Media Statement - 04 March 2011

Several major cities were assigned new powers for human settlements development today (4 March 2011) – a move which is likely to result in more integrated planning of new housing projects and improved service delivery.

The cities were awarded what is known as level 2 accreditation status by Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, who handed over accreditation certificates at his quarterly MinMEC meeting with provincial human settlements MECs in Pretoria. The meeting was also attended by the chairperson of the SA Local Government Association (SALGA), Amos Masondo.

Level two accreditation status gives municipalities the responsibility to approve and manage housing construction programmes and ensure and technical quality assurance. In the past, the authority for this rested primarily with provincial governments.

This status has been granted to Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Metro and Cape Town, eThekwini Metro as well as the Frances Baard and Pixly ka Seeme district municipalities in the Northern Cape.

“These are significant responsibilities,” Sexwale told a media briefing. “The municipal accreditation process is a critical tool in devolving the housing function to the local sphere: it enables municipalities to coordinate their housing decisions with other decisions that relate to the broader sustainability of human settlements.

“With the authority to take such decisions, opportunities arise for the application of innovative planning principles. It contributes significantly to the potential for the development of integrated and sustainable human settlements within municipal jurisdictions.

“We see the accreditation process leading to accelerated delivery and improved expenditure patterns, which will help put an end to under-expenditure.”

Sexwale also announced the introduction of a new metropolitan funding framework which has been developed in partnership with National Treasury known as the Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG).

“The USDG will bring about better human settlements development planning between national, provincial and local spheres of government,” he said. “More specifically, it compels improved coordination of planning, funding and implementation of human settlements at the provincial and local spheres of government.”

Metropolitan municipalities will directly receive this grant from national department to address infrastructure needs.

“It is the policy intention of national and provincial human settlements departments to continue to expand the role of municipalities, particularly the Metros, in the management and development of sustainable and integrated human settlements,” Sexwale said.

For more information contact Chris Vick 0835567644 or Mandulo Maphumulo 079 699 5145

Press Release Date: 
Friday, March 4, 2011