National Council of Provinces - 30 May 2008

FRIDAY, 30 MAY 2008 __


The Council met at 09:05.

The Acting Chairperson took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.

                         APPROPRIATION BILL

                           (Policy debate)

Vote No 26 - Housing:

The MINISTER OF HOUSING: Thank you very much, Acting Chairperson. Acting Chairperson, yesterday a friend of mine told me a story that he had heard from Bishop Tutu and I want to use it as a preface to my input today. He says:

Bishop Tutu at some point had become so exacerbated and frustrated with
the media and how the media was not grasping some of the problems and
how they would always have a headline that has absolutely nothing to do
with the story.

He said:

You know, can you imagine me - this was at the height of the struggle
and P W Botha in a boat – an imaginary scene. I’m sitting there with him
trying to explain why it was necessary that he should understand that he
had to change. He refused. The wind then blew his hat into the sea. I
dive into the sea to retrieve his hat so that I could put it back on his
head. The media was watching this. Do you think the media was going to
say there was an act of great humanity by a man who had suffered long at
the hands of the other man, who retrieved the hat to give him back his
dignity? No, they won’t say that! The headline would have been: “Tutu
kan nie swem nie.” [Tutu does not know how to swim.] [Laughter.]

So far removed from the gravity of what is happening. He is very lucky that he is talking about a period far removed from now. Today they would be saying: “A representative of corrupt people cannot swim.” That is now the current terminology.

Yesterday, I was absolutely, absolutely astounded. The House knows that we have been grappling with an Auditor-General’s report. The Auditor-General audited the housing subsidies from 1994 to 2003 - a period before my time in my department. They came to the conclusion that some civil servants, not Housing civil servants, had fraudulently got housing grants. Perhaps our system was not tight enough to make sure that this did not happen. We took the services of the Special Investigating Unit and completed them. Now, very proudly, I can go to the NA and say: We have completed this, and this is what we found. This is the level of corruption in the civil service that we have wiped out and we are very proud of ourselves.

The headline in The Star, on page three, says: “Corrupt Housing Department begs for more money.” Now, I am telling you that in the environment that we are in now, where people out there are very frustrated and agitated, we have this extent of extreme irresponsibility in the media. My department is not corrupt. We do not issue subsidies; we monitor them. [Interjections.]

But they should understand that there is a responsibility on all of us to acquaint ourselves with what we are dealing with. How do we go about, in an inflamed situation, and say that the department is corrupt? For Christ’s sake, my department is not corrupt. [Interjections.] Thank you very much. I had to start there because I had to give vent to my frustration.

Hon members of the House and Chairperson, if you will still allow me, this being our last Budget Vote to this House, I really wish it had happened under a better environment. For me and the department, a better environment would have been a fitting end to four years of hard work with tangible results that I will detail, but there is no escape in this environment. It hangs above all of us. We can only hope that it blows over so that normality can once again return to our country to ensure that our vision of accelerated delivery is attained.

Cabinet met on Wednesday and concluded that government would continue the provision of services in line with the “Business Unusual” theme as outlined by the President. Government accepts that the pace of delivery needs to be accelerated and therefore urges all communities to reject any agitation using genuine grievances to reduce this country to lawlessness, thereby dashing the hopes of millions of our citizens.

During the debate of my budget in the NA this past week, I was requested by a representative of the IFP to look into the matter of hostel dwellers and the conditions in which they line. In this House, on several occasions, the hon Mzizi has raised with me concerns about the conditions of hostels. Again, I would like to report what I said to the IFP on Wednesday. We are concerned about the conditions of poverty of our people in informal settlements. We are concerned about the conditions of poverty amongst hostel dwellers. We would like all political parties represented here today and all stakeholders to help us carry this message through. We care very deeply about the conditions of poverty of our people and we continue to do everything we can with the resources that we have available to us to deal with the matter. I would also like to convey a message that we also care for people who live and work in our country. We would like them to live in conditions of safety and express regret about what happened over the past fortnight.

Again, I have to repeat what I said in the NA on Wednesday. When I took over as the Minister of Housing in 2004, government had produced 1,6 million houses - an achievement we were all extremely proud of. Today, four years later, we have produced 2,6 million houses. This means that in a period of four years, we have provided one million houses to our people. We finally managed to attain, in four years, a target that had seemed so elusive in the first five years. In plain language, one million houses translate into providing houses. If you take into account a family of not less than five people, then we have produced housing for more five million people in four years. This is an achievement we are extremely proud of in the Department of Housing.

Between 1994 and today, we have provided 2,6 million houses. Again, if you use the figure of an average of five people in a family, it means that this government has produced shelter for people in excess of 13 million free of charge. No country has done this anywhere in the world. Perhaps when we reach Mars, we might find that some government there has done it. In this world, no one has. Our commitment extends to covering yet another 2,1 million houses. It is important to note right from the outset that throughout the past four years, the department’s expenditure patterns have improved considerably. Again, we are very proud of this. This year, we have recorded an expenditure rate of 96% of our budget. It would have been good to stand here, I would have really loved to do this, and claim that we had an expenditure rate of 100%, but unfortunately, we had a delivery glitch in the Eastern Cape and we are dealing with it.   Since 1994, our housing budget has increased substantially from R4,8 billion to R9 billion, representing an average growth of 23% per annum. The housing budget is expected to grow from R9 billion last year to R15 billion in 2010 - an average of 19,4% per annum. I would like to inform this House that, excluding provincial adjustments and roll-overs, we had R8,3 billion allocated to provinces in the previous year. Provinces have used R8,2 billion of this in actual housing delivery - excellent work, I would say. This represents 98% spending of allocations by the national department during the year. As I said, unfortunately there were glitches and therefore the total spent by provinces is 94%.

In the year 2007-08, provinces performed as follows, and I will give details: The Eastern Cape was allocated R509 million and spent R396 million, delivering 12 000 housing units which are complete or in the process of completion. We had to take some money from them. I will indicate this later. The Free State was allocated R553 million. They expended R474 million and delivered 12 480 houses. Gauteng was allocated R2,5 billion. They spent R2,6 billion and delivered 90 000 houses – a record for Gauteng province. KwaZulu-Natal was allocated R1,3 billion. They spent R1,3 billion and delivered 34 400 housing units. Limpopo province received R651 million. They spent R632 million and delivered 18 970 units. Mpumalanga received R676 million. They spent R652 million and delivered 16 569 housing units. The Northern Cape received R231 million. They spent R231 million and delivered 8 686 units. Congratulations! The North West province received R875 million. They spent R785 million and delivered 19 000 houses. The Western Cape received R1,1 billion. They spent R1,1 billion and delivered 34 000 units.

You can see that the figures have improved so significantly that, in fact, I had hoped they would be at the rate of 100% expenditure right across.

Chairperson, I am very pleased to inform you that the total amount of the conditional grant of R9,852 billion for the 2008-09 financial year will therefore be allocated as follows: The largest amount goes to Gauteng - not because this is where the unrest is, but because of statistics that we are all generally in agreement with. This accounts for R2,579 billion. So, 26,2% of our budget will be going to Gauteng. We would like to think that they will use 100% of this. They are followed by KwaZulu-Natal - 16% of our budget. They receive R1,57 billion. They are followed by the Eastern Cape - 12% of our budget. They have been given R1,25 billion. The Western Cape has been allocated R1,2 billion - 12% of our budget. The North West Province has been given R896,102 million. Limpopo has been given R783,247 million, which is 7,8% of the budget. Mpumalanga has been allocated R629,210 million, which is 6% of the budget. The Northern Cape has been given R161 million, which is 1,6% of the budget.

We are now at a point where we all agree that we are going to invite big contractors back to provide housing units for the lower-income target group. Contractors will be expected to tender for a minimum of 2000 units per project. My MECs and I will continue to monitor the delivery performance so that we can institute corrective steps in situations that could result in underperformance. These measures seek to ensure that we can protect the resource envelope allocated to housing in view of the daunting challenge as depicted by the stubborn backlog that confronts us.

Although the housing grant allocation has been increased over the 2008 MTEF period, the increase does not fulfil our needs, and we have complained about this over and over again. In an effort to ensure that provinces do not underspend, I am happy to inform this House that in future, if provinces are likely to underspend their predetermined unspent funds received from the Integrated Housing and Human Settlement Development Grant, the receipt of further funds for that year will be stopped in terms of the Division of Revenue Act, Act 2 of 2007 and be allocated to performing provinces in terms of the same Act.

