ANC Gauteng Legislature
Budget speech by Local Government and Housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi

Budget speech by Local Government and Housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi

29 May 2012

Respected members of the legislature, Mayors and MMCs present, honourable guests, contractors and all service providers, officials from the department, ladies and gentlemen. This year the oldest mass democratic movement, the African National Congress, turned 100 years and we have been in celebration since the dawn of the year. The centenary is a major milestone in the history of the liberation struggle in South Africa and the continent.

It allows us to reflect as well as to honour our departed founding fathers such as John Langalibalele Dube, Sefako Makgatho, Zakes Mahabane, Josiah Gumede, Pixley Isaka Seme, AB Xuma, JS Moroka, Albert Mvumi Luthuli and Oliver Reginald Tambo. We are also celebrating the contribution of our leaders who are still with us such as Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki and the sitting President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma.

We are also celebrating the many unsung heroes of our struggle such as the early traditional leaders and peasants who laid their lives to resist colonial conquest. We are also in celebration of the role played by the workers at the turn of the century in the mines, the youth in the 70s, the churches and the broad democratic movement. Mobilised and inspired by the African Native National Congress then, which later became known as the ANC, all peace loving South Africans were united in the quest to create nonracial, nonsexist and democratic nation.

To this day, the ANC remains a disciplined force for the poor and marginalised members of our society. This glorious movement also continued to remain a home for the young and old, faith-based and mass-based organisations, black and white, socialists and capitalists, rural and urban communities, rich and poor, intellectuals, workers, women, students and everyone who is committed to the establishment of a truly free and democratic society.

The ANC is the only political movement that has been able to establish what our president, Jacob Zuma, once referred to as the unity of purpose and action amongst the oppressed. The unity will continue to exist and to sustain our movement in order to further advance our national democratic revolution. President Jacob Zuma further made it clear, during the centenary address in Mangaung earlier this year that the ANC is guided by the interest of the nation.

It is the people’s organisation, a parliament of the people, on Alexandra Centenary. I also wish to note that our movement shares the centenary celebration with Alexandra Township, one of our urban renewal’s priorities. Alexandra is one of the first multicultural settlements to accommodate Africans in Johannesburg in the early 19s and has ever- and has over the years contributed immensely towards the liberation struggle.

I salute the people of Alexandra for working with us as we continue to turn around the mighty township into becoming a shining example of our Urban Regeneration Plan. This occasion also takes place during workers’ month, a critical milestone for all workers in our country across the globe. The participation of workers in the mass democratic movement has played a significant role in advancing the national democratic revolution.

During this month we are also hosting the Govan Mbeki Human Settlements Awards named after one of our most prominent struggle icons this country has ever produced. The awards were in recognition of excellence and distinction in the delivery of human settlement in Gauteng. We congratulate those companies which scooped the prestigious awards and encouraged other emerging contractors to come forward and be counted.

On outcome eight, which is sustainable human settlements and improved quality of life on accelerated delivery of housing opportunities, our strategy to build new townships that are defining the future of human settlement development patterns in Gauteng is gaining momentum. Mixed housing development proved in more ways than one to be the solution to the challenges facing our historically divided society. This programme is one of our key focus areas and has to date yielded 26 mixed housing development across the province.

From the total number of 26 projects, 17 are under planning and nine are under implementation and in various stages of development. I am pleased to announce that we have now concluded Cosmo City, one of our first mixed housing flagship projects in the province. Pennville, Olievenhoutbosch Extension 27 and Alexandra Extension 10 mixed housing projects have also been concluded.

The department managed to house 21 496 families and secured further 15 803 stands for the period April 2011 to March 2012. We have now identified more areas that will benefit from our housing programme as we increase unit in existing project or expand to new Greenfield areas. During 2012/2013 financial year, we plan to service approximately 20 959 stands and build approximately 29 834 new houses. This is what we can be able to deliver given the resources that have been allocated.

In this province we have done a lot of investment within the sector in order to make sure that we have the right skills to deliver at scale. We are ready; faka imali uzobona [put your money where your mouth is]. Speaker, we can now proudly say that Gauteng has dynamic residential areas that are multiracial catering for mixed income citizen and located closer to job opportunities. Residents will continue to have access to amenities like schools, clinics, shopping complexes, crèches and others.

