The 2023 Human Settlements Indaba concluded on an exceedingly high note with women in the Human Settlements sector having participated fully in the engagements, which amongst others, focused on capacity building, access to finance, and opportunities for SMMEs and Alternative Building Technologies to deal with the disasters.

The Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi, concluded the two-day robust engagements at the Human Settlements Women Indaba reminding delegates that transformation and meaningful economic participation of women in the sector is non-negotiable. The two-day Indaba was held in Kimberly in the Northern Cape on 19 to 20 August 2023, under the theme: “Accelerating Socio-Economic Opportunities for Women Empowerment”.

“We will push for the full implementation of the 40% set aside for women own enterprises. This equates to close to about R11 billion of our 2023/2024 budget that must be spent on women-owned enterprises,” said the Minister.

Grants provided by the Department include the Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG), the Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG), and the Informal Settlements Upgrading Partnership Grant (ISUPG), which amount to approximately R29 billion. This means that 40% of those grants amounts close to R 11 billion. In that regard, Minister Kubayi emphasized that the 40% set aside by all provinces must equally reflect the R11 billion procurement spent for women.

“There will be a report presented at the quarterly meetings between myself and MECs of Human Settlements to account for the procurement spent on designated groups, women in particular. This is clear demonstration that when we talk of women empowerment, we mean business,” said Minister Kubayi to much applause from over 500 delegates who attended the Indaba. The Department will soon start publishing a database of those that comply with 40% set aside in our sector to encourage compliance and accountability. Whie the Department will continue to advocate for the full implementation of the 40% set aside, it will be done in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

“As women you are still expected to compete; you are therefore expected to prepare and capacitate yourselves accordingly in order to emerge amongst the rest. I will open doors but will not spoon-feed you,” said Kubayi.

Delegates were encouraged that a task team will be established to monitor the implementation of the outcomes of the Indaba. The task team is expected to present its report at the next Indaba scheduled for March 2024, with Minister Kubayi “saying this was a clear demonstration that “this Indaba was not meant to be a talk shop; we need tangible results.”

On the upgrading of informal settlements, Minister highlighted that some people living in informal settlements do not qualify for fully subsidized government housing, Breaking New Ground. Accordingly, she has since directed Social Housing Regulatory Authority, one of the entities of the Department of Human Settlements, to increase social housing projects.

The Human Settlements Women Indaba was attended by Deputy Minister of Human Settlements Pam Tshwete, Northern Cape MEC of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, Bentley Vass, women from different sectors - including private, government, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) - concluded by making the following commitments in advancing the empowerment of women: improving policies and regulations that protect women in the sector; removal of barriers to entry for women wanting to participate fully in the sector; working closely with the provinces to ensure that 40% spent on women contractors is achieved and lastly to facilitate the funding partnership access and capacity building for women in the sector.

Delegates were encouraged to share experiences, knowledge and the agreed roadmap to other women aspiring to grow their businesses in the sector and become active participants in the economy.

Media Enquiries: Contact Hlengiwe Nhlabathi-Mokota, Spokesperson to Minister Kubayi on 064 754 8426 or Head of Communications in the Department, Nozipho Zulu 078 456 9376.

Issued by the Ministry of Human Settlements Govan Mbeki House 240 Justice Mahomed Street, Sunnyside, Pretoria, 0001

Press Release Date: 
Monday, August 21, 2023