Statement by the Minister of Human Settlements Nomaindiya Mfeketo, MP, ahead of the Human Settlements Budget Vote Debate Imbizo Media Centre, Cape Town
This is probably our last budget speech in the current term of this administration and it therefore proper that we account for the work done since the last democratic elections.
Whilst doing that, we will also be setting a solid foundation for the incoming administration that will come after next year’s general elections to take the sector through the Golden Era for Human Settlements Expansion.
There can be no doubt that shelter is one of the basic essentials of life. Since 1994 till now, our government has built over 4 million houses and this makes South Africa the only such country in the world.
Human Settlements is an integral part of building a booming economy in order to achieve equitable economic growth. We are committed to efforts of undoing the apartheid spatial planning as we desegregate our cities.
We remain committed to addressing the significant housing backlog that presently stands at an estimated 2, 1 million, but we must also focus our interventions on the future of human settlements.
This Budget Vote Statement presents an excellent opportunity to refocus our thinking about human settlements in line with the objective of creating sustainable human settlements as opposed to just housing.
Our vision is anchored on three essential elements, namely, spatial integration, housing and infrastructure and economic development.
We have identified four critical areas that our Department needs to urgently attend to in order for this Golden Era for Human Settlements Expansion to succeed. These are:
• Acquiring Strategic Land and Making Use of Available Land
• Building and Sustaining Formidable Institutions
• Funding and Financing of Projects
• Cutting Edge Expertise in Human Resources
I will discuss these at some length in the Budget Vote but suffice to say that the intention is to accelerate human settlements delivery as we wrap up the work of the current administration.
However, I must say the issue of land continues to be one of the major problems hindering the delivery of sustainable human settlements in our country.
Through the Housing Development Agency (HDA), an entity of the Department of Human Settlements, we intend to engage the private sector, State Owed Enterprises, Provinces and Municipalities to unlock strategic parcels of land suitable for human settlements development.
We need an efficient and formidable Department that is able to perform the mammoth task of spatial integration if we are to adequately address the housing challenge in South Africa.
As part of ensuring the smooth functioning of the Department, my immediate intentions include finalising the following key legislations and policies by the end of the current financial year.
The Human Settlements Bill that will deal with the various aspects of the changing human settlements sector since the inception of the Housing Act of 1997.
The Property Practitioners Bill that seeks to promote an optimally functioning and well-regulated property sector capable of contributing to economic growth and development.
The Home Loans and Mortgage Disclosure Amendment Bill which seeks to strengthen the reporting arrangements by financial institutions to disclose certain information regarding their business of advancing finance in respect of home loans.
The Housing Consumers Protection Measures Amendment Bill that will repeal the current Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act 95 of 1998, improve protection of housing consumers and introduce effective regulation of the home building industry.
And the Human Settlements Development Bank Bill that seeks to establish the Human Settlements Development Bank that consolidates the existing development finance institutions of the Department such as the NHFC, RHLF and NURCHA.
Ladies and gentlemen, you are aware that the national fiscus is under severe pressure and we are forced to do more with less. This Department has witnessed budgets cuts running into billions of rands but this will not dissuade us from the task at hand.