HUMAN SETTLEMENTS DELIVERY IN AN UPWARD TRAJECTORY IN THE NELSON MANDELA BAY METRO SINCE WAR ROOM INTERVENTION
The Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality (NMBMM) is showing signs of improvement in delivering sustainable human settlements to communities, as a result of interventions by the National Human Settlements War Room (NHSWaR) which was set up to expedite project planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring in provinces and municipalities
Compared to the 2021/2022 financial year where about 28 BNG units where built, the Metro well on its way to hit it’s targeted spending of the Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG). This was revealed on Thursday during a visit to the Metro by Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi, Deputy Minister Pam Tshwete, MEC Siphokazi Lusithi and MMC Tokelo Zumani, where they also handed over more than 270 houses in Polar Park and Qaqawuli housing projects, respectively.
As part of the intervention since their appointment by Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi in August last year, the NHSWaR began conducting working sessions with the NMBMM to diagnose the root causes of poor performance, particularly the Metro’s implementation of grants, namely; the Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG), the Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) and the Informal Settlement Upgrading Partnership Grant (ISUPG).
Subsequently, a Ministerial Advisory was approved for the NHSWaR to conduct monthly technical oversight meetings wherein the 2022/23 business plans for all grants were technically assessed, with due consideration to the project scope, procurement, cost and time management.
“I am happy with the intervention, there’s quite a lot of improvement compared to the last time we were here and this progress gives hope. There’s improvement of performance and delivery with regards to our targets,” said Minister Kubayi.
“What brings us together as a collective is to ensure that we do the work we are contracted to do. Being here is not to tick the box, we are here because there is an intervention meant to resolve service delivery problems, especially on human settlements matters, and we must make sure we see the results to avoid making commitments we cannot deliver to our communities”.
Key findings by the NHSWaR also revealed that delays in the implementation of projects were caused by, amongst others, poor contract management, unrealistic project estimates, perceived higher material costs and disintegrated project plan. Through an integrated approach, introduced to reduce project risk and optimise efficiency and performace. Moreover, delays in supply chain management process were found to be a contributing factor to poor performance in relation to the USDG and ISUPG.
Considering that the Metro is an urban area, Minister Kubayi emphasised a need to also focus on social housing and First Home Finance, which are two of the flagship programmes of the Department of Human Settlements, while noting that almost 70% of the people in informal settlements do not qualify for BNG (previously known as RDP).
“Working together with the banks, we need to have proper plans with the Social Housing Regulatory Council and National Housing Finance Corporation to tell us what can be done with regards to provision of houses for the missing middle,” said the Minister.
Deputy Minister of Human Settlements Pam Tshwete commended the work of the NHSWaR for tremendous work they are doing in giving life back into projects.
This financial year ending March 2023, government set aside R4 billion for the upgrading of informal settlements. In the new financial year 2023/2024, the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro will be allocated R300 million to improve the living conditions of households in informal settlements.
Speaking on the side-lines of the handover of houses in Qaqawulini, which is expected to yield more than 780 housing opportunities upon completion, MEC Lusithi indicated that this added more pressure on the fiscus and the growing needs by communities needing a roof over their heads.
“It will cost more to build a house that we could have build in 2009. We are however encouraged by the progress we’re seeing with intervention of the NHSWaR, working together with the municipality. It gives us hope that in this financial year, we will be able to deliver as we had committed to communities,” she said.
Meanwhile, the MMC for Human Settlements in the Metro, Cllr Tokelo Zumani welcomed the intervention by the department to unlock the potential to create sustainable human settlements. Despite political circumstances, he said, there are social compacts agreed to in order to safeguard service delivery. “The dedication of the team will assist us to inspire confidence that there is work done to restore the functioning of the municipality.”
The day commenced with a technical meeting in which the Ministerial delegation assessed performance and went further to consider more interventions to speed up service delivery. This was preceded by in-loco inspections, coupled with engagements with the community and significantly the hand over of newly built fully subsidized government homes to qualifying beneficiaries, including the elderly and women. There are over 270 houses beneficiaries at Polar Park, KwaLanga Township in Uithenhage, and Qaqawuli in New Brighton respectively.
For Media Enquiries, contact: Hlengiwe Nhlabathi-Mokota, Spokesperson to Minister Kubayi 064 754 8426 or Spokesperson to Eastern Cape MEC, Siya Mdodi 083 358 8070 or Spokesperson to Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Mthubanzi Mniki 071 381 3779.
Issued by the Ministry of Human Settlements Govan Mbeki House 240 Justice Mahomed Street, Sunnyside, Pretoria, 0001