Human Settlements Appropriation Budget Vote 8 Speech
Appropriation Budget Vote 8 – Cape Town
30 March 2021
Venue: Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP)
Honourable Cabinet Colleagues
Honourable Members and
A Budget to Empower
Speaker, in less than 3 years, we will be commemorating 30 years as a democratic state. As a country we’ve come a long way – having faced and endured a myriad of challenges before becoming this democratic state.
At this very moment, we’re faced with one of the biggest health pandemics of our era, which has really forced us to change the way we live and to adopt a new normal. This has led to a lot of confusion and anxiety, about the future.
Speaker, if there is one area where our residents do not have to feel anxious about, then it’s the provision of housing opportunities in the Western Cape. We’ve demonstrated year-on-year how effective we are in delivering for and to those who deserves it most. Our track record speaks for itself – and as a snippet, since the 2017/18 financial year, we’ve delivered over 26 000 top structures and just under 24 500 serviced sites.
This is more than 50 000 housing opportunities during this period.
The reason why we’ve been able to do this, is because our entire focus is on improving the lives of our people and ensuring a tangible difference.
Speaker, oral waar ons gaan, betoon begunstigdes hul dankbaarheid teenoor die behuisings geleentheid of titelakte wat hulle ontvang. Nie net maak dit my elke keer nederig nie, maar dit herhinner my ook daaraan dat ons ‘n uiters belangrike rol te speel het om mense se lewens-omstandighede heeltemal te verbeter.
This is so, as from the beginning of my tenure, I’ve stated that as a Department, we are focussed on four key drivers.
These drivers are proving to be quite effective. Just last month a resident from George downloaded our WCG App and was very happy, as he could immediately see his status and where he is on the demand database. It also clearly indicated where his housing opportunity is. This app ensures our citizens can easily access information on government housing assistance, such as registering for the first time or updating their details on the Housing Demand Database.
Speaker, this is but one example of being innovative and utilising technology optimally.
‘n Onlangse besoek aan Villiersdorp waar ons meer as 200 titelaktes gaan oorhandig het, het een van die begunstigdes, 64-jarige Johanna Nellie gesê dat ons nooit sal verstaan wat die oorhandiging vir haar en haar gesin beteken nie. Met diep emosie sê sy verder dat haar man wat ontslape is, hoog in lug sou spring, omdat een van sy wense was om ‘n ware eienaar van sy huis te wees.
Speaker, it is this feeling of joy and empowerment we want to leave with our people, as we believe that True Empowerment is Ownership.
Even though the National Department of Human Settlements discontinued the Title Deed Restoration Grant, we will still be in a position to transfer 8 110 Title Deeds to qualifying beneficiaries in the 2021/22 financial year.
This will be done through our Asset Finance Reserve for Human Settlements. This reserve is quite significant, as we cannot sit back and watch our people being denied such an important tool to further strengthen the access to potential economic and other opportunities that comes with having a title deed.
This reserve, which has been created for human settlements in the Western Cape , given the shrinking budget envelope will among others, further be used to augment the insufficient MIG allocations in municipalities, assist municipalities to unlock the value of strategic assets including land and buildings, also for job creation initiatives, including developing business/industrial hubs and many other initiatives.
Along with this, the Cape Agulhas deferred ownership programme will also be kicking off this year. This is primarily focussed on those individuals who are seeking to acquire property but due to various reasons are unable to do so immediately. Through this initiative they will have an opportunity to form part of the wider credit readiness programme, while renting their units and the possibility of eventually owning these properties.
Speaker, all of this leads to eventual ownership and as I said earlier, True Empowerment is Ownership.
Speaker, the reality in the Western Cape is that more than 70% of our people are employed, of course, the highest employment rate in the country – yet another area where the Western Cape continues to lead. Now a large majority of this number would never qualify for a BNG/free home, as they have a household income of over R 3 500. Yet, it is the same people who do not earn enough to qualify for a bond from a financial institution or when they could qualify for a bond, they might have a poor credit record, which leads to a refusal to being assisted by financial institutions to obtain a bond.
What happens in an instance such as this, you might ask? We say, let’s assist those who are regarded as being in the missing middle. We refer to this group as the Affordable Housing Market. These are the individuals where the household income is between R 3 501 – R 22 000. To these individuals, I’d like to say, there are programmes within the human settlements basket that could fit your pocket. These include the Non-credit linked, credit linked and Finance Linked Individual Subsidies (FLISP). Then we also have our Credit Readiness Programme, which is linked to FLISP to assist those, currently seeking to acquire a property but would first need to improve their poor credit record.