We have implemented this approach in the Eastern Cape and in the Free State, whose rates of expenditure reflected underspending. As a result, R500 million was allocated away from the Eastern Cape to Gauteng and R100 million was taken away from the Free State and given to the Northern Cape. We hope that this trend will stop. It is our intention, however, to reimburse provinces that relinquished their funds at a stage when planning, capacity and delivery capabilities improve to such an extent that normal delivery can take place.

My department has also put in place a number of processes to engender closer interaction with provinces. These include project implementation support and monitoring activities. During February 2008, senior officials from my department visited all nine provinces to determine the provinces’ readiness to deliver. Importantly, a branch specialising in rendering assistance to provinces that experience difficulty is now in place and my department now provides support to assist provinces to compile their five multiyear development plans.

It is expected that with improvement in the planning service being delivered to provinces, they will be able to improve. In addition, support to provinces to unblock slow-moving projects will be pursued together with the programme to address emergency situations through the once-off funding that we have requested through budget processes.

In order to ensure that delivery of housing is facilitated, the establishment of the Housing Development Agency, HDA, is being put in place. I am glad that I am here today to plead with the House to please assist us to fast-track the HDA. We hope that this will address all our problems and therefore ensure that we can grapple with the obstinate obstacles that are still in our way. Through the agency, we will, inter alia, be able to access suitable land for housing development and consolidate and rationalise functions and institutional arrangements required for housing development.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank, in advance, members of the Select Committee on Public Services because I know they will fast-track the HDA. [Laughter.] I have complete faith in them and I know they understand our situation.

The building sector experiences substantial price hikes in the cost of conventional building materials. We are all convinced that if not addressed appropriately, this will pose a serious threat to the sustainability of government’s intention to deal with the housing challenge. In order to address this, my department undertakes investigations in respect of the use of alternative building technologies which will meet all the requirements and standards for quality, norms and all that we want in our housing. The interventions will start with appropriate measures to popularise and destigmatise some of the technologies which have now been tested and are being implemented at scale in other countries.

It is of critical importance that alternative technologies are bondable by the banking sector to ensure an effective secondary market. Amalgamated Banks of South Africa, Absa, in conjunction with the National Home Builders Registration Council, NHBRC, held a national Absa and NHBRC Housing Technology Innovation Hub competition in 2006, where various developers built innovative housing designs in both the affordable and subsidy housing market. In view of the success of the previous competition and the overwhelming number of requests by developers to be granted the opportunity to showcase their innovative products, Absa and the NHBRC, together with the Department of Public Enterprises, agreed to sponsor, together with my department, a second innovation hub competition which will be based in the Western Cape. The competition will be conducted over 30 to 35 serviced sites and will include Breaking New Ground, BNG, subsidy and affordable housing. The competition will be expanded to include sustainable energy- saving systems to satisfy end users, as well as to contribute towards energy saving in this trying time.

My department is currently investigating the possibility of government’s intervention to ensure that beneficiaries of subsidised houses have insurance cover for their houses against natural disasters. This excludes any covers currently falling under the warranty cover underwritten by NHBRC. This may include the possibility of providing a phased assistance programme in which government subsidises part of insurance cover installments for a defined period, whereafter beneficiaries will sustain the cover.

Last year I announced that we would have a national councillor training programme. We have done this. I am happy to announce that the programme centres on legislative requirements and ensures that our councillors are given the necessary information to assist us with effective service delivery. More than 700 councilors have since been trained to date.

My department has successfully registered the first Housing Bachelors degree with the SA Qualifications Authority. This qualification is the first step in professionalising the housing sector. It is intended for persons who are currently employed within the Housing department at national, provincial and local levels, but does not exclude members of the portfolio committee. I therefore invite the chairperson to consider this degree. Several universities are interested in offering this degree from next year and many have started the necessary engagements with the Department of Education to facilitate this process.

Since our housing programme is often undermined by unregulated mushrooming of informal settlements and shack farming which counteract the progress that was made, appropriate legislation is to be introduced at provincial level to improve our ability to regulate the growth of informal settlements. This will be finalised by December 2008. By the end of this year, we will try to conclude measures we have put in place to assist rural villages and communities to access building materials through a possible subsidy voucher system to support them as they build their own houses. This will also improve the effectiveness of our People’s Housing Process housing programme.

We are on track with our objectives. We realize that the road is fraught with difficulties and challenges. However, we must acknowledge that the last 4 years saw a marked improvement in housing developments in integrated human settlements. Our approach is correct and contributes to the improvement of the living conditions of our beneficiaries. As challenges remain, we count on people in this House to assist us to send the message that we care very deeply for the poor. We are committed to ensuring that they have access to housing. We have provided housing for people in excess of 13 million. We continue to do our best. For those still out there waiting for a house, we depend on this House to spread the message that their turn will come. We are working on this on a constant basis. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mr G R KRUMBOCK: Deputy Chairperson, in the last years, I have acknowledged government’s good intentions in supporting its ambitious housing targets with the required funding, notwithstanding the fact that, as the Minister herself acknowledged on Wednesday, funding for housing delivery is grossly inadequate in the light of our current backlog.

Circumstances are going to get more difficult in the short to medium term. After well-above inflationary increases and budget allocations in previous years, this year’s budget increase is a more modest 17,7%. The Minister is quite correct to draw our attention to the fact that since building costs have escalated even higher than inflation, the budget increase is largely illusionary. Inevitably, these will exacerbate what the Minister describes as our ever-increasing backlog. Tough times lie ahead, housing included.

It seems common cause that proper planning is a prerequisite if we are to meet these formidable challenges, and that presupposes that we know exactly what the numbers are. So it is frustrating that although we are told that 2,4 million houses have been built, we still have blocked or incomplete projects worth R2,4 billion in 2006 terms. How many of the 2,4 million houses are incomplete or, in fact, mainly just subsidies paid out?

On Wednesday, Minister, you suggested that my colleague in the National Assembly, Butch Steyn, should count the 2,4 million houses if he wanted to establish the true figure. Unfortunately, the hon Steyn and I are busy next week and so will not be able to take up your invitation. With respect though, Minister, your department is spending R10,6 billion of public money this year, and it should not be beyond the department’s ability to disclose exactly how many houses have been built.

The Breaking New Ground project was an innovative idea to create sustainable human settlements that stirred hope across all party lines. Certainly, in my province, KwaZulu-Natal, some progress has been made, but has even one of these projects been completed? Why are the provincial housing departments so disconnected from these nine pilot projects to the extent that they were unable to report on the status of any as late as last week?

Perhaps it is another alarming chapter in the litany of good intentions not being matched by capacity or underperformance. Certainly, this seems to be the case with Thubelisha homes. In the 2007-08 financial year, Thubelisha handed over just 2 889 houses out of the 16 290 it had budgeted to hand over, and other key performance indicators exhibit similar disappointing statistics.

You would have noticed from their balance sheet, Minister, that Thubelisha posted a loss of close to R68 million, which was a R117 million less than the budgeted surplus of R49,5 million, and surprisingly the balance sheet reveals that the liabilities exceed the assets by over R20 million, which means they are insolvent. Surely something is wrong.

The housing waiting lists must be one of the most emotive issues fuelling anger in South Africa. It is unconscionable that, by their own admission, the Gauteng housing department confirmed last week that housing lists are inaccurate and rot with procedural gaps, with thousands of housing applications unprocessed and stacked in offices. Effectively this means that thousands of applicants are in exactly the same position as those who never applied at all. We can, and must, do better than this.

Yesterday the hon Mack, in an impromptu and unscripted aside to his speech, brought a breath of fresh air into this House. He candidly and openly admitted that there is, indeed, a brain drain of black and white alike afflicting our country. There are people we can least afford to lose - educated, skilled, big taxpayers - the kind of people we need to fund future housing budgets so that we can eliminate the housing backlog. The exodus is caused by political uncertainty – if that is not too coy a term - power failures and especially what that symbolises and, of course, crime.

It is not just exceptionally violent crime amounting to savagery or the fact that our crime rate is eight times the international standard amounting to slaughter that drives irreplaceable people away, but also the pervasive view that when crime relates to fraud in government departments, nothing more than a slap on the wrist will occur and crime will indeed pay.

So, perhaps the most depressing aspect of the civil servants who are to be prosecuted for fraudulently acquiring Reconstruction and Development Programme houses is not that there are 31 259 potentially irregular housing subsidy transactions or 3 800 individual civil servants facing prosecutions with investigations into their cases having been finalised; no, the most depressing aspect is that having defrauded the poor out of their homes, individuals already found guilty will be allowed to keep their houses provided they now pay the value of the house over five years, a nominal fine. How can this possibly deter other would-be fraudsters or placate deserving applicants who must now stomach seeing guilty individuals live in homes that were intended for them?

