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Today, Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements, Tertuis Simmers tabled the Provincial Department’s budget for the 2022/23 financial year in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP).

The following are extracts from the themed speech, “A Budget with Opportunities For Youhttps://www.westerncape.gov.za/speech/human-settlements-budget-vote-8-2022-2023

From the outset, I’d like to make it known that the 2022/23 human settlements budget of 2-billion, 414-million and 805-thousand, is a budget with An Opportunity FOR YOU.

This means that just as in the past, and more so moving forward, this budget’s primary purpose is to ensure that the lives of our people are improved.

 

HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES

As a department that is mandated with the delivery of human settlements, and this being integrated human settlements, I’m pleased to inform this House that during the 2022/23 financial year, 11 210 housing opportunities will be delivered. This will consist of 2 747 sites and 8 463 top structures

Over the last few days, the National Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi announced various revised subsidy quantums as it pertains to both the Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) and the Informal Settlement Upgrade Partnership Grant (ISUPG). These will take effect on 1 April and given the increases in these quantums, it will have an impact on our targets which will have to be adjusted downwards. 

Speaker, it is important to point out that the majority of our projects are continued from previous years and the bulk capacity would have been taken into account when they were approved. Bulk infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges we face, and it is an inhibiting factor when it comes to “new projects”.

Now as a forward-thinking and solution orientated Government, we view every challenge as an opportunity. It is for this reason, that I am pleased to inform this House that the numbers will be increased in the wake of our advanced planning to unlock opportunity.

FLISP

There has been a huge demand for FLISP in the Western Cape. In fact, 3 695 applications have been approved by my department, since April 2020 to date. This was against a target of 1 800 between the 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years.

For the 2022/23 financial year we aim to assist 1 478 people.

We welcome the policy amendments to the Financed Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP), that has now been delinked. This means that it is no longer just a mortgage only option, but other sources of finance may be utilised to acquire a property, and applicants with a household income of between R 3 501 – R 22 000 can access FLISP or as it’s now called, ‘Help me buy a Home.’

These include:

  1. Housing loans granted or guaranteed by a pension and provident fund.
  2. Unsecured housing loans from any registered lender.
  3. Housing loans granted or guaranteed by cooperative- or community-based savings scheme or stokvels as they’re commonly known.
  4. Housing loans supported by employer-based schemes.

This is a significant shift and a game changer for the affordable housing market. We regard this overhaul as a true victory for all citizens, but more so for residents of this province, as we’ve been advocating for these amendments for a very long time already.

We’ve already experienced an influx of queries and applications, and for this reason we have streamlined our processes to ensure there are no delays when we commence on 1 April.

SOCIAL HOUSING

Speaker, in die Kaapse Metro het ons verskeie voorbeelde van suksesvolle sosiale behuisingsprojekte. Hierdie sluit onder meer in Anchorage in Glenhaven, Bellville; Regent Villas in Mitchells Plain; Bothasig, en die Maitland Mews waar konstruksie onlangs afgeskop het. Duisende inwoners het reeds of sal eersdaags toegang hê tot bekostigbare behuising.

Over the next 5 years we will also see a number of further social housing opportunities in areas such as Woodstock, Salt River, Goodwood, Heideveld, Elsiesriver, Mitchells Plain and potentially Oranjezicht. It is important to note that these opportunities are at various stages along the development pipeline.

I am happy to add that the first non-metro Social Housing project, called Mountain Ridge in Dal Josafat, Paarl has been approved by the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA) and will provide 362 new Social Housing units. Construction is planned to commence early in the 2022/2023 financial year. Furthermore, there are a significant number of new projects in the pipeline in other non-metro Leader Towns such as Stellenbosch, George, and Mossel Bay.

We also welcome the National Minister’s announcement that the qualification criteria for household income have been amended from R1500 – R15 000 to R1850 – R22 000 gross monthly income. This will, amongst others, enable particularly young graduates and young couples who could not previously access housing opportunities, due to earning higher than the previously prescribed household income band, to access these opportunities.

Informal Settlements

The upgrading of our informal settlements continues to be a priority for us. In fact, we have identified 50 informal settlements for a variety of upgrade interventions through our ISUPG. This is anchored in a transversal and Provincial-wide informal settlement upgrading strategy to enhance, simplify, and accelerate informal settlement upgrading interventions through an innovative, people-centred, and partnership-based approach.