We can now affirm that mixed housing projects are the future housing development in the province. Gradually they are changing the spatial development landscape, improving the quality of life and integrating our communities. On eradication of housing backlog, the affordable rental housing programme is one of the initiatives towards the eradication of housing backlog through the provision of rental housing for low-income earners who cannot be accommodated in the formal rental market.

We are increasing the rate of affordable rental units through social housing institutions, small scale backyard rental programme and the construction of community residential units. The department plans to deliver 2 450 rental units and 2 875 community rental units as part of the Gauteng plan to provide affordable rental accommodation. In addition, the department will work in partnership with stakeholders such as Gauteng Partnership Fund, private sector companies such as Old Mutual, Sanlam, DBSA including municipalities to ensure the achievement of rental accommodation targets, which stand at 19 352 by 2014.

Speaker, in Gauteng we do not just talk but we implement what is in our plans. Let me just briefly inform you about one of the critical flagship projects that fall under this strategy, the Jabulani CBD which is currently underway. The development will consist of 4 199 sectional title residential apartments providing answers to a variety of housing needs, namely; social housing, rental units and GAP housing units.

Government is further contributing towards the much needed delivery of housing in Jabulani CBD by providing housing subsidies via National Department of Human Settlements, social housing regulatory authority and my department.

Already there are 1 211 units that are currently under construction and the overall development is turning out to be a desirable place to live in Soweto, proving sceptics who had doubted its potential wrong. The Jabulani housing plan provides superior quality units when compared to many others in the same range. This has resulted in a high demand for buyers and those seeking rental units.

All units come standard with exceptional finishes. In some ranges, we even provide options such granite kitchen tops, bedroom cupboards, ceramic floor tiles and numerous other quality and modern finishes.

The biggest factor that has contributed to the development’s attractiveness is its position in one of the most exciting development nodes in Soweto. The development is next to one of Soweto’s busiest malls, the Jabulani Mall and the Jabulani SAPS station, and is accessible via a well-developed public transport system that includes trains, taxis and the BRT system.

In addition, a 300-bed hospital is being built separately nearby and the top of the range Jabulani Amphitheatre is also being revamped by the Johannesburg City Council. Furthermore, the modern 420-seater performance arts [venue] known as the Soweto Theatre has been officially opened. There are further plans to build an office complex in this area.

What makes this housing development unique is that it is strategically and ideally located. Additionally, it is of good quality and price, and affordable to many people. Once this development is complete, Jabulani will become the jewel of Soweto. Its well-defined social and physical infrastructure sets it aside from its peers. Easy access to public transport makes it more desirable.

These reasons have conspired to make Jabulani an area of high rental demand, where investment growth prospects are looking good. I would therefore urge members and the public in general to take interest in the project as it will be used a catalyst for other projects to be undertaken in the province. EGauteng kuyasheshwa. [We are not slow in Gauteng]

Madam Speaker, with all the rental projects that we are developing, it is important that our people must take note that we cannot succeed with these magnificent two to four-story family units if people are not paying. Please, goods things are paid for. Bantu bakuthi, eli lizwe lelethu ngoku, nezi zindlu zezethu ngoku. Masibhataleni madoda. [This is our country, people, and the houses as well, are ours now, so let us pay up.

The eradication of informal settlements has been a major challenge for the department. In as far as finding available and suitable land for relocation purposes, the high cost of well-located land in relation to urban activities; the growing number of settlements as other settlements are being eradicated and reinvasions of land and densification once a settlement is targeted for formalisation as well as availability of resources in order to meet targets.

I will jump the other paragraph to save time, Madam Speaker. The intervention of eradication of identified informal settlements will forever be one of the department’s main focus areas. In the past financial year, a total of 16 266 houses were built in situ as part of our plan to provide formal housing in most of our informal settlements. This is one of our biggest achievements. We are demonstrating that the upgrading and eradication process is indeed in full swing.

Speaker and fellow members, illegal invasion and illegal occupation of RDP houses as well as hijacking of inner city buildings should be condemned at all times. We cannot allow such practices to become a norm in our country. We must deal with such tendencies in a more vigorous way. It is important therefore that there must be a process of reviewing various pieces of legislation in order to ensure that they are not abused by those unscrupulous individuals who are determined to create anarchy.