Minister, I wish you success in your roll-out programme. You have many difficult challenges and tight constraints to overcome. The DA and the whole of South Africa desperately want you to succeed. Good luck, you’re going to need it. Thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]

The ACTING CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Ms P M Hollander): That was a breath of fresh air from hon Krumbock and I thank him. I now call upon the hon R J Tau, Chairperson of the Select Committee on Public Services.

Mr R J TAU: Thank you very much, hon Chair. I suspect that the hon members are really taken by surprise, Chair, but of course, we will have to continue raising certain things. And, of course, I am taking the invitation from the Minister to register for that degree. I will do so, and report back.

Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon MEC Dyantyi, hon members, officials, comrades, consistent with our strategic objective of building a united, nonracial, nonsexist and democratic South Africa, the African National Congress has ensured that the people of South Africa are well settled in an integrated way which, in the main, recognises the diversity of our society. Chairperson, this approach has been our resolve since 1956. Not only did our forefathers resolve to build a united South Africa, but, in the main they seek to negate the deep-rooted ideological posturing of Verwoerd’s government which conceptualised nation-building in separatist, racist and gender-discriminatory principles. It is these principles that define the upbringing of some of the hon members - I mean I cannot deny that fact – and these principles define the upbringing of some of the hon members sitting in this House. And I must say hon Chair, seeing that we are still grappling with undoing what their forefathers did, in terms of building one nation, one would have expected, of course, after 14 years in our democracy that the hon members would have taken the opportunity to apologise for the ugly deeds of their grandfather, H F Verwoerd.

Hon Chair, I think it is only proper that this House should pronounce itself in congratulating the residents of Joe Slovo settlement, who recently resolved to voluntarily move to Delft in order to make way for the development and progress with regard to the N2 Gateway Pilot Project. I raise this, Chair, because I remember that not so long ago, the DA relentlessly with its opportunistic social movements, and the media in particular … [Interjections.] … Yes, of course, the MEC is here … with its opportunistic social movements, in the media in particular, which in the main are its extension of the organisation, tried to divide our people through lies, along racial lines, saying that our people are being removed forcefully and not being given an opportunity, and instead, being put at the periphery of the economy. It is these kind of acts that demonstrate that some of the hon members in this House, and the DA in particular, are still hell-bound in perpetuating what their grandfather, Verwoerd, taught them. Well, you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. [Interjections.]

Chair and hon Minister, it is our belief, once more, as the select committee, that this House must also, notwithstanding the challenges that the department is faced with, in terms of the provision of housing, rise to sing the praise of the New Rest Housing Project. Here we have a group of women who have recognised the enslaving ideological stance of Verwoerd, which defined women as recipients of goods and services as produced by men. These are women who stood up and recognised the platform created by our government to position women in the construction sector. For those who do not know, these women in actual fact participated to build a unit of hundred houses in a record time of about 10 days; which is something that we need to pronounce as this House and say, “Halala, makhosikazi, halala!”. [Hail the women!]

Hon MEMBERS: Halala! [Hail!]

Mr R J TAU: Chair, we are in line with that. As a select committee, we have recognised the kind of progress that the department has made in relation to assisting, developing and registering women in construction. And in that as well, we once more say, “Halala” to the department and to women.

Chair, we want to raise the issue that some time last year, we were briefed by the department to say that there is an agreement at a national level, especially with Salga, to place a moratorium wherein all the municipalities in the province had a buy-in to place a moratorium on state land or municipal land for purposes of re-ensuring or making land available for human settlement. And I think it is an issue that this House once more wants to pronounce and say: If it has not happened to those municipalities that are not doing it, please do so. This is a plea from the NCOP because there is a problem of land for purposes of human settlement.

Chair, we are quite proud that the department has once more, in actual fact, pronounced itself in implementing the Polokwane Resolution by ensuring that there is a programme now put in place to put up policy or to develop policy that would respond to the provision of houses for the veterans of the struggle. We hope, of course, with regard to the veterans of the struggle, that when a special dispensation is then created for them, they will not be accused of not having been in this country whilst this country was under turmoil. They would not be treated as if they were foreign nationals because of the time they spent outside this country struggling for the democracy that we have today.

Hon Chair, we have noted an increase in the national housing budget. No, before I come to that, hon Minister, here is a very interesting thing: You know sometimes grandmothers can relate stories. When we discuss this issue of xenophobia and what is happening and people being attacked, there is this assumption that they are getting preference of housing and so forth, not being South Africans.

She related a story to me, which is something that happened to me when I was still young. Having grown up under those difficult conditions at home, my uncle apparently got a job somewhere in Gauteng; and having got a job in Gauteng, coming home, looking at his son, he said: The first thing that I am going to do is to liberate this boy from these conditions that he finds himself in. To make him feel like a young person, I am going to buy him a bicycle.

But Papi being Papi, after two months of riding this bicycle and people being sure that I have got a bicycle, and not having pocket money to buy lunch at school, I decided to sell my bicycle. And I sold the bicycle and with the proceeds I was then able to buy myself sweets and all these other things until the money was depleted.

The person who bought the bicycle from me was very creative. He used the bicycle, and with the money that he was given to carry, he then bought peanuts; and started baking peanuts and used the bicycle to sell and deliver peanuts. Later on, he became so financially sustainable that I became jealous of the progress that he has made, by using this bicycle to make an income, for having recognised the bicycle as an instrument of wealth, as an instrument of economic development. And as a result, in actual fact, not only did I steal the bicycle … [Laughter] … I physically dealt with him in order to get my bicycle back. So, … [Interjections.] … why am I raising this thing, hon members and hon Minister? I am doing so because it is precisely because of the very same situation that we find our country to be in today where, after oppression, after disenfranchisement, after being so much on the periphery of our economy or not even being there, providing our people with housing – a very key instrument of economic development – instead what they do is that they then sell these houses to foreign nationals. These foreign nationals understand the economic power of this asset and then change it into a tuck shop; they then make money out of it. And as a result, when they realise that, “Bliksem, I missed the opportunity.” … [Laughter.] … they want their houses back; and in that way, they then accuse the Department of Housing of providing houses to the foreign nationals and for not looking after them.

These are real stories that are happening in our constituencies. These are engagements and responses that we experience on a daily basis in our constituencies. And of course, hon Minister, we are taking it; we are doing our best; we are talking to the people out there in our constituencies during the constituency period. I think it is important that we intensify this struggle of educating our people in relation to the economic tool that they have and how best they can use it.

We have noted an increase in the national housing budget which gives effect to the Polokwane Resolutions, especially on accelerating the development of sustainable human settlements with intensified efforts as a matter of urgent priority. The increase in the budget allocation will enable the department, of course, to increase the rate of housing delivery through research, amendments to the legislative framework, including the housing code of 2000. It is envisaged that the budget increase will assist the department to formulate a single and efficient housing market. This is anticipated to promote the creation of human settlements in a sustainable, co-ordinated and integrated manner and not in line with what Verwoerd wanted.

We, however, note the challenges that the department is faced with due to the insufficient financial resources to effectively implement the tenets of the Breaking New Ground housing Strategy. The objectives and measures of this programme include the implementation of the contract to improve collective capacities, create partnerships and improve consumer education which, I think, in part, will also relate to that.

The lack of transparency, of course, and co-ordination emanates from the lack of guidelines within the BNG housing strategy to promote effective co- operation. Furthermore, lack of co-ordination and transparency in housing delivery initiatives hampers the provision of development support to provincial and local departments of housing. Perhaps, this can also have some form of a relationship with what the Auditor-General has said about the capacity of the municipalities, or the capacity of the provinces to increase that understanding at a local level. This should also include the officials of the departments.

In terms of transfers and subsidies, as indicated previously, the integrated housing and human settlement conditional grant is allocated R9,8 billion, while the transfers to housing institutions amount to R227,7 million. This is said to increase over the medium term to reach R346 million. And, of course, the increase makes provision for establishing the Social Housing Regulatory Authority with the aim to provide support to social housing institutions in order to manage affordable rental housing.

We must, in actual fact, say, hon Minister, that we as a select committee are committed to ensuring that these two pieces of legislation, because of their strategic nature and because of the issues that they want to address, find immediate attention.

I must state that, hon Minister, through you, Chair, out of the priority projects that have been identified … Once more, in the best interest of my province, I cannot see Lerato Mpaka being mentioned here. I must have missed it somewhere in the budget speech, but in the response the Minister might shed some light.

I must state, hon Minister, through you, Chair, of course, on the issue of Lerato Mpaka, that we have further noted that among the department’s priorities, the department seeks to introduce housing cover for military veterans of the struggle and, as I said, I hope they will not be accused by the DA that they are also foreign nationals due to the time they spent in exile fighting for our struggle.