A critical point to make today, is that since 2016, Western Cape households have enjoyed the highest rate of access to services compared to the national average. The province currently has 958 informal settlements with 527 of those falling within the City of Cape Town region. All of the remaining 431 settlements across the province have been assessed, categorised, ranked, and prioritised per municipality via the Department’s Informal Settlements Database.

We’re particularly focused on incremental housing, and more so for residents in our informal settlements. This places us in a strategic position to eliminate the growing backlog for houses and for basic municipal services. Initially we conceptualised two options, and this has now increased to 4, which is being considered. One particular option that we’re leaning towards, is the provision of a site that has a starter house with a 40 square meter frame structure for future extension. Not discounting any of the others, but at this stage, we’re of the view that this option will make a significant impact in the improvement of the living conditions of those who are residing in informal settlements. The starter house consists of:

  • •        A total area of 20 sqm under roof and enclosure.
  • •        Bathroom enclosed with toilet and concrete floor –space for a shower.
  • •        Wash through for multi-purpose use with concrete floor.
  • •        Hard standing floor finish on balance of 40 sqm.
  • •        Ready Board only.

Just as with any of our programmes, this includes a set criteria.

INDIVIDUAL SUBSIDY

Speaker, allow me to also announce today that our Individual Subsidy applications will be opening on 1 April. You might’ve noticed the communication that was issued yesterday.

This subsidy is aimed at residents with a household income of between R 0 and R 3 500 and allows one to: buy an existing house; buy a house on a plot-and-plan basis, or to finish an incomplete house. The subsidy amount is just over R 200 000 and is paid directly to a seller, conveyancer, financier or contractor, depending on the case.

As there is a limited budget, assistance with this subsidy is only provided once a year and is allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis. Priority will be given to applicants who are elderly or have special needs, particularly people living with a medically certified disability. I’d therefore like to encourage those who would like to apply to urgently do so.

How this is also not assisting the poorest of the poor, only the uninformed so-called community activists and organisations that claim to represent communities would know.

OWNERSHIP

Title Deeds

Speaker, ownership is true empowerment and if there’s one opportunity I refuse to miss, then it’s the opportunity to assist our residents in becoming fully-fledged and legal owners of their properties. This is a privilege that many of our people never had in their lives.

For the 22/23 financial year, our aim is to empower even more residents through the handing over of a title deed. Despite the National Government stopping the Title Deed Restoration Grant, we will continue to hand over title deeds. In fact, we’ll place this powerful document in the hands of 10 150 qualifying beneficiaries during the new financial year.

EMPOWERMENT

Speaker, this year we are once again supporting the efforts of this Western Cape Government to get our people working. Through this budget, we will ensure that 1 000 jobs are facilitated within the build environment.

It does not stop there, because we will make sure that a combined minimum of 50% of the infrastructure grantsHSDG and the new ISUPG –  will paid to HDI contractors. Their empowerment and support is of utmost importance, as it is a known fact that these entities help to ensure that our people are employed.

TECHNOLOGY

Last Friday National Minister of Human Settlement Mmamoloko Kubayi addressed the media about some of the policy changes mentioned earlier. One of the items mentioned were: “Digitisation of the beneficiary list to make it more reliable, transparent, easily accessible and avoid fraud and corruption.”

This is commendable and a step towards the 4th industrial revolution, but once again it’s a leaf taken out of the book of the Western Cape, as we have launched our WCG App in March 2020 already. This App ensures that our citizens can easily access information on government housing assistance, and register for the first time, or update their details on the Housing Demand Database (HDD).

With our continued commitment to incorporate technology, we’re in the process of developing a mobile reporting app to enhance the reporting process that enables officials to report in real-time from the field; to digitise contract management documents on the MyContent system to allow for easy retrieval of documents such as agreements; to improve the Western Cape Housing Demand Database to enable municipalities to effectively manage the registration of housing demand by citizens, and to enhance the executive dashboard that reports on projects.

In the 2022/23 financial year, the focus will be on enhancing the interaction with citizens through digitising our Subsidy Application process with the focus on FLISP subsidies and the transfer of title deeds, as well as developing a Citizen Complaints System.

With this budget, we remain committed to accelerating human settlements delivery, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, resilient, safe and sustainable human settlements in an open opportunity society.