Human Settlements – Western Cape Adjustment Appropriation Bill 2020
Speech by Minister Tertuis Simmers
Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements
03 December 2020
It was exactly a year ago to the day when I addressed the House and said that my department and I are committed to improving the lives of the most vulnerable in our society. They are the elderly, people living with medically certified disabilities, those on the housing demand database for 15 years and longer and backyard dwellers. Today I am pleased to state that this has not changed in any way – instead our resolve to achieve this has become stronger, particularly since our country is faced with a host of challenges at the moment.
Speaker also allow me to acknowledge our persons who are living with disabilities on this International Day of Persons with Disabilities. I want you to know that you have always been part of this caring Western Cape Government’s plans and it will continue to be so. In fact, in all of our housing projects, we’ve included a 5% allocation for persons who are living with a medically certified disability, so that they are also afforded the opportunity to improve their lives significantly and able to live in dignity.
As a department our role is critical in changing people’s lives for the better, especially since the difference we’re making is a tangible and life-changing one. This is not something we’re paying lip service to, but actually doing. Our residents who have already benefitted from housing opportunities this past year, can attest to this.
At the end of October, Local Eersteriver resident and former backyard dweller, Mr Jonathan Cornelius who moved into his brand-new home in Forest Village said: “Just yesterday I was living in a ‘Sink Hokkie’ with a bad roof leak and today my life has changed for the better. I’m very grateful to be living in my new house and want to say thank you to everyone who made it possible.
In September, 62-Year old Ms Xoliswa Patso, a former resident of the Kanana Informal Settlement in Gugulethu, who also moved to Forest Village in Eersteriver said: “This is great day. I no longer have to live on the water and my many years of suffering in Kanana are over. I’m truly grateful to God and the Minister for changing my life.”
Speaker here we’re seeing individuals from different backgrounds and communities coming together to live as one in a new area. These are the examples why our aim is to continue on this journey of drastically changing people’s living conditions.
Over the last few months, we’ve had to face a myriad of challenges, with some being quite combative. This did not in any way stop us from engaging our residents, nor did it prevent us from ensuring housing opportunities are created.
Speaker, since I commenced as Minister, I’ve committed to four key drivers. These are the:
- Radical Acceleration of Housing Opportunities
- Radical Implementation of Innovative Solutions
- An Integrated Approach to Human Settlements and
- Radical Empowerment and Job Creation
Hierdie is uiters belangrik, want dit spreek ons doelwitte as Regering aan om te verseker dat werk, veiligheid en meer as dit, mense se waardigheid herstel en verseker word.
Speaker, vir baie blyk dit dat, dit onmoontlik is om die huidige uitdagings te oorkom – en dalk so met goeie rede, want dis nie die mooiste prent op die oomblik nie, maar ons wil hierdie Huis verseker dat ‘n meer vasbeslote en gedrewe Regering sal jy nie kry nie, want die werk wat gedoen word is nie vir onsself nie, maar wel vir die inwoners van die Wes-Kaap.
We all know what impact COVID and our poor economy is having on our budgets. In fact, listening to Minister Maynier on 26 November this year, delivering the MTBPS he used the term “cut” no fewer than 17 times in his speech.
Speaker, for a moment I wanted to interject and ask you to remove the scissor from his hand. But we all know we’re in this economic mess due to the ANC’s inability to govern and all-round corrupt practices.
Die Wes-Kaap is die enigste helder lig wat nog in Suid Afrika skyn en dit het duidelik deurgekom toe Minister Maynier ons toegespreek het.
With that said I’m pleased to inform this House that as part of our adjustment, we’ve allocated R19 million to Municipalities to accelerate housing opportunities. R10 million is allocated to the Saldanha Bay Municipality for the Langebaan Seaview Park Extension, while R9 Million is allocated to the Hessequa Municipality for bulk services of the Melkhoutfontein project.
In addition to this a further R16, 8 million from the Department’s own revenue has been allocated to infrastructure projects, which directly ensures that jobs are protected in the construction industry.
The Department has also agreed with the developers of the Conradie BLM to accelerate the installation of bulk infrastructure and therefore an additional amount of R25,9 million was moved forward from 2021/22 financial year to this financial year. This will further ensure that more jobs are created, while the construction programme for this project is also being accelerated.
Further to this, more than R2,9 million has been allocated to augment the HSDG to cover the additional cost due to the COVID pandemic, while more than R8,7 million has been allocated to the Rental Housing Tribunal to further strengthen their efforts and delivery of the much needed services.
Speaker, I must add that the Tribunal recently celebrated 20 years of existence and to commemorate this occasion, we’ve incorporated the use of technology to ensure that more residents with rental disputes are assisted effectively and efficiently. This year, we commenced with virtual hearings to accelerate the current case load. Along with this is the completion of the very first RHT web and mobile app solution, which forms part of the Western Cape Government’s e-Service Portal. This solution will enable citizens to register and track a complaint online.