Chair, these are several issues, hon members, that I am trying to cover. Chair, in supporting the Budget Vote, the committee wishes to express its appreciation, of course, on the work the department is doing amidst all the difficulties. We have noted that yours are enormous, especially with the recent developments in our country and the implications or the impact it has on the image of the country outside.

And to you, hon Minister, with the two seconds left, we say, as a committee: Amandla! To your officials, from us, we say: “Soldier on. We are with you. Thank you, very much. [Applause.]

Mr M A MZIZI: Chairperson …

… Ngqongqoshe noNgqongqoshe wesifundazwe, ngithi unwele olude. [… hon Minister and the provincial Minister, I greet you all.]

The aim of the department is to determine, finance, promote, co-ordinate, communicate and monitor the implementation of the policy of housing and human settlement.

The IFP is concerned about the backlog in housing delivery, since there are people who applied for houses as far back as 1996 and 1997, just to mention a few, and up until today they have not yet been allocated houses. This is now coupled with the recent xenophobic violence, because some of the issues raised by our nationals are that foreign nationals are the ones getting the first priority of getting houses. Whether this is true or false remains to be investigated.

The issue of housing delivery is not about foreigners. It is a phenomenal problem which is facing us and that is why we need to step-up our procedure in criteria when allocating houses to those who qualify to get houses.

However, one of the department’s aims is to subsidise all South Africans who qualify for housing subsidies in accordance with their different levels of finance. These issues need to be ironed out. I want to draw the Minister’s attention to some areas where it is prevalent. In Kayamandi in Stellenbosch, when people are applying for a subsidy, they are turned down on the basis that a person does not have an Unemployment Insurance Fund card. This raises a concern as to where people must get the UIF card from if he or she was not working or doing piece jobs?

The department also needs to look into the issues of people occupying low- cost houses, whilst the rightful owner who is holding a title deed for the same house does not live in the house. I don’t know whether I should say this is a double allocation of houses or is due to the incompetence of the department’s officials or a deliberate awarding of houses to wrong tenants, because the system should be able to pick up a mistake as soon as you punch in the details of the same house.

With the budget allocated I hope for the speedy delivery of housing, reducing the backlog. I also look forward to seeing the implementation of the Housing Development Agency Bill once it becomes law and how it will fast-track the delivery of the housing backlog. If I may engage myself …

… ngiyathokoza ngoba nangu noNgqongqoshe wesifundazwe ukhona. Ngqongqoshe angazi noma indaba yaseKhayamnandi isifinyelele kuwena. Ngike ngaya nakwiziphathimandla zalapha kumasipala, kodwa bafike banginika izicelo ezenqatshwa zeziqashi ngoba zingenayo i-UIF.

Ngase ngibabuza ukuthi bakuthathaphi lokhu ngoba kwayona iThubelihle lena iqoqe abantu laphaya yancome ukuthi abanye mabangazitholi izindlu kanti abanye mabangazitholi kanjalo. Angikholwa ukuthi uhlelo olusebenzayo lolo. Ngqongqoshe, indaba ukuthi nje angikezi kuwe ngendaba yalaba bantu abanezimvume zezindlu kodwa bengahlali ezindlini.

Le nto ikhona-ke laphayana eThembisa. Ngizolithola ithuba, Ngqongqoshe, ngikulethele lezo zinto kodwa-ke siyakuxhasa ukuthi usithole isabiwozimali ukuze phela uqhubeke ngomsebenzi wezindlu. Unwele olude. Ngiyabonga. Ngehlela ngezansi. (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)

[… I am also pleased that the provincial minister is present here with us. Hon Minister, I am not sure whether you are aware of the Kayamandi issue. I went to see the municipal authorities there, and they showed me the tenants’ applications which were turned down because they did not have UIF cards.

I then asked them as to where they got that from, because even the very Thubelihle programme has since made different recommendations saying certain people should be given houses and others should not. I honestly do not think that that programme is working. Hon Minister, the fact of the matter is that I haven’t come to you yet about the issue of the people who have title deeds to the houses but do not live in them.

And these things happen in Thembisa. Hon Minister, I will find time, in due course, to bring these things to your attention. We support the budget so that you can proceed with the housing task. Long live. I thank you. I rest my case.]

Ms B L NTEMBE: Chairperson, the beautiful Minister of Housing and hon members, the housing crisis is a very complicated situation in our country and is not easy to criticise. It needs to be looked at from all angles. I call it a crisis, though others may differ from me, due to the fact that without a house one also does not have a toilet. To be without toilets mean that a health crisis can occur.

We have the kind of housing such as that at Britstown in the Northern Cape province where some people live in round houses like igloos, which are called “pampoene” or pumpkins. These houses are very hot in summer and very cold in winter. At least there is a roof over the head and some of the people have been living in it for 15 years.

The question is: When will these people be provided with houses to give them the dignity the Constitution of the country is talking about? Without being xenophobic, how are we to accommodate the foreign citizens, having a backlog of housing for our own citizens as it is? Any citizen of a country will be irritated if he or she is without a house, while someone from a foreign country is accommodated. With this, I do not insinuate that the present situation is due to this reason. However, it has to be looked at.

Please take note that we see all the houses that get built and appreciate it, but it does not mean that we must use our right to remain silent on the fact that housing is a challenge in our country presently. We have a situation about foundations that have been laid in Parys in the Free State at a time when some people were babies. These persons are having babies themselves now and the foundations of these houses are still just foundations. How can it be, hon Chairperson?

The previously advantaged persons need to assist in relation to this challenge. Can’t those with more than one house, help by giving some of those extra houses to the previously disadvantaged who need it so much, to assist with this challenge to show that they are sorry that they have been advantaged over and above others? This is not a joke; we all need to take responsibility for what is happening in our country. I am one of the previously disadvantaged. I wish to assist and to be part of the solution. Just tell me how. Thank you.

Dr F J VAN HEERDEN: Chairperson, in her conclusion, the Minister committed herself to contributing to the creation, among others, of a nonracial society. But, in the eThekwini Municipality in Durban, the opposite is taking place. There they are busy with social engineering and entrenchment of racism in a society which should move forward.

In daardie spesifieke plek is daar drie projekte, en ek het nie tyd vir die vermelding van die persentasies nie, wat aan onderskeidelik swartmense, Indiërs, bruinmense en “ander” mense toegeken word. Nou weet ek nie wie “ander” mense is nie; miskien is ek ’n “ander” mens. Maar die aanduiding daar is baie duidelik een van die verskansing van rassisme. In plaas daarvan om finansiële vermoëns te gebruik om die toekenning van huise te bepaal, word daar nou verwys na die verskillende rasse: swart, bruin, Indiër en “ander” mense.

Ek wil ook ’n ander aspek onder die agb Minister se aandag bring, en dit is in verband met Thaba Nchu en Selosesha in die Vrystaat. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)

[In that particular area there are three projects, and I don’t have the time to mention the percentages, that are allocated to Africans, Indians, coloured people and “other” people respectively. I don’t know who these “other” people are; perhaps I am an “other” person. But it very clearly indicates the entrenchment of racism. Instead of using financial means to determine the allocation of houses, reference is now made to the different races: African, coloured, Indian and “other” people.

I would also like to raise another issue with the hon Minister regarding Thaba Nchu and Selosesha in the Free State.]

In that particular instance, the ownership of houses is at stake.

Mr Z C NTULI: On a point of order, Chairperson: Will the member be able to give me the details of what he is saying about eThekwini and the racial lines along which the houses are allocated?

The ACTING CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Ms P M Hollander): Hon member, you may continue. That is not a point of order, hon Ntuli.

Dr F J VAN HEERDEN: In Thaba Nchu and Selosesha the ownership of houses is at stake. That is a very serious problem there. The dwelling houses originally were situated in the old Bophuthatswana and then after the new dispensation it was transferred to the Free State province and the Mangaung Municipality. In that municipality, at this stage, matters are becoming very complicated because of the delay in the finalisation of the ownership of houses.

Occupiers are approached by attorneys to sign deeds of sale; money is being paid to private individuals and into attorneys’ bank accounts and nobody knows where this money is going. This matter was brought under the attention of the Minister’s department on three occasions already by the person working with this and up to this point there has been no response. I think, in all fairness to the Minister, I shall write this down and maybe in a covering letter attach the necessary documentation to the Minister so that she can respond.

Dan, ten laaste, daar is seker ’n minuut oor? [Then, lastly, there is probably one minute left?]

