The Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi has announced plans to give the Housing Development Agency (HDA) the sole responsibility to provide basic services to the communities of informal settlements in Cape Town. This follows the Minister’s disappointment with the lack of progress in the provision of services such as water and sanitation in 16 informal settlements in Khayelitsha.

These and other concerns raised were yet to be resolved, despite several meetings being convened since she took over the portfolio.
In 2022, Minister Kubayi had a meeting with leaders and representatives of these informal settlements but commitment for improved living conditions made by the City since then and other successive meetings by all spheres of government, have not yet been fulfilled.

Significantly, in March 2023, the Minister transferred R111 million to the City of Cape Town to speed up service delivery interventions. The funds were specifically ring- fenced to provide the services for the 16 informal settlements and to address the PRASA railway line relocations, after the City said it had no funds. The City has, however, since indicated it would be difficult to spend the funds provided by the Department of Human Settlements, citing it was almost the end of the financial year.

“I cannot work with excuses while our people are suffering. I am frustrated and today, I am announcing that if they can’t do it then the agency of Human Settlements, the HDA, will now be responsible for the provision of these services. The provision of essential services is a basic human rights matter and we cannot run away from it, nor should we try to short-change our people,” said Minister Kubayi. This was to much applause from desperate communities who packed the Tusong Multi-purpose Centre in Khayelitsha in Cape Town.

This is the third time that such a meeting is taking place at the venue with the same informal settlements dwellers and their representatives. While some work has been done, the City has not complied with the national standard of 1:5 ratio for the provision of container toilets. Community representatives said that in some areas, the ratio was as high as 1:15 – meaning that 15 families are using one ablution facility.

“National policy is not an option; it is the standard, and the City must comply with it. We are exposing our people to all sorts of health challenges,” said Minister Kubayi.
The Department of Human Settlements had, during 2022/2023 financial year, allocated close to R550 million through the Informal Settlement Upgrading Partnership Programme (ISUPG) to help better the living conditions of those living in informal settlements in the City of Cape Town.

Delivering the 2023/2024 Budget Vote in Parliament on Wednesday, Kubayi indicated that the Departments of Human Settlements has since 2019, upgraded over 1200 informal settlements across the country. This is against a target of 1500 for the 2023/2024 Medium Term Strategic Framework. The first level of upgrading entails installation of electricity, water and sanitation and the second level involves the installation of roads, storm water drainage as well as social amenities.

Minister Kubayi also informed members of the community that resources were made available for the disasters that took place in the City last year. “Emergency Housing is now a responsibility of the national department. I have instructed my officials to be agile when responding to disasters,” she said.

Friday’s meeting attended by the Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Pam Tshwete, legislature representatives and local councillors, amongst others, ended on a high with some leaders expressing gratitude for all efforts made to improve their living conditions.

Media Enquiries: Contact Hlengiwe Nhlabathi-Mokota, Spokesperson to Minister Kubayi on 064 754 8426 or Nozipho Zulu: Head of Communications on 078 457 9376

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

Press Release Date: 
Friday, May 12, 2023