 60% of the qualifying beneficiaries.

  • Establishment of Verification and Registration weekends

In addition, and to assist in ensuring that housing waiting lists across municipalities are accurate, we will, during October and November embark on a weekend registration and verification drive. This coming weekend, 14-15 September, we will roll out the first pilot in the George Municipal area.

I’d like to encourage responsible citizenship and urge all residents who need housing assistance from government, to use this opportunity to register. Residents that are already registered, should ensure that their details are up to date, particularly if contact information has changed since registration. Forms are available at local libraries, area – and housing offices.

  • Proposed a Special Backyarder Grant

Stemming from the recent Housing Summit, facilitated by the SAHRC, I’ve directed formal correspondence to Minister Sisulu to propose that a specific grant for backyarders be established, to respond to the growing need of backyarders.

  • Development of Housing APP and HomeWise Youth Competition

I am a firm believer in using technology optimally, particularly for the advancement of our people. It is for this reason that on 23 July, we launched our exciting HomeWise Youth Competition. Entries closed on 31 August.

We are in the process of developing an app for citizens to easily access information on government housing assistance and called on young people to help us do this, by designing the mock-ups, prototypes or wireframes of the app. We had a number of queries and online impressions, of which 20 entries met all the criteria.

I am particularly pleased to note that 10 are females and 6 from rural communities, such as Heidelberg and Malmesbury. All entries which met the criteria will be analysed and assessed, and a winner will be announced in due course.

  • Alternative Building Technology Discussion

The use of Alternative Building Technology (ABT’s) is also being encouraged, as it is vital in sustainable development. In Mossel Bay, we currently have the Yakhindlu PHP project where only ABT’s are being used. Units are built at a cheaper rate, the cost of electricity will be less and it holds long term benefits for the environment. During my engagement with the banking sector, they indicated their appetite for ABT’s and a willingness to support these types of initiatives.

We are also currently finalising the specific detail of our Smart Townships concept. This concept, which will be homeownership driven and inclusive of all the relevant services, will be piloted across the province.

Upon taking up my role as Minister, I was immediately confronted by an attempt to illegally occupy units that are currently under construction as part of the Forest Village Housing Development in Eersteriver.

Initially, we thought that approximately 100 doors and windows were damaged, but the preliminary investigations have found that 283 units were damaged. The estimated cost associated with the damage is a staggering R931 000. Included in this amount are materials and tools stolen from the store room, valued at over R140 000.

I will continue to condemn thug-like behavior in the strongest possible terms and will ensure that those responsible for all lawless acts face the full might of the law. I would like to urge residents to dismiss anyone who seeks to act in this manner. Illegal occupations cannot be condoned as it hampers the delivery of houses to the very people that need it most. Our particular focus is on the most vulnerable and needy in our communities to ensure they are prioritised for housing delivery.

As the Western Cape Government, we remain committed to accelerating human settlement delivery, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, resilient and sustainable human settlements in an open opportunity society.

Media Enquiries: 

Marcellino Martin
Spokesperson for Minister Tertuis Simmers
Tel: 021 483 3397
Cell: 082 721 3362
Email: Marcellino.martin@westerncape.gov.za