Just referring to the Housing Bachelor’s Degree, the University of the Free State as well as the University of Stellenbosch offer a BSc in which housing is one of the major subjects. Maybe the Minister can just take note of that. I happen to know, because my daughter took this course. She applied in vain for posts and despite this degree she didn’t get anything. Luckily she got employed now by a private firm. But be that as it may, I am not canvassing for my daughter, not at all. I am just bringing this to the attention of the hon Minister. I think it will be good if she just got some information regarding these two degrees. Thank you.

Mr R DYANTYI (Western Cape): Mandibulise kuMphathiswa weziNdlu kuzwelonke, umama uSisulu. Ndibulise kumalungu ale Ndlu yoWiso-mthetho yaMaphondo onke. [I greet the Minister of Housing, hon Sisulu, and the members of the National Council of Provinces.]

I think the Minister has covered everything and issued the marching orders for all of us in the different provinces; starting from when she spoke on Wednesday. What I really want to speak about is the inspiration that we are drawing from the Breaking New Ground the BNG, as a national housing policy. I think many of us here sitting would agree that it’s the best policy that this country has ever produced, and it’s comparable, if not even better than those of other countries as well. We are inspired by that policy.

Of course, as provinces our task is the issue of implementation. When those marching orders are issued, everything is left to us as provinces to see in what way we succeed in implementing those policies.

I want to start this contribution by reflecting with you on an important quote that would indicate why we think it’s important for us, as provinces, to focus on the issue of implementation. Amílcar Cabral, founder of the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde and Guinea, and an important leader in the struggle against Portuguese colonial rule in Africa, wrote this in 1969, and I quote:

We must always remember that people do not fight for ideals or for the things on other people’s minds. People fight for practical things: for peace, for living better in peace and for their children’s future. Liberty, fraternity and equality continue to be empty words for people if they do not mean a real improvement in the conditions of their lives.

We think this is very relevant in terms of our work as provinces; and in every respect we are trying to be practical in the work that we do. The BNG provides us with a menu of options and choices and advocates that there is no “one size fits all”. This is due to the fact that we are dealing with a multifaceted kind of challenge, high levels of poverty, unemployment and all sorts of issues.

In our province, the Western Cape, as part of driving implementation, we have started implementing the variety of those options and choices as espoused in the BNG. I want to share with you an example that goes beyond the very good example of the N2 Gateway project; and these are projects that flow from the N2 project, which we will be rolled out in August. Those are projects that include the one we call in Afrikaans “Nuwe Begin”, in Blue Downs.

Right at the beginning of the Nuwe Begin project we brought in all other departments. For example, when we lay the first brick for a house, the education department must be able to come and build a school there. This also applies to all other departments, including the Health department, in order for us to demonstrate this integration that we are talking about. This is going to reflect a combination of all the tools the BNG provides.

We also want to share with you that we are not just talking because marching orders have been issued. We are already rolling out a number of other issues like empowering our communities. Early this year we embarked on a programme that we call the 1000 Volunteers Programme. The aim of this programme is to bring life to our People’s Housing Process Programme, and to make sure that people participate in the housing projects.

Furthermore, as part of the BNG, we are also very much at work in upgrading our informal settlements, as well as dealing with issues of emergency housing. On Wednesday, the Minister referred to issues of anticorruption and how, as the provincial departments, we are dealing with some of those matters. Also, as we speak, in this province as regards the creation of assets, we’ve transferred over 500 houses that people used to rent for many years. People are now going to become new owners in order for them to be proud of these assets.

We are also hard at work in ensuring that the houses that we’ve delivered to our people are of value and are improving their lives. The type of work that may be seen in areas like Du Noon is being rolled out across the province. We want to ensure that the houses that we’ve given to our people are, firstly, in good condition and also they are with those owners that we’ve given them to. It’s an important project that we are dealing with. We are also already starting a programme around the backyarders’ policy, to ensure that people in many of our overcrowded areas are taken care of.

Arising out of the BNG, we’ve also introduced what we call a Special Housing Policy that takes care of people with special disabilities. Through this policy we want to prioritise people who can’t wait in the queues with everybody else.

In as far as the issue of the waiting list is concerned, I want to indicate that in all provinces, including our province of the Western Cape, we are hard at work in cleaning up our housing demand database. The aim is to ensure that the people we have on our databases are the people who are going to be benefiting from the houses and whom we understand to better their conditions.

The Minister has spoken about a marching order relating to how we deal with this mushrooming of informal settlements. Following KwaZulu-Natal, as the Western Cape we are also looking at a draft policy in terms of introducing that legislation. I want to indicate to the Minister that as Western Cape we are on track in as far as meeting the December deadline of that policy is concerned in order to ensure that, as part of this implementation, we are in line with those issues.

Arising out of the Polokwane Resolution, we are very far advanced in consulting with our military veterans in this province in terms of providing and assisting them with houses.

As a last point I want to raise that we are also expanding on issues of rental options. The issues that are facing us are not a “one-size-fits-all” problem. We are also ensuring that people who are coming to this province get accommodation for rental, as some of them might not necessarily need to own a house since they are young. Three months ago we were at Kayamandi to hand over houses and therefore we are going to follow up the issues raised by hon Mzizi regarding that area.

I want to thank the members and say that we have listened to the marching orders. Also, I want to say that as we are on the ground, we are doing all the things that are relevant for us to do. I thank you. [Applause.]

uMnu V V Z WINDVOËL: Mgcinisihlalo lohloniphekile, ngibingelela Ngcongcoshe wetfu lotsandzekako weliTiko leTindlu, emalunga lamahle eMkhandlu weNdlu yeTifundza kanye naMEC wetfu losivakashele lamuhla, babe Dyantyi.

Ngitotsandza kuphawula kafushane ngaloku lokubi lesikubone kwenteka kuleliVekati lakitsi lapho tinhlanga betihlaselana todvwa. Kubeka nje ngalamafisha ngicaphune sigayigayi setfu sembutfo wenkhululeko, inhlonhloloti yenkhululeko yetfu … (Translation of Siswati paragraphs follows.)

[Mr V V Z WINDVOЁL: Hon Chairperson, I would like to greet our beloved hon Minister of the Department of Housing, hon members of the NCOP and our MEC, Mr Dyantyi, who has visited us today.

I would like to comment on the bad act of xenophobic attacks. I will briefly quote our freedom fighter, a hero and stalwart of our freedom …]

… the late President of the ANC, O R Tambo, and I quote what he said: We are one people with a rich cultural heritage which manifests itself in many variations. Our task is not to preserve our culture in its antique forms but to build on it and let it grow to assume a national character, the better to become a component of all evolving world culture.

Ngicaphuna lamagama lawa angibonge hulumende wetfu ngatotonkhe tinhlelo latibekile kusukela kuhumende losetulu wetifundza letihlukahlukene kanye naboMasipala bahlangene nemasontfo, bahlanganyele kanye netinhlangano letingaphandle kwahulumende letatiwa, pheceleti ngemaNGO, kutsi kulekelelwe labo bebatitfola bebasenkhingeni yekuhlukunyetwa ngenca yebuhlanga.

Siphindze futsi sigceke nalabo lababe nenhlanhla … (Translation of Siswati paragraphs follows.)

[As I quote these words, I would like to commend our Government for all the programmes that have been put in place from the national government, different provinces and municipalities that collaborated with religious organisations, who together with non-governmental organisations known as NGOs, rendered assistance to those who found themselves in the predicament of racial abuse.

We also condemn those who were fortunate …]

… and wanted to exploit the plight of those fellow Africans to try to politicise the whole issue. I also want to quote, in particular, what the chief protector Gupta of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees said in condemning the manner in which our foreign nationals were housed here in Cape Town, because they were taken very far away from their communities. We have seen them in tents, towards the beach and so on. I don’t know whether the municipality is now taking up the policy of the PAC which, at some time, was that we will drive people to the sea. The policy of this present government is that we must move towards reintegration of those people into our communities, and we are committed to that. [Interjections.]

Angisho, Mgcinisihlalo, kutsi babe Krumbock … Awutsi ngikubeke ngeSingisi ngoba kungenteka bangakuhumushi ngendlela latoyiva kahle. [Let me say, Chairperson, that Mr Krumbock … let me say this in English because there is a possibility that they might not interpret it in a manner that he will understand properly.]

He really quoted the hon Mack out of context. What the hon Mack was saying in that debate was in response to the hon Van Heerden who said that it was the whites who were moving out of the country. The hon Mack was saying it was not only whites; also blacks – blacks and whites.