Our law-enforcement agencies must also assist us in dealing with people who are breaking the law. There should be no law or any clause that protect or encourage land or RDP or city buildings to be hijacked. Soon, if we do not act as lawmakers, our own houses will be invaded while we are on holiday and after 48 hours our courts may protect those invaders, you see.

One wonders what would be the attitude of the judges, should such invaders decide to invade their houses while they are also away on holiday? Remember that invaders sometimes do overpower even our security guards.

On land acquisition, the department embarked on a more effective and efficient land utilisation plan which is resulting in the acquisition of public land for human settlement development. During this financial year the department is planning to spend approximately R150 million towards acquisition of several suitable properties which are well located for low-income and affordable housing.

Land has been acquired and earmarked for acquisition in the following areas: Sebokeng, Tarlton, Lakeside, Meyerton, Nooitgedacht, Olievenhoutbosch, Princess, Zandspruit, Sebokeng etcetera.

In order to mitigate illegal invasions and prevent illegal occupation of vacant land, the department will inspect 300 properties for safeguarding.

On the Urban Renewal Programme; this current financial year we are still considering urban renewal nodes to remain key components for the province to address socioeconomic challenges. The areas where this programme is applicable were carefully and cautiously selected, owing to their history of neglect and the nonexistence of infrastructure.

Our Urban Renewal Programme is ongoing in Alexandra, Evaton, Winterveld, and Bekkersdal and recently, Tembisa has also been included on the list. The main objectives for the Urban Renewal Programme are to rehabilitate the dysfunctional areas through economic, social and human development as well as to upgrade living conditions.

On Alexandra Urban Renewal; in the last financial year we reported that we are putting together the Alexandra Urban Framework and the implementation framework. We have consequently started with the consultation regarding the draft master plan on the redevelopment of the old Alexandra. This process is expected to be concluded in the 2012/2013 financial year.

For the new developments, the Linbro Park Design Framework has been approved by the City of Johannesburg. This process gives us a leeway for the land acquisition process of properties in Linbro Park for the further development and extension of Alexandra.

Furthermore, we are undertaking a detailed land audit of old Alexandra which came about because of the dissatisfaction of the Alexandra property owners with the resolution of their restitution claims. Therefore the land audit is necessary in an effort to better understand the Alexandra land history from 1912 until today, with the current settlement situation.

Phase 1 of the project is complete and we are moving to Phase 2. This phase involves the investigation of 58 500 dwellers and 11 000 dwellings have been completed. The housing demand in Alexandra is 45 000, of which 15 516 has been delivered or is still under construction; this leaves 29 484 units to be delivered.

The hostel redevelopment process is also progressing well, with construction of M2 Hostel Nobuhle Phase 2, 82 units underway. The planning and design process for M1 Madala, 1 400 units; and Helen Joseph Hostel precinct, 150 units, has started. We have also begun with the construction of Bohlabela Extension project at Far East Bank with 232 units aimed at addressing the middle earners or GAP market who do not qualify for RDPs or mortgage bonds for a house.

Most importantly, in an effort to address the backlog, Alexandra Renewal Project is also in the process of consolidating the 1996/1997 beneficiary list to understand how these beneficiaries can be considered in the new developments. This will complement the block-by-block approach on the allocation of houses.

On Tembisa Renewal Project; subject to the approval of the Tembisa master plan, we have been able to deliver 1 842 houses and serviced 199 stands to date. In order to ensure we have a comprehensive plan that is properly coordinated, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality has secured funding from the Neighbourhood Development Grant. The grant will assist to develop comprehensive business plans and an Urban Development Framework.

I will jump other paragraphs Madam Speaker to run with times.

WINTERVELD

As an indication of willingness to further advance development for our people and communities, it is with pleasure to announce that from the 3 034 stands services last year in Winterveld, we intend to add 1 400 more in this financial year and construct 1 020 new houses.

BEKKERSDAL URBAN RENEWAL

We are in the process of upgrading current infrastructure such as repair of roads, construction of sidewalks, storm water drainage. Most of our roads construction projects are already completed.

