Vote 8 2022/23 Budget
Human Settlements and Infrastructure
30 March 2022
Venue: Western Cape Provincial Parliament Chamber (WCPP)
Address by: Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements, Tertuis Simmers
Honourable Speaker and Deputy Speaker
Honourable Cabinet Colleagues
and Honoured Guests
A Budget with an Opportunity FOR YOU
Speaker, at various intervals in life, opportunities are presented to us. The question that would almost always accompany this opportunity is: “WILL YOU SEIZE THIS OPPORTUNITY?”
This is a pertinent question, particularly from a human settlements perspective.
Speaker, hierdie is uiters belangrik, want uit ‘n menslike nedersettings oogpunt word geleenthede gebied en geskep om individue en hul geliefdes se omstandighede daadwerklik en op ‘n grootskaalse wyse te verander. Hetsy dit ‘n tipe behuisingsgeleentheid is, hetsy dit ‘n eienaarskapsgeleentheid is, of dalk ‘n bemagtigingsgeleentheid – die eindresultaat is dat hierdie geleenthede drastiese verbetering teweegbring.
So from the outset, I’d like to make it known that the 2022/23 human settlements budget of 2-billion, 414-million and 805-thousand, is a budget with An Opportunity FOR YOU.
This means that just as in the past, and more so moving forward, this budget’s primary purpose is to ensure that the lives of our people are improved.
As a department that is mandated with the delivery of human settlements, and this being integrated human settlements, I’m pleased to inform this House that during the 2022/23 financial year, 11 210 housing opportunities will be delivered. This will consist of 2 747 sites and 8 463 top structures. Dit beteken dat meer as 11-duisend kwalifiserende begunstigdes die geleentheid gebied gaan word om in verbeterde en veiliger omstandighede, wat waardigheid teweegbring, te leef.
Die individue wie vir hierdie geleenthede geteiken word is bejaardes, dis nou persone wat 60 jaar en ouer is, individue met ‘n gesertifiseerde mediese ongeskiktheid, persone wat 15 jaar en langer op die behuisingswaglys is, agterplaas bewoners, wat uniek aan die Wes-Kaap is, huise waar kinders die hoof is. Hier wag ons nog vir duidelikheid vanaf die nasionale regering, en Militêre Veterane. Uiters belangrik om hier te noem dat ons net die agent is wat die militêre veterane se huise bou. Alle prosesse word deur die Nasionale Departement Militêre Veterane afgehandel.
It is vital to point out that as much as this is our criteria, it all starts with you being registered on the Housing Demand Database.
Over the last few days, the National Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi announced various revised subsidy quantums as it pertains to both the Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) and the Informal Settlement Upgrade Partnership Grant (ISUPG). These will take effect on 1 April and given the increases in these quantums, it will have an impact on our targets which will have to be adjusted downwards.
Speaker, it is important to point out that the majority of our projects are continued from previous years and the bulk capacity would have been taken into account when they were approved. Bulk infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges we face, and it is an inhibiting factor when it comes to “new projects”.
Now as a forward-thinking and solution orientated Government, we view every challenge as an opportunity. It is for this reason, that I am pleased to inform this House that the numbers will be increased in the wake of our advanced planning to unlock opportunity, as I will indicate here today.
The reality in the Western Cape is that there are currently, approximately 568 000 residents on the Western Cape Housing Demand Database, who have expressed a need to be assisted by the State for a housing opportunity. Given that the Western Cape has the highest employment rate of just under 70%, many of these residents would not qualify for a fully State subsidised housing opportunity, as their household income would likely exceed the R 3 500 threshold.
State assistance is however still required as many of these residents have a household income that ranges between R 3 501 – R 22 000. Dit is waar bekostigbare behuising ‘n kritieke rol speel, want die Wes-Kaap het ‘n unieke uitdaging om op te los. To address this unique challenge, we focus on two programmes, namely FLISP and Social Housing.
There has been a huge demand for FLISP in the Western Cape. In fact, 3 695 applications have been approved by my department, since April 2020 to date. This was against a target of 1 800 between the 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years.
At this point I would like to extend a warm welcome to Mr and Mrs John and Tamaryne Norkee. A lovely couple who accessed the FLISP subsidy, received an amount of R 49 000, and have been living in Forest Village since November 2021.
Mrs Norkee mentioned: “We’re really happy with our home. The subsidy has helped to significantly reduce our bond repayment. There is nothing better than not having to live in someone else’s backyard. If more people are able to access FLISP, we will have fewer backyard dwellers.”
Speaker, for the 2022/23 financial year we aim to assist 1 478 people.