The issue is not that they are driven by whatever fear they have or power outages; the issue is that you must realise that 13 years into our democracy, Mr Krumbock, through you, Chair, South Africa has joined the international community of nations. There are no longer sanctions applied against South Africa. In terms of the Constitution and United Nations conventions, people may move freely throughout the world, wherever they want to - whether for academic, work-related or other interests. It’s also in that light that we welcome other people from outside South Africa to come here to assist us, whether doctors from Tunisia or Cuba, and so on. It’s in the same spirit that the white farmers, mainly from the FF constituency, were allowed to go to Mozambique to resuscitate their agricultural activities there. [Interjections.] So, we must not be narrow- minded in terms of having a political understanding of our international standing as a country. [Interjections.]

Mr G R KRUMBOCK: You won’t understand … [Inaudible.] You are talking rubbish. [Interjections.]

Mr R J TAU: Hon Chair, is it parliamentary for a member to refer to what another member has said as “rubbish”?

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Hon Krumbock, could you withdraw those words? [Interjections.] Hon Krumbock, I am asking you to withdraw. You then have to say you withdraw those words. [Interjections.] Mr G R KRUMBOCK: Yes, Chairperson, I withdraw.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Thank you. You may continue, hon member.

Mr V V Z WINDVOËL: Thank you very much, Chairperson, for the withdrawal. It should not only be cosmetic but come from the heart … [Interjections.] … because the other thing which is said … [Interjections.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: (Mrs M N Oliphant): Order, please!

Mr V V Z WINDVOËL: We may pass legislation to transform the country, but if the mind-set is not transformed, it will be difficult for us to reach those targets of transformation. [Interjections.] All said, hon Chairperson …

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Order, please!

Mr V V Z WINDVOËL: … it will also not stop me to put in the correct context what, I think, was not properly put by the hon Ntembe when she referred to the shortage of housing and said that foreign nationals were also coming in to take housing from our people. That statement, to me, is just as xenophobic as the statement made by another member, the hon Kohler- Barnard, in a debate in the National Assembly. The issue at hand that we must understand is that people qualify for these subsidised houses in terms of the constitutional framework, in terms of South African laws, and in terms of the regulations and procedures which the Department of Housing has put in place.

For example, if a person has been in the country for more than five years, has South African citizenship, or is married to a South African … [Interjections.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Order, hon members!

Mr V V Z WINDVOËL: … and has children, we cannot punish those children because we say that the ancestors of those people originate from another country. As long as they qualify, they will enjoy those benefits. [Interjections.] It’s also not against the whites. If a white person swallows his pride … [Interjections.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Order, hon members!

Mr V V Z WINDVOËL: … comes to the department and says, “I am unemployed; I am indigent,” that person will be given a house and sit next door to aboMaDlomo naboMaKhuzwayo [Mrs Dlomo and Mrs Khuzwayo] and so on. [Interjections.] You may ask a question; you’ll get a good answer.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Order, hon members. Mr V V Z WINDVOËL: Coming back to my speech, I must say that we are at the end of May …

Ms B L NTEMBE: 30 May 2008.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Hon Ntembe, order please!

Mr V V Z WINDVOËL: I want to remind members that, in May 1992, the ANC held a national policy conference to discuss the ANC’s vision for the future. The conference adopted a policy document, which was famously known as “Ready to govern – ANC policy guidelines for a democratic South Africa”. In that document, the ANC said, in recognising the housing backlog facing South Africa:

Much of the housing available to the poor is located in monotonous townships and underserviced informal settlements far from places of work and poorly provided with community facilities, shops, affordable public transport and recreational facilities.

I would like to say, with reference to the quote I have given from our “Ready to govern” document, that the challenges are still there, hon Minister. And we expect that the Department of Housing, through its Housing Development Agency, working together with our municipalities, will aggressively ensure that we acquire land nearer to cities and towns. This is in line with our agenda as the ANC, as the ruling party in the country, of ensuring that we deracialise the towns and cities. This is so that the cities are not only there for the people who can afford expensive, exorbitant houses. We have seen through experience most of the municipalities selling land to developers on which, at the end of the day, the developers build huge estates which are walled, exclusive and do not to accommodate our people. [Interjections.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Order, please!

Mr V V Z WINDVOËL: I would not mind the noise that is unorganised which I am getting from some members in this House. As the hon Mazibuko always says …

Njengoba sibona kutsi; uyabona uma incola ingahambi ngeke ubone tinja tiyikhonkhotsa kepha nayimile titohlala ngaphansi kwayo tidzimate tilale, tiyichamele, kodvwa nayihamba lencola njengoba lencola yeteTindlu ihamba, siatatibona tikhonkhotsa. Sitawuchubeka angeke sime, sitsi nasicedzile lesikwentako sijike ngobe titawube setidziniwe bese siyatitfwala sihamba nato. Njengoba sibona kutsi mhlawumbe ngalesinye sikhatsi nemishuco kubangiswana ngetindlu; ngitawenta sibonelo; nangabe bantfu bavalelekile basebumnyameni bese kufika inkhululeko ibavulele kutsi baye ekukhanyeni, batawunyatselana ngobe ngulowo nalowo ujake kufika kucala phambili. Loku lesikubonako kutsi kukhona tinsita hulumende latiniketela ebantfwini. Lokukhona kutsi lelisaka lemali alikhoni kwenetisa wonkhe umuntfu ngebusuku bunye. Njengobe acelile Ndvunankhulu kutsi sonkhe simalunga aleNdlu … [Kuhlaba lulwimi.] (Translation of Siswati paragraph follows.)

[We are aware of that. You see, if a vehicle is not in motion, you will not see dogs barking at it. If it is stationery, dogs will lie under it until they fall asleep, or pee on it. But if this vehicle is in motion, just as the vehicle of Housing is moving, we will see them barking. We will continue; we will not stop. By the time we are done with what we are doing we will turn back, because they will be tired. We will therefore take them on board and move with them. When we sometimes observe marches, people quarrel over houses. I will make an example: If people were captured in a dark place and freedom opens up for them so that they can be in the light, there will be a stampede as everyone is rushing to get to the front first. What we see is as a result of service delivery to the people. The reality is that our coffers cannot satisfy everybody overnight. As the Minister has requested from all of us as members of this House … [Interjections.]]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Order, hon members.

Mr O M THETJENG: Chairperson, I have just checked. The hon member actually made a statement I would like him to withdraw, which is that the white people must swallow their pride. I think that is hate speech … [Interjections.] [Inaudible.] … I have just checked, and as I say, hon Chairperson, I believe this is a form of hate speech. I would like the hon member to withdraw. [Interjections.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Hon member, I didn’t hear the member saying that.

Mr O M THETJENG: They are making a noise. I can’t hear …

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): I will not give a ruling today. I am going to listen to the Hansard, and, after that, I will give a ruling accordingly.

You may continue, hon member. [Interjections.] Order, please!

uMnu V V Z WINDVOËL: Ngicela kutsi ngichubeke nenkhulumo yami wena wekunene, ngisho kutsi siyabonga kutsi sekwakhiwe tindlu letitigidzi letingu 2.6 la eNingizimu Afrika, hhayi letitigidzigidzi letingu-2,4 njengobe babe Krumbock bekasho, angati kutsi letinye utintjonta ufuna kutiyisaphi. Lengitokusho kutsi nakwakhiwa letindlu; sibonga loluhlelo lolubitwa ngekutsi yiPeoples’ Housing Project, PHP, ngobe lenta kutsi bantfu babeyincenye yekwakha letindlu. (Translation of Siswati paragraph follows.)

[Mr V V Z WINDVOËL: May I proceed with my speech, hon Chairperson?

I mean that we commend that 2,6 million houses have been built here in South Africa, not 2,4 million as referred to by Mr Krumbock. I do not know where he is taking the others that he is shifting. What I will say is that these houses are built; we commend the programme that is known as the People’s Housing Project, PHP, because it incorporates people into being part of the building of houses.]

… so that people are part of liberating themselves from the condition of homelessness.

Njengobe sikhatsi sami sesitawuphela, sebatawusindza labanye ngobe ngete ngisakusho lokunye bengifuna kukucondzisa kubo. Angetame kusheshisa bese ngibeka kafushane loko lengifuna kukubeka; kutsi njengobe bekasashilo kutsi naletimali laniketwe tona imphela tincane kakhulu kutsi tin gendlaleka tifinyelele kubo bantfu.

Ngifuna kuphindza lesincumo lesasitsatsa ePolokwane singu-ANC kutsi hulumende asibukisise. Kufakwe nje tindodla netindodla tetimali; njengobe bekacela uMhlonishwa kutsi noma tigidzigidzi letingu-12 tifakwe kube kanye. Kute kutsi kutawehlisa lomtfwalo losemahlombe eliTiko leTindlu.

