W Cape surpasses 2014/15 housing targets

Pretoria: The Western Cape Human Settlements Department has exceeded its housing delivery targets for the 2014/15 financial year.

The department tabled its annual report in the Western Cape Provincial Legislature on Tuesday. It obtained a clean audit and used its entire Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) of R 1 934 936 000 directly on delivering housing opportunities.

The HSDG is allocated in terms of the Division of Revenue Act and forms the bulk of the department's total infrastructure budget of R2.151 billion.

The delivery included 10 746 housing units against a target of 10 357, 7 014 service sites against a target of 6 211 and 1 046 other opportunities against a target of 1 015. In addition, 141 rental properties were transferred against a target of 100 and the number of debtors was reduced by 1 147 against a target of 700.

"We are clearly on the right track. We are exceeding our targets and utilising our entire grant, which shows we have turned this ship around and are sailing it in the right direction," said Western Cape MEC of Human Settlements Bonginkosi Madikizela.

He said their success was dependent on the capacity of municipalities to manage their human settlements function, which includes the planning, development and management of housing projects.

"The delivery was attained with a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and corruption as part of the Western Cape government's Anti-Corruption Strategy. During the financial year under review, 10 fraud and/or corruption investigations were completed by the Provincial Forensic Service, which demonstrates the department's commitment to clean governance."

Madikizela said they have faced a number of constraints including limited funding to address the provincial backlog of over 500 000 households, protracted planning processes due to legislative requirements, in-migration, land invasions, an increase in informal settlements and the scarcity of well-located and suitable land for housing.

Madikizela said the department is pursuing three strategic goals in the delivery of its human settlements mandate over the 2014 - 2019 period.

These include shifting more resources to upgrade informal settlements, to provide basic services to all and strengthening partnerships with the private sector in order to increase affordable houses for people earning above the free subsidy threshold.

The other goal is to pay more attention to the allocation of free subsidised state houses in order to prioritise the most deserving individuals, which are people over 40, people with disabilities as well as child-headed households.