Speaker, these efforts are all geared towards assisting our people at owning a home, as this is true empowerment.
Ons mense moet eiendom kan besit!
Unlike some political parties, who are seeking to disown our people through expropriation with no compensation, we’re saying NO! – we want our people to OWN!
This is critical if we’re going to truly empower our people, more so, as we were never allowed to own property in the past, yet we have political parties seeking to dis-empower our people.
Speaker vir ons is dit die teenoorgestelde.
By empowering our residents, we want to assist them to become self-sustainable. This is called creating an environment where our people can thrive – it is being that enabler so that our residents have the opportunity to forge a path for themselves, and not the State seeking to dictate terms.
Further to the various affordable housing opportunities, we also have our successful Social Housing Developments that are currently underway. The Western Cape, with its 8 projects, is the leading province in the country.
Yet another area where the Western Cape leads.
To mention a few, we have Bothasig, Goodwood, Glenhaven in Bellville and Pine Road in Woodstock that will deliver a multitude of affordable Social Housing opportunities.
Speaker we are a government with foresight, as we’ve seen the need of those who earn between R 1 500 – R 15 000 per month and also require state assistance. These Social Housing projects are doing just that, ensuring that affordable housing opportunities become available to our people.
Although a tenant would never be able to own the Social Housing unit, they value the opportunity that is presented to them, as they are fully aware that the rental payment they are making is a saving of 50% and more when compared to market related costs.
As 36-year old Mrs Natalie Roberts, who recently moved into the Regent Villas Social Housing project in Weltevreden Valley, Mitchells Plain said: “I'm living in peace and harmony in my perfect unit, which is just right for me and my family. I am very, very happy. We have our own space; the complex is secured, and we are not trapped in a small room anymore.”
Speaker the acceleration of Social Housing is in all earnestness underway, with Social Housing Restructuring Zones now having been gazetted in 11 non-Metro Leader Towns.
The Artscape/Founders Garden and Helen Bowden/Somerset Hospital Initiatives also intend to demonstrate how urban development can support a range of urban uses in a high-density inner-city environment. I can add that we have also recently commissioned a Feasibility Scoping Report of 14 sites in the inner city. The sites form part of the pipeline of projects to be developed for the affordable housing market which includes social housing, other rental and ownership opportunities.
Speaker dis die tasbare verskil wat ons in ons mense se lewens maak, en ons prioritiseer ons bejaardes, persone met ‘n medies gesertifiseerde gestremdheid, persone wat 15 jaar en langer op die behuisings waglys is en ons agterplaas bewoners.
Ons bou reeds voort daarop om geleenthede aan ons inwoners moontlik te maak.
Just to highlight:
Qualifying and deserving beneficiaries are continuously moving into their homes in Vredebes in Ceres, Vlakkeland in Paarl, in Velddrif on the West Coast, in Grabouw. Here in the Cape Metro, beneficiaries are moving into our Forest Village Catalytic project. At the end of February, a total of 2578 units have already been handed over. Of these 579 are from the N2 Gateway, 504 from the Southern Corridor, 145 are Priority Cases and the majority, 1350, are Locals. Reports that locals are not being afforded an opportunity is completely false.
Qualifying and deserving beneficiaries in Barrydale, will also, very soon, be receiving the keys to their brand-new homes.
Iets om beslis na uit te sien is die FLISP huise op Syferfontein in George wat ook in die nuwe boekjaar ‘n groep nuwe huiseienaars gaan hê. Ek kan reeds ook noem dat ons binnekort BNG-huise by hierdie ontwikkeling gaan oorhandig.
Speaker, True Empowerment is Ownership, and this is the tangible and life changing difference we’re making.
Speaker, over the MTEF over R 7,2 billion has been appropriated. For the 2021/22 financial year, we have a budget allocation of just over R 2,35 billion. This will enable us to deliver 14 596 housing opportunities. These housing opportunities consists of 6 324 serviced sites and 8 272 units.
Part of this year’s allocation is the Informal Settlements Upgrading Partnership Grant, which amounts to just over R 457 million. This is a people-centred and partnership-based approach to support informal settlement residents across the Western Cape. The first cycle of projects aims to accelerate basic services to informal settlements and improve fire safety, while over time, assist residents to have access to public infrastructure, finance, land, tenure, economic opportunities and incremental housing opportunities.
