Minister Explains the Allocation of Housing Opportunities
The Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements, Bonginkosi Madikizela, today (6 August 2013) delivered a statement on the allocation of housing opportunities in the Western Cape, and oversaw live internet-based demonstrations of the George Municipality housing list, and the City of Cape Town’s housing list. He explained the programmes of the department in ensuring a reliable housing list, and also how housing opportunities are allocated.
“There has been a lot of confusion about the allocation of housing opportunities, including some perceptions that the housing list is a myth. The list is not a myth, we are here today to explain how houses are allocated, to demonstrate live how the list is used at George Municipality and also how someone can log onto the internet and see their status on the City of Cape Town’s housing list.”
“It is important to also understand the roles and responsibilities of different spheres of government. With regards to housing allocation:
- National Government establishes and maintains a national housing data bank and information system.
- The Provincial Department checks and approves beneficiary lists, which have been submitted by the municipalities. The checks are done against the national housing databases. The Province also supplies funding for housing projects to the municipalities, which is linked to beneficiary subsidy approvals.
- Local Government (municipalities) are primary housing developers, and responsible for managing beneficiary lists and the allocation of housing opportunities.
“The Western Cape, like other provinces, has a legacy of poorly managed housing demand data and systems. Good quality housing demand data is necessary for planning and for the implementation of beneficiary selection processes for particular housing programmes. Accurate and up to date housing demand data is crucial since the allocation of housing opportunities remain subject to potential criticism until such time that selection is based on complete and accurate data, and that data is shown to have controls against tampering and corruption.
It is in this context that the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements embarked on the Housing Demand Data Improvement Programme (HDDIP) in 2010, which has resulted in the development of a web-based platform, or Western Cape Housing Demand Database (WCHDDB). The WCHDD allows municipalities to capture and record applicant information, and has controls to prevent tampering, and to ensure the consistency of the data.
“The Western Cape is the only province in the country to have a live, functional, web-based platform for municipalities to manage their housing demand data.
“The department has also developed a set of norms of standards to support the municipalities in ensuring that the beneficiaries who are most in need, such as the elderly and those with special needs, are prioritised.
When names are drawn off the housing list in order to be allocated housing opportunities, they are filtered according to criteria such as their age, and whether or not they are living in the area to be developed. If their details are not up to date, for example if they have moved and cannot be contacted, they may miss their opportunity for a house. It’s therefore very important that people keep their details updated with the municipalities.
“A final point is that many people get confused when they are told they have been approved for a house, and receive a notice with an erf number. Approval for a house does not mean allocation of a house, and the erf numbers are simply a requirement of the system, in order to process an application. Once someone has been approved for a house, then it means that when houses become available, they can be allocated one immediately without having to do any more administration, and the house they are allocated may have a different erf number to the one on their application.”