It is for this reason that we welcome the policy amendments to the Financed Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP), that has now been delinked. This means that it is no longer just a mortgage only option, but other sources of finance may be utilised to acquire a property, and applicants with a household income of between R 3 501 – R 22 000 can access FLISP or as it’s now called, ‘Help me buy a Home'.
This is a significant shift and a game changer for the affordable housing market. We regard this overhaul as a true victory for all citizens, but more so for residents of this province, as we’ve been advocating for these amendments for a very long time already.
We’ve already experienced an influx of queries and applications, and for this reason we have streamlined our processes to ensure there are no delays when we commence on 1 April.
Oor die volgende paar dae sal daar verder uitgebrei word oor hoe FLISP in die Wes-Kaap toegepas gaan word, sodat daar duidelikheid is om al die onsekerheid wat dalk tans bestaan uit die weg te ruim.
Speaker, I’m also pleased to announce to this House that civil engineering services on our Deferred Ownership Pilot Project in the non-Metro Cape Agulhas Municipal Area have been completed, and that construction is due to commence imminently. For those that might not be familiar with this project, this innovative initiative seeks to provide not only FLISP units to qualifying beneficiaries but also to provide an opportunity for those beneficiaries who have fallen short of end user finance approval.
These beneficiaries will be provided an opportunity to take out an option for purchasing a house. Furthermore, the initiative will assist them to improve and rehabilitate their credit score and affordability rating, and this acquired proven payment track record will enable them to obtain end user finance to purchase the property which they have been renting.
This is also the ideal moment to mention that we don’t work in isolation, but believe in partnerships, as the development of beneficial partnerships remains a critical element for the acceleration of affordable housing. Partnerships with all major banks are in place and are in process of being improved and revised. A number of other exciting partnerships are being pursued by the department, all of which will assist the department in the delivery of its goals and objectives going forward.
Speaker, in die Kaapse Metro het ons verskeie voorbeelde van suksesvolle sosiale behuisingsprojekte. Hierdie sluit onder meer in Anchorage in Glenhaven, Bellville; Regent Villas in Mitchells Plain; Bothasig, en die Maitland Mews waar konstruksie onlangs afgeskop het. Duisende inwoners het reeds of sal eersdaags toegang hê tot bekostigbare behuising.
One such beneficiary, who is with us today in the gallery is Mrs Badroeniesah Jobert who is visually impaired and was afforded an opportunity in the Anchorage Social Housing Project in Glenhaven in Bellville. I visited Mrs Jobert at her home shortly after they moved in, and her words to me were: “Minister, I am happy here. I chose Anchorage to assist me in becoming self-sustainable. The dream is owning my own home one day. This place is really comfortable and suited to my needs. We are ecstatic to live here in the Anchorage community.”
Over the next 5 years we will also see a number of further social housing opportunities in areas such as Woodstock, Salt River, Goodwood, Heideveld, Elsiesriver, Mitchells Plain and potentially Oranjezicht. It is important to note that these opportunities are at various stages along the development pipeline.
I am happy to add that the first non-metro Social Housing project, called Mountain Ridge in Dal Josafat, Paarl has been approved by the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA) and will provide 362 new Social Housing units. Construction is planned to commence early in the 2022/2023 financial year. Furthermore, there are a significant number of new projects in the pipeline in other non-metro Leader Towns such as Stellenbosch, George, and Mossel Bay.
We also welcome the National Minister’s announcement that the qualification criteria for household income have been amended from R1500 – R15 000 to R1850 – R22 000 gross monthly income. This will, amongst others, enable particularly young graduates and young couples who could not previously access housing opportunities, due to earning higher than the previously prescribed household income band, to access these opportunities.
Speaker, hierdie wysigings stel ons beslis in staat om baie meer persone, net soos Mev Jobert wat vandag hier met ons is, ook by te staan. Gegewe dat bekostigbare behuisingsgeleenthede ons prioriteit is, sien ons daarna uit om die nuwe wysigings te implementeer.
It’s been quite unfortunate to note in the media that there are those who are criticising the various amendments to the policy and suggesting that we’re only assisting middle-income earners. It is prudent that we don’t seek relevance by playing with people’s lives and spewing misinformation. I’d advise the critics to conduct some research and let this be a substantive research sample before engaging in a debate where you are devoid of the facts.
The upgrading of our informal settlements continues to be a priority for us. In fact, we have identified 50 informal settlements for a variety of upgrade interventions through our ISUPG. This is anchored in a transversal and Provincial-wide informal settlement upgrading strategy to enhance, simplify, and accelerate informal settlement upgrading interventions through an innovative, people-centred, and partnership-based approach.