More than 74 000 households in various informal settlements across the Western Cape will experience an improvement in their area. We are ensuring liveable areas for the various communities.
There will also be a keen focus on the rapid land release programme, which focuses on the delivery of serviced sites and stands for all qualifying beneficiaries on land earmarked for human settlement development and provision of medium to high densities.
Affording opportunities and empowering our youth and women is another key focus area for my department. For this reason, we will continue to use 50% of our Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) to empower contractors from all targeted groups including women and youth.
We also remain committed to train young people in various disciplines in the built environment, to ensure they are upskilled and ultimately acquire meaningful employment. Utilising the EPWP-programme, 800 job opportunities will be created.
Speaker, 500 houses will also be built using sustainable building technologies, and this will particularly be incorporated at our Transhex Catalytic project in Worcester.
Speaker, we’ve had various challenges at this development, but we’ve gone back to the beneficiaries, apologised for the delay, as an accountable government would do and also provided the way forward as well as the steps taken to ensure the project moves forward. I’d like to also clearly state that the budget for this project has not been withdrawn, nor has this project been downscaled in any way or cancelled.
Speaker, I am particularly excited about what is transpiring in both the Wedge, New Woodlands and Greater Retreat developments. I’m certain that once complete, they’ll make a significant difference in the lives of those that will benefit from them.
Speaker, our citizens can trust us!
Speaker, we are a department who is truly utilising technology optimally and another exciting feature is how the Western Cape Rental Housing Tribunal is now conducting virtual hearings to ensure acceleration of the case load. Further this, those seeking to lodge complaints can now use the very first Tribunal web and mobile app solution, which forms part of the Western Cape Government’s e-Service Portal.
Speaker, I am a firm believer in continuously engaging our various stakeholders, as they play a critical role in ensuring the success of our projects. For this reason, as of the middle April, we’ll be embarking on a Ministerial Outreach Programme, where we will take the budget to each District, to clearly show the Municipalities what their allocations are, should they have projects in their areas.
We’ve already signed a historic partnership with the Garden Route District Municipality, which further strengthens housing initiatives and opportunities for the entire district. This approach ensures that there is synergy and full cooperation between the different spheres of Government, while also removing unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy that at times tend to delay the implementation of projects.
Speaker, we are changing the cooperative governance landscape.
This step is part of our strategic objective to ensure integrated development planning that it socially, financially affordable and sustainable whilst offering a wide range of housing and tenure options.
Speaker, as a Government, we have consistently demonstrated our ability to deliver and perform. It is part of the reason why we’ve once again received additional conditional grant funding to the tune of R 220.8 million from the National Department.
From this funding, R 150 million goes to the Human Settlements Development Grant for housing, while R 70.8 million goes to the Provincial Emergency Housing Grant, to support the victims of the terrible fire in Masiphumelele, which broke out on 17 December 2020. I’m pleased to say that steady progress is being made with resettling the victims into emergency structures. As at yesterday, more than 600 emergency units have been constructed, with 401 being on the site where the fire occurred and all occupied, while 180 families have moved into their emergency units on the sports field. There various statutory processes are also currently underway, and it is expected that these should be concluded by October/November this year. Should there not be any delays or objections, the construction of the permanent and long-term housing solutions, which will consist of sustainable housing technology will commence.
I’ll say with confidence, we are committed to delivering for our people. There is however a real threat to that which we are attempting to achieve and that is the continued illegal land invasions and attempts to illegally occupy our units. My call to all members of this House is to assist us in condemning this type of behaviour, as it only causes further delays by setting projects back for months, and at times years on end.
For the 20/21 financial year, we’ve had to spend over R 355 million on preventing these illegal invasions. Funds that could’ve been better spent.
Members, we’d like you to walk the journey with us, hold us accountable, conduct your oversight, but do not be part of those whose motive is to be a hinderance and disruptor of service delivery.
Let’s instead instil hope in our people.
At this point, I’d like to thank my department’s HOD, Ms Jacqui Samson and the entire senior management team for their unwavering support and commitment to changing the lives of our people. To all the 439 staff in the department, thank you for not losing sight of our vision to ensure residents have access to liveable, accessible, safe, resilient, affordable, multi-opportunity settlements.
To my immediate team in the Ministry, thank you for your guidance, drive, patience and always challenging the status quo to improve the future of our people.
To my family, wife and children – thank you for the immense sacrifice in allowing me to fully serve the people of our province. I trully appreciate your support through this journey.