Parliament, Wednesday, 8 July 2020 – The Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, and the Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Water and Sanitation and Human Settlements have welcomed the reallocation of R300 million to provide rental relief support to social housing institutions during the State of National Disaster.
“The reallocation will go a long way in alleviating financial pressures faced by households during this period, and will ensure the sustainability of a roof over the heads of many South Africans, especially the most vulnerable,” said Mr China Dodovu, the Chairperson of the Select Committee.
Similarly, both committees welcomed the further R300 million reallocation in order to provide debt relief support to borrowers in the affordable rental housing sector. Both committees are convinced that the reallocations are necessary. Both committees have called for the speedy finalisation of the operational framework for rental relief for households living in social and affordable housing, to enable approval by the Minister.
Meanwhile, both committees have emphasised the need for the Department of Human Settlements, in collaboration with provincial governments, to ensure adherence by municipalities to the regulation that prohibits evictions during the State of National Disaster.
Both committees have highlighted that it has been worrying to witness countless evictions across the country that compound the challenges already faced by many communities, especially the poor. Similarly, both committees have cautioned communities against the illegal occupation of land with the intention to abuse this regulation.
However, both committees have raised concerns about the reduction by R377.82 million of the Title Deed Restoration Grant but were not surprised because of the underperformance of the grant. The committees had earlier this year forewarned that the underperformance was worrying while its impact is being felt beneficiaries who remain without title deeds to their properties. The committees are aware that a reduction in the number of title deeds is to be anticipated, but have called on the department to use this time to devise strategies on how it will improve performance post-Covid-19.
Regarding the Department of Water and Sanitation, the committees have called for a speedy process for the approval of municipal business plans for Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grants, and Water Services Infrastructure Grant projects to ensure that the projects have the necessary impact in the short-term.
To ensure sustainability of water supply, the committees welcome the assurance that part of the reallocated funds will also be used to implement source development or bulk linkage projects to replace the need for water tankering, and sustain the supply of water post the tankering period. Both committees have always emphasised the undesirability of water tankering as the practice is susceptible to manipulation and corrupt practices.
Despite this, the committees welcome the allocation of R200 million for water tankering for the 2020/21 financial year as an intervention to ensure water availability during the lockdown period. “But emphasis should be that in the medium- to long-term, tankering should be completely erased as a means of water provision. We need a sustainable method of water provision,” said Ms Machwene Semenya, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee.
Both committees will, following the approval of revised Annual Performance Plans and Medium Term Strategic Framework of both departments, engage to assess the overall impact of the adjustments on set targets.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, WATER AND SANITATION, MS MACHWENE SEMENYA, AND THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS, WATER, SANITATION AND HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, MR CHINA DODOVU.
For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact the Committees’ Media Officer:
Name: Malatswa Molepo (Mr)
Parliamentary Communication Services
Tel: 021 403 8438
Cell: 081 512 7920
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