A critical point to make today, is that since 2016, Western Cape households have enjoyed the highest rate of access to services compared to the national average. The province currently has 958 informal settlements with 527 of those falling within the City of Cape Town region. All of the remaining 431 settlements across the province have been assessed, categorised, ranked, and prioritised per municipality via the Department’s Informal Settlements Database.
We’re particularly focused on incremental housing, and more so for residents in our informal settlements. This places us in a strategic position to eliminate the growing backlog for houses and for basic municipal services. Initially we conceptualised two options, and this has now increased to 4, which is being considered. One particular option that we’re leaning towards, is the provision of a site that has a starter house with a 40 square meter frame structure for future extension. Not discounting any of the others, but at this stage, we’re of the view that this option will make a significant impact in the improvement of the living conditions of those who are residing in informal settlements. The starter house consists of:
Just as with any of our programmes, this includes a set criteria.
Speaker, today I am also pleased to have 62-year-old Ms Mirtle Verrooi with us. Ms Verrooi is also visually impaired, and wheelchair bound. In 2019, she lived in horrendous conditions in an informal settlement in the Blue Downs area, and when I was informed of her need, I ensured that immediate action could be taken. Daar was ‘n paar uitdagings aangaande ID dokumente en ‘n paar ander kwessies, maar ek wil vandag aan alle beamptes wat verseker het dat Mev Verrooi bygestaan kon word, baie dankie sê. Mev Verrooi, baie dankie dat u vandag met ons is.
Toe ons onlangs met die Nasionale en Adjunk Nasionale Minister by Mev Verrooi besoek afgelê het, het sy vertel hoe lekker sy bly en dat sy uiteindelik veilig voel en sonder vrees leef.
Speaker, allow me to also announce today that our Individual Subsidy applications will be opening on 1 April. You might’ve noticed the communication that was issued yesterday.
This subsidy is aimed at residents with a household income of between R 0 and R 3 500 and allows one to: buy an existing house; buy a house on a plot-and-plan basis, or to finish an incomplete house. The subsidy amount is just over R 200 000 and is paid directly to a seller, conveyancer, financier or contractor, depending on the case.
As there is a limited budget, assistance with this subsidy is only provided once a year and is allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis. Priority will be given to applicants who are elderly or have special needs, particularly people living with a medically certified disability. I’d therefore like to encourage those who would like to apply to urgently do so.
How this is also not assisting the poorest of the poor, only the uninformed so-called community activists and organisations that claim to represent communities would know.
Speaker, this is a budget with an Opportunity FOR YOU.
Speaker, ownership is true empowerment and if there’s one opportunity I refuse to miss, then it’s the opportunity to assist our residents in becoming fully-fledged and legal owners of their properties. This is a privilege that many of our people never had in their lives.
Speaker, dit is een van die redes waarom ek vandag vir Mnr en Mev Kooste van Louwville in Vredenburg genooi om deel van hierdie verrigtinge te wees. Toe ek verneem het dat daar ‘n paartjie op Vredenburg is wat reeds 50 jaar wag op hul titelakte het ek gesê daar moet so spoedig as moontlik ‘n plan vir hierdie paartjie gemaak word. Op 15 April verlede jaar kon ons uiteindelik die oorhandiging doen en ek sal nooit Mev Kooste se woorde aan my vergeet nie.
Daardie dag toe sê sy: “Vandag is ons onsettend bly en dankbaar teenoor die Here dat Hy ons gespaar het om hierdie dag te sien en te ervaar. Ons het nooit gedink dat die dag sal kom waar ons titelakte in ons hande sou hê nie, want die gewag het lank geduur. Vandag is ons trots en baie bly dat dit wel hier is. Hierdie beteken baie vir ons. Dis nou ons huis, ons grond en niemand kan dit van ons wegneem nie.”
Speaker, the difference we are making in people’s lives is tangible and lifelong. This is our continued commitment to the qualifying residents of the Western Cape.
For the 22/23 financial year, our aim is to empower even more residents through the handing over of a title deed. Despite the National Government stopping the Title Deed Restoration Grant, we will continue to hand over title deeds. In fact, we’ll place this powerful document in the hands of 10 150 qualifying beneficiaries during the new financial year, so that more residents can be empowered like the Kooste’s.
Speaker, this is part of the reason why this is a budget with an opportunity FOR YOU.
Speaker, in taking it a step further and as part of being innovative, our officials are currently investigating which systems can be adopted and or created to ensure that when beneficiaries receive their fully State subsidised homes, they receive their title deed at the same time.
Ons wil ons mense ten volle bemagtig en werk strategies daaraan om hierdie titelakte-plan ‘n werklikheid te maak.