Lokunye lengifuna kukubeka, singakacedzi inkhulumo yetfu, sitawucela kutsi njengobe Ngcongcoshe, Dokotela Sisulu, asafake leliTiko letekuphenya lelikhetsekile acinise futsi kuhlolisiswe nabahloli kuleliTiko ngobe labanye ngibo labangeta nalesimo lesititfola sikuso. Baphumelelisa tindlu letingakapheli, bosonkontileka bakhokhelwe, asati kumbe kukhona lapho bafike bamunye khona ngaphambili ngobe kuyashiwo kutsi labanye baphosa ijavelini bqashaye singcivito babe bati kutsi beme ngale emuva ekhoneni kute batawutfola lokutsite. Loko kugucula lomgomo wetfu we Batho Pele ube yi-Contractors Pele Batho Kamorau. Sitawufuna kutsi leliTiko likubukisise kakhulu loko… (Translation of Siswati paragraphs follows.)

[As my time is about to expire, some will be spared because I will not be able to say what is intended for them. Let me be faster with what I want put forward, as she has stated that the funds allocated to her are really not sufficient to satisfy everybody.

I want to reiterate the resolution that we took as the ANC to be considered by the government. More funds should be allocated. The Minister has requested that at least R12 million be allocated at once. This can lessen the burden of the Department of Housing.

The other thing that I want to put forth, before we finish our discussion, is that we will request that, as the Minister, Dr Sisulu, has incorporated the Special Investigating Unit, they must intensify and also oversee directorate inspectors because some are the ones who perpetuate the circumstances we find ourselves in. They approve incomplete houses, and contractors get paid. We do not know - maybe they wait somewhere for a bribe because it is said that some throw a javelin by approving because they know exactly that behind the corner, they will receive something. That changes our principle of Batho Pele to be Contractors Pele, Batho Kamora. We will therefore want this department to be more vigilant with regard to the question…]

… does it translate into real delivery on the ground?

Sisho futsi njengobe sesicedza lenkhulumo singumbutfo waKhongolose kutsi njengobe sike sihambele tifundza ngaloluhlelo lwetfu lwePhalamende lwekuhambela imimango, siyaye sihlangane nato letinye tinkinga letifaka ekhatsi lizinganhle letindlu letakhiwako. Niyakhumbula kutsi ngalesinye sikhatsi yasho iNdvuna kutsi … (Translation of Siswati paragraph follows.)

[We also want to say, as we conclude this debate, that as the ANC, when we normally visit provinces under the Taking Parliament to the People programme, we normally do come across some problems which include the quality of houses built. You will remember that at some stage, the Minister stated that …]

… we are moving from quantity to quality.

Sitawutsandza kutsi loko kubukelelwe ngobe letindlu singatibala ngelinani kutsi tingaka kantsi letinye atisekho. Ekugcineni kumele sibone kutsi kusetjentiswa kwemali sekuya ku-100%. Kutawuba ngumsebenti wetfu silikomiti lePhalamende sisebentisana nelikomiti labohulumende basemakhaya kucinisekisa kutsi le-96% yelucitfo timali … (Translation of Siswati paragraph follows.)

[We would like to recommend that that should be taken into consideration, because we can count these houses in numbers that they are so many but only to find out that some are no longer there. At the end we must see to it that 100% of funds are used. It will be our responsibility as a parliamentary committee, working together with the committee on local government, to ensure that this 96% expenditure …]

… does translate into real delivery on the ground.

Ngitawucaphuna emavi lashiwo ngulowo bekaliSekela laMengameli Jacob Zuma lapho atsi ngalesinye sikhatsi siyaye sijakele kuhlola emabhuku singakahloli timphilo tebantfu. Singumbutfo waKhongolose sicela kutsi leNdlu yati kutsi sanelisekile ngaloko liTiko leteTindlu lelikwentako.

Letinkinga letikhona nalamanye emave abukene nato kwengca tsine lapha eNingizimu Afrika. Sifisela leliTiko indlela lenhle sibambane nalo kute kutsi timphilo tebantfu bakitsi tibencono kwengca loku betingiko itolo. Siyabonga. (Translation of Siswati paragraphs follows.)

[I will quote the words uttered by the former Deputy President, Jacob Zuma, when he said, “Sometimes we rush to audit books prior to investigating people’s lives.” We as the ANC request that this House, must know that we are not satisfied with the work of the Department of Housing.

Other countries are also experiencing these problems that we are, even more than we do in South Africa. We wish the department well in working together so that the lives of our people can be better than they were yesterday. I thank you.]

The MINISTER OF HOUSING: Chairperson, if you will allow me to go through the inputs as they were given to me because I think most of them merit a response.

Hon Krumbock, when I come into the House, I am bound by certain requirements and certain rules. I cannot mislead the House. When I say that we have produced 2,6 million houses, we have produced 2,6 million houses. The reason why I was giving this challenge to your counterpart to go and count is if he feels that he can do better than our computers by counting one by one on foot, then I challenge him to do so. Find time to join him and come with statistics that are different from this. We have produced 2,6 million houses which translate into people in excess of 13 million being housed by this government.

You were complaining that we must be very careful that we do not take cases of corruption and give them a slap on the wrist because we are not solving the problem. I want to say that each case that we dealt with in the Special Investigating Unit, SIU, was dealt with on a case-by-case basis and on its own merits, using all instruments available in our criminal justice system. So, it is not just a thumbsuck or that we liked these people and therefore just gave them a slap on the wrist. We dealt with this matter in an extremely professional way, which is why we took on the services of the SIU. What we have done, in fact, is to send a very strong message that we will prosecute anybody who fraudulently claims for a house. What we have also done is clean up the system. We also took money, about R6 million in this case, which was recovered and we ploughed it back into building more houses for the poor.

I would like to thank the chair for his very entertaining exposition of the situation we find ourselves in here today, where people sell their bicycles and blame it on the national bicycle department. We could not have put it better, Chairperson. The Chair pays tribute to women in New Rest and correctly points out that these women built these houses in record time, but what he omitted to say was that the houses that were built by these women are better than houses built by men anywhere, anytime. [Applause.]

Hon Mzizi, you were much muted in your attack. I feared the worst. We are concerned about allegations of unhappiness with regard to the housing allocation process, which is why we have this - I am going to quote from the speech I delivered on Wednesday:

For now, the point is we have taken note of the concerns raised about housing allocations, and for our own comfort and the comfort of our citizens we have tightened our regulations to ensure that this is effectively addressed.

To ensure that this is adhered to at all levels, we are introducing compulsory adherence to the national housing demand database, which does not allow any municipality the right of allocation outside of this verified and audited database. The data, together with the housing subsidies data, will be monitored by an independent audit company and will report to Parliament on an annual basis. This will ensure that that our processes are aligned to the necessary transparency and integrity required for universal acceptance. Our policy has been amended accordingly and provincial workshops are currently under way to ensure compliance.

We are dealing with the matter. If you come across any house that is owned by a foreign national, it is because your people sold it to the foreign national.

Hon Ntembe, I hope your concerns have also been addressed. You have very serious concerns around the allegations that we could be housing foreign nationals when we have such a huge backlog ourselves. Precisely, there is no way we can cope. We are battling with the rates of urbanisation to deal with our own population. There is no way we can do this. Our regulations do not allow it. We are not doing it. Please spread the message.

Thank you for offering to help, hon Ntembe. I want to say to you and the Chair that we have identified, as MECs and Minmec, that we are going to target the Northern Cape for a particular project to ensure that we eradicate the backlog of housing there because it is possible. This will ensure that, for the first time, we will have a province that will be clear of its backlog. This is because hon Mzizi comes here and says that some people have been on the waiting list since 1997.

Hon Mzizi, people in this country have waited for houses for 40 years. This is what we inherited. Therefore, you have to understand that if we are to start from the very first, which is what is our priority, and give priority to the elderly and the infirm, then the people who have only registered in 1994 will have to understand that we are still dealing with the backlog of apartheid. This is the reality of our situation. We go to those people and we work overtime to ensure that we can accommodate as many of those who have registered in this period as possible, but we have an overwhelming backlog. So, as people out there are complaining about the pace of delivery, there never was delivery prior to our government coming into place. Therefore, we will be dealing with the issue of Leratong. Hon Ntembe, there will be no “pampoens” anywhere on the roadside out there.

Hon Van Heerden, I will look into your concerns. You have committed yourself to sending those concerns to me. I am very glad that your daughter has taken up a degree in housing. This only attests to the fact that there is a member who is clever enough in your family to understand the centrality of housing. I would like you to please encourage her to try to apply for work in the new Housing Development Agency. We have employment possibilities there and we are very keen to take whatever skills we can get.

Hon Dyantyi has a given a very practical application to the successes of our policies. He is not a paid advert for the Department of Housing; he is living it.