Madam Speaker, afford me an opportunity to mention that projects such as upgrading of Bekkersdal Police Station, Simunye Extension 2, Bulk Services and electrification were completed and handed over to their respective departments and the local municipality.

I will jump the other paragraphs in the interest of time, Madam Speaker.

EVATON RENEWAL PROJECT

We are currently rolling out phase 2 of the housing project in Evaton with an anticipated target of at least 150 units of mainly new dwellings to replace dilapidated houses as part of the renewal programme. Professional input on other housing projects such as Evaton Estates and Extension 3, which will yield social housing, is being finalised. In this financial year we will also be constructing major roads in this area.

This will involve upgrading of road surfaces to tarmac and installation of auxiliary facilities on seven roads. In order to address low capacity and potential health risks an Evaton-wide bulk sewer upgrading project is scheduled to be rolled-out soon. This will ensure that existing and planned developments are covered in terms of sewer rectification [reticulation].

On accreditation we are saying something, but I will jump that part in the interest of time.

THE GAP MARKET:

As we reported before, we are finalising a comprehensive strategy aimed at addressing the gap market. This is a sector made up of people who fall outside the government subsidy bracket but at the same time unable to afford access to the mortgage products available from the commercial banks.

Madam Speaker, in this regard I am referring to the people who earn between R3 501 to R15 000. This group consist largely of our public servants, people working in the rental [retail] sector and other areas. There is no excuse now for the people to illegally buy RDP houses as they will be assisted themselves.

The gap market will be addressed through the implementation of the Finance-Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP). MINMEC has already approved the plan. We are waiting for the National Department of Human Settlement to finalise the guidelines for this programme.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORT:

On Local Government Support Madam Speaker, this outcome has an arresting theme, primarily focused on building "a responsive accountable, effective and efficient local government". We continue to note that there are several areas where we still need to intensify our efforts to change the lives of our people for the better.

Madam Speaker I will jump the other part in the interest of time.

OPERATION CLEAN AUDIT:

The department continues to support municipalities to achieve clean audits by 2014. Working with the Gauteng Treasury, the Auditor-General and several other stakeholders, several initiatives have been implemented to achieve this goal. To date we are pleased to announce that of the 12 municipalities that we have in Gauteng, eight of them received unqualified audit opinion. We will continue to support those which are lagging behind to ensure that we meet our 2014 target.

DEBTORS MANAGEMENT AND REVENUE ENHANCEMENT:

[Interjection]

SPEAKER: You have got three minutes MEC. So, you can decide which part you jump.

MEC MMEMEZI: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I will jump the rest of the paragraphs. Members will go through the points on their own, noting the minutes that Madam Speaker you are suggesting to me.

I will go to the budget allocation, Madam Speaker. The overall- The budget allocation for my department is as follows:

  • Total budget - R4 737 125 billion
  • Capital budget allocation - R4 003 776 billion (the Human Settlements Grant from the Department of Human Settlement)
  • Administration budget - R67 039 million from Gauteng Provincial earmarked allocation.

Madam Speaker and Honourable Members it is our deep-seated conviction that this government will be betraying the aspirations and the struggle of the 1955 generation if deracialisation of human settlements remains unchanged.

It is encouraging to note that government is exploring ways and means of ensuring that people from different racial groups with varying income begin to appreciate the value of sharing the same settlement space. It is therefore our expressed intention to direct our energies to building an integrated non-racial society.

This ANC-led government remains committed and focused, and will forge ahead with its objectives of accelerating the delivery of quality houses. In conclusion Madam Speaker, let me thank men and women in the department who under the stewardship of the Head of Department Mr Mongezi Mnyani have done a meticulous job under difficult and challenging circumstances.

This also goes for wise guidance that the department enjoyed from the Members of the Portfolio Committee led by an ever-vigilant Comrade Errol Magerman.

Our appreciation also goes to all the mayors, MMCs and officials responsible for housing and infrastructure in various local authorities. It is through Human Settlement and Local Government team that we have been able to achieve the goals we set ourselves to attain.

May I also thank all our partners, stakeholders, service providers and ordinary individuals for their continued support?

Madam Speaker, thank you very much. [Applause]