Unlike the ANC and the EFF we’re not in the business of seeking to disempower our people by taking their land away – we’re empowering our people by giving them ownership. As challenged before, the members of these parties should voluntarily give up all of their property to the State, so that we can see what exemplary leadership looks like.
It is common knowledge, particularly since I’ve mentioned it in this House before, that were it not for the Western Cape, where we have an expanded unemployment rate of 30,4%, our country’s unemployment rate would today in all likelihood be out of control. The next best performing province is the ANC-led Free State where their expanded unemployment rate sits at 44,2%.
Speaker, this year we are once again supporting the efforts of this Western Cape Government to get our people working. Through this budget, we will ensure that 1 000 jobs are facilitated within the build environment.
It does not stop there, because we will make sure that a combined minimum of 50% of the infrastructure grants – HSDG and the new ISUPG – will paid to HDI contractors. Their empowerment and support is of utmost importance, as it is a known fact that these entities help to ensure that our people are employed.
Speaker, in this province, when we identify opportunities that will assist in contributing to the overall wellbeing of our people, we seize it and immediately start initiating a process that ultimately leads to implementation. One of these initiatives is our Western Cape Asset Finance Reserve for Human Settlements. The Western Cape is the only province in the entire South Africa to have such a fund. This is a fund that is not pocketed by friends, cronies and associates. NO, the funds are reinvested so that residents of this province can benefit.
This reserve is self-funded from, amongst others, the selling of FLISP units/sites and the selling of business/government sites in IRDP projects. All revenue collected in excess of the Department’s revenue target is transferred to this fund to ensure that revenue derived from the investment of the Human Settlement Development Grant (HSDG) will be available for future capital investment in human settlement projects.
This Western Cape reserve has several applications. The money is used to improve the insufficient Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) allocations for municipalities. The money is used to assist municipalities to unlock the value of strategic assets, including land and buildings. The money is used for job creation initiatives, including developing business/industrial hubs and many other initiatives. The money is used to provide co-funding to municipalities to access Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant (RBIG) funding where the condition is that the municipalities must co-fund from its own resources an amount equal to the grant, and must only be utilised to unlock affordable housing opportunities, including building FLISP units to sell, and funding deferred ownership units where the sale will only take effect after a minimum of 2 years.
Hierdie Wes-Kaapse reserwefonds versterk munisipaliteite sodat hulle hul infrastruktuur kan ontwikkel en op ‘n vlak kan kry waar meer inwoners veral toegang kan kry tot bekostigbare behuisingsgeleenthede.
Last Friday National Minister of Human Settlement Mmamoloko Kubayi addressed the media about some of the policy changes mentioned earlier. One of the items mentioned were: “Digitisation of the beneficiary list to make it more reliable, transparent, easily accessible and avoid fraud and corruption” .
This is commendable and a step towards the 4th industrial revolution, but once again it’s a leaf taken out of the book of the Western Cape, as we have launched our WCG App in March 2020 already. This App ensures that our citizens can easily access information on government housing assistance, and register for the first time, or update their details on the Housing Demand Database (HDD).
With our continued commitment to incorporate technology, we’re in the process of developing a mobile reporting app to enhance the reporting process that enables officials to report in real-time from the field; to digitise contract management documents on the MyContent system to allow for easy retrieval of documents such as agreements; to improve the Western Cape Housing Demand Database to enable municipalities to effectively manage the registration of housing demand by citizens, and to enhance the executive dashboard that reports on projects.
In the 2022/23 financial year, the focus will be on enhancing the interaction with citizens through digitising our Subsidy Application process with the focus on FLISP subsidies and the transfer of title deeds, as well as developing a Citizen Complaints System.
Die begroting bied ons die geleentheid om baie meer effektief te wees en alles dit tot die voordeel van ons inwoners.
Speaker, as part of my conclusion, I’d like to inform this House that I’ll be embarking on a roadshow to various Districts and municipalities to present this budget, their allocations, as well as engaging them on some of the quantum amendments as announced by the National Minister.
The Western Cape Human Settlements and Infrastructure Team forms a transparent and engaging department. We believe that we’re stronger and better when we work together, particularly when we work with a critical partner such as a local government.
I thank my department’s Acting HOD, Ms Phila Mayisela for continuing to steer our ship, and the entire senior management team for their unwavering support and commitment to changing the lives of our people. To all staff in the department, thank you for all your hard and effective and efficient work.
Finally, and let me be clear. With this budget, we remain committed to accelerating human settlements delivery, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, resilient, safe and sustainable human settlements in an open opportunity society.