Speaker, these appropriations not only speak to our four key drivers, but they also address, as Premier Winde puts it, our “North Stars,” which is Jobs, Safety and Well-Being, which ultimately restores our people’s dignity.
Speaker, let me take this opportunity to officially welcome the recent announcement by the National Minister of Human Settlements that a decision has been taken to allocate R150 million to the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements, to fast-track informal settlements upgrade, as well as rapid land release.
Even though there was no clear guidance on how the latter will be implemented, we are already putting plans together to roll out what we will term the Enhanced Service Site. My department is working closely with key stakeholders to prioritise areas and projects both in the Metro and Non-Metro areas to rapidly deliver these enhanced service sites. By ultimately allocating enhanced serviced sites in lieu of top structures to qualifying beneficiaries, this additional funding will assist to accelerate delivery at a time when it is needed the most.
A lot of projects which are implementation-ready or have all their readiness requirements such as bulk services and development rights, zonings and others in place, could not proceed due to the previous budget cuts. These projects will now be allowed to continue with a special focus on the acceleration of the provision of serviced sites and on the upgrade of existing informal settlements.
The Department has already scoped 60 informal settlements which are at various stages of readiness. And we are in the process of engaging those municipalities and communities to identify which projects have their procurement completed or where existing work packages can now be expanded to accommodate the increased scope.
The Department has also developed some audio-visual material to assist communities on how to build better structures for the self-build options under the Better Living Challenge initiative, for those beneficiaries who will only be receiving serviced stands. This will ensure that safer structures are built but also that the municipalities will be able to access the structures quickly in the event of a fire or other disaster. The first pilot “Pop-up builds” with all stakeholders present, will take place during December in Moorreesburg, which is in the Swartland Municipal area and Grabouw, which is in the Theewaterskloof municipality.
Speaker, dis ook vir hierdie rede waarom die gebruik van Volhoubare en Alternatiewe Bou Tegnologie nie meer geïgnoreer kan word nie, veral as ons daarop ingestel is om teen ‘n vinniger pas behuisingsgeleenthede aan die mees kwesbaarste moontlik te maak.
Sustainable Building Technology (SBT’s) addresses cost – and time saving, while also protecting the environment. At the same time our most deserving residents are benefitting, but at an accelerated pace. An example of this we’ll soon see at our Transhex Catalytic project in Worcester. We dare not allow ourselves to be stuck in the past – instead we ought to embrace the future if we are to continue being successful and creating opportunities at an accelerated pace.
While keeping with all COVID protocols, I trust that all Standing Committee members will come and witness these events.
Just before I conclude, it’s important that I highlight a particular matter.
For the current financial year, we have already spent more than 74% of our housing development budget. This is 10% more than the previous financial year during the same period, and we’re the only province that have spent this much so far. All of this, even though the COVID pandemic brought our sites to a complete standstill.
Speaker, the reality is that the National ANC-led government is leading us further into the abyss and I have to call on our people to bring about a change across the country, particularly in Municipalities. This is critical, as we want to ensure that the type of quality service delivery that most residents of the Western Cape are enjoying, can also be experienced by others.
Speaker, throughout my address today, I chose not to highlight our enormous budget cuts. Our people can clearly see that bailing out an airline is more important to the ANC-led National Government than improving their lives. Over the last few days, the Hessequa Municipality handed over more than 90 Title Deeds. One of the beneficiaries waited for 48 years to celebrate this day. Due to the cuts to our Title Deed Restoration Grant, with the last one being over R23 million, many Western Cape residents will not have the opportunity to receive their Title Deed, which means they’ll never be fully-fledged legal homeowners.
The ANC-led National Government do not regard this, nor you as a priority.
Speaker, the inactions by the ANC and its GOOD coalition partner is a clear portrait of what a leaderless world of the bureaucratic bourgeoisie is. The National Democratic Revolution (NDR), of which most opposition parties indirectly referred to, is a failed soviet model for the advancement of a developing country towards socialism.
The fact that the NDR model died with the USSR and today is ridiculed by Russia, has clearly not reached the ANC, its GOOD alliance partner or the EFF, as they are happily stuck in the 1950 and 1960's..as can be seen by their support for the bail out of our zombie state owned enterprises.
The ANC, their GOOD coalition partner and EFF's calls are no more than perverse quasi-socialism that is ruthless in the treatment of the working class and poor at large. The EFF is in fact already demonstrating and without any shame, their fascist agenda – which part of it is that anyone who disagrees with them will be met with intimidation and violence. “You must bow to and fear us they say or else…”
The ANC-GOOD Alliance is hot on its heels. There is a strong desire to take the power out of the hands of the people, while pretending to place it in its hands. The expropriation of land without compensation is an excellent example of them seeking to ensure that you to never own any land, and instead you should lease it from the State. Who will be benefitting, this bourgeoisie, pretending to care?
Speaker, we have a track record and part of it, is the caring nature and approach of this DA-led government. We are a clear antithesis of this perverse quasi-socialistic approach, as to us our people truly matter most.