An HON MEMBER: He is an “imbongi” [praise singer].

The MINISTER OF HOUSING: He is not an “imbongi” [praise singer].

Hon Windvoël, I am very glad that you have pointed out the tendency to politicise the unhappy situation that we have here.

Siyabonga wena weKunene kutsi watile kufika ukhulume ngeSiswati lesicocekile, usichazele kutsi iyahamba lencola le. Kube beyingahambi bebatakwenta lokunye etukwayo. Iyahamba lencola. [Laughter.] Ngiyabonga Mlangeni lomuhle. (Translation of Siswati paragraph follows.)

[Thank you, hon member, for being able to express yourself so eloquently in Siswati. You explained to us that this vehicle is moving. If it was not moving, they would do something on top of it. The vehicle is moving. [Laughter.] Thank you, hon member.] I am running out of time.

My sincerest gratitude goes to the select committee. They have conscientiously dealt with matters of housing, and now bicycles, on top of it! [Laughter.] I enjoyed their support tremendously, especially with regard to taking up issues around the N2. I want to thank members of the House here for the warmth with which they receive us every time we come here. I would like to thank them for supporting this Bill, and I would like to thank you for so graciously presiding over this Vote. I thank you very much. [Applause.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Thank you very much, hon Minister. I further want to thank the Minister, … [Interjections.] Hon member, what is going on? I also want to thank the MEC, hon members, our guests in the gallery and the officials from the department, for your presence and participation in this debate. Thank you very much.

Debate concluded.


The ACTING CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Ms P M Hollander): Hon Chairperson, hon members of the National Council of Provinces, allow me to table, for your consideration, the consolidated document on priorities for 2008 as part of our continued implementation of Programme 2009.

The document in front of you, which was published in the Announcements, Tablings and Committees Reports on 28 May 2008, on page 814, provides for the broad scope of work before the NCOP this year.

The adoption of this document would constitute a division of the priorities as set out in section B of the Programme 2009 document. Section A of the Programme 2009 document provides as follows:

The document would be reviewed annually to ensure that the priorities set out in Programme 2009 remain relevant and that the Programme provides a proper response to national priorities.

Hence we are bringing this document with priorities for the current year before you today.

The launching pad for the 2008 priorities was the business planning workshop held in Milnerton from 24 to 26 February this year, which was attended by presiding officers, chief whips, chairpersons of committees, representatives of provincial legislatures and parliamentary management and their technical team.

The workshop looked at, amongst other things, the work before the NCOP this year against the background that this was the last full year of our third Parliament. Strong sentiments were expressed with regard to the need to prioritise the work, especially legislation before the House in order not to burden the next Parliament with unfinished business. This includes a relook at study tours by committees in favour of legislative and oversight work.

The workshop provided for an opportunity for our committees to begin the process of drafting their business plans for the year, keeping in mind the need to wrap up the work we started in 2004. The business plans were subsequently considered and adopted by the committee and are being implemented as we speak.

Following this exercise, the document we are considering today consists of the following areas of work: firstly, key service delivery focus areas, that is, social and economic transformation, safety and security, governance and local service delivery. Committees’ business plans would contain the necessary details in respect of these areas. Secondly, included is legislation, that is, legislation that has to be considered this year. You will recall that 2 June is the last deadline for the introduction of legislation this year.

In their business plans, committees also identified legislation for follow- up work. Thirdly, there are the Apex Priorities. We have selected 10 priorities that related to section 76 matters from the list of 24 priorities outlined in the state of the nation address.

Interestingly enough, we have been able to link some of the oversight work highlighted in the business plans of committees back to these 10 priorities, which means that if committees are able to do everything in their business plans, they would be able to do oversight work with regard to at least the 10 priorities we have identified. A full list of the 24 priorities would be attached to the document to serve as reference.

Fourthly we have debates on policy issues. We are also proposing that we look at debating issues of policy with regard to land reform, health, education, etc, as part of our engagement with policy challenges. Land reform would be the first, given the challenges in this area.

Fifthly, there are the special task projects. This section deals with the institutional memory projects we initiated last year, which include the finalisation of the book on the first 10 years of the NCOP, follow up on Intergovernmental Relations Summit recommendations, study on the Taking Parliament to the People Programme and writing up of the report on the work of the NCOP during the Third Parliament, that is, the Programme 2009 Report.

We call these institutional memory projects because they are intended to assist the next generation of public representatives. Lastly, there are systems and mechanisms. This section covers the implementation areas extracted from the Milnerton Report, such as the need to ensure that we align our plans with objectives and targets of the NCOP as set out in the Programme 2009 document, and the need for committees to keep records of their proceedings or meetings. We cannot begin to write our Programme 2009 Report if we do not have records. We need to have evidence to be able to write an objective report.

As I have mentioned, one of the tasks we are embarking on this year is a study on the impact of the programme Taking Parliament to the People. We are in the process of appointing an independent research organisation to assist us in this regard.

We want to hear the views of the people in the areas we have so far visited, the stakeholders and role-players, both from the executive and the legislative branches of government, about the programme, with a view to enhancing it.

Although it is an undeniable fact that the programme has been a huge success, we do not want to rest on our laurels. We want to assess its strengths and weaknesses in order to make it a more effective tool for engaging with the communities.

We think this would help the next NCOP to consider all options with the benefit of independently established information, when deciding on the future, shape and character of the programme. We hope to finish this work before the end of this year.

On behalf of the Presidium, I would like to ask for your co-operation when approached for purposes of this study because you know the programme better and you have a lot to say about it. That opportunity is coming. We will also extend it to members of the other House as well, and representatives of the different spheres of our government.

Having said that, the document we are tabling today for consideration contains the work that we have already begun to do as the NCOP as well as work that we must still complete before the end of this year.

A pocket-sized Programme 2009 document with its revised section B, will be printed and made available to members following the adoption of the priorities for this year.

As you know, time is of essence. We have only a few months before we can look at our final scorecard. So let us run the last lap as if it was the first one.

With these words, I commend the report detailing our 2008 priorities to the House.

Chairperson, before I say “thank you”, I would like you allow me to answer the hon Ntembe with regard to her views when she spoke about “pampoen” [pumpkin] houses in Britstown. I want to tell her that it was construction …

Dit was ’n konstruksie wat ons geërf het van die vorige regering. [It was a construction that we had inherited from the previous government.]

So don’t come and tell us that it’s our government that has put up “pampoene” [pumpkins] for people. You don’t know what is going on, you are too young to know and understand what has been happening in the past.

Secondly, your people are pushing population registration …

… in my kiesafdeling. Ek sê nou vir julle, julle maak ’n groot fout. [… in my constituency. I am telling you this now, you are making a big mistake.] You don’t come with a population register to us. That thing has been taken off the Statute Book for many years now and had been thrown into the ocean. So, don’t come with that and talk with Van der Kloof and tell their people about the population register …

Hulle moet vir die OD stem, want ons is kleurlinge. [They have to vote for the ID, because we are coloureds.]

You are making a big mistake with me and I’m giving you … yes, I’m telling you don’t come with that story to us. Thank you very much. [Interjections.]

Debate concluded.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Hon Acting Chairperson! Hon members, what has been said by the hon Chairperson is not part of the report.

I shall now put the question. The question is that the report be adopted.

As the decision is dealt with in terms of section 65 of the Constitution, I shall first ascertain whether all delegation heads are present in the Chamber to cast their province’s votes. Are all delegation heads present?

In accordance with Rule 71, I shall first allow provinces the opportunity to make their declarations of vote if they so wish.

We shall now proceed to the voting on the question. I shall do this in alphabetical order per province. Delegation heads must please indicate to the Chair whether they vote in favour or against or abstain form voting. Eastern Cape?

Mr A T MANYOSI: Eastern Cape is in favour.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Free State?

Mr C J VAN ROOYEN: Ondersteun. [Supports.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Gauteng?

Ms N M MADLALA-MAGUBANE: In favour, Chair.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): KwaZulu-Natal?

Mr D D GAMEDE: Siyayisekela. [We support.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Limpopo?

Kgoshi M L MOKOENA: Limpopo re a e thekga, Mme. [Limpopo supports, Madam.] The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Mpumalanga?

Ms F NYANDA: Mpumalanga supports.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Northern Cape?

Mr M A SULLIMAN: Die Noord-Kaap ondersteun die verslag. [Northern Cape supports the report.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): North West?

Rev P MOATSHE: We support.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Western Cape?

Mr N J MACK: Ondersteun. [Support.]

IN FAVOUR: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, and Western Cape.

Report accordingly adopted in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.

The Council adjourned at 10:49.