Human Settlements Minister, 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.
Kubayi made the announcement during a Human Settlements Imbizo with informal settlement communities of Khayelitsha, Cape Town.
Kubayi and Deputy Minister Pam Tshwete convened a community imbizo, held at Tusong Multi-Purpose Centre in Khayelitsha on Friday, to provide feedback on the provision of basic services.
Addressing the community, including leaders from various informal settlements, Kubayi expressed her disappointment with the lack of progress in the provision of services, including 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.
Kubayi noted that in 2022, she had a meeting with leaders and representatives of the 16 informal settlements, however, commitments for improved living conditions made by the City of Cape Town since then, including other successive meetings by all spheres of government, have not yet been fulfilled.
R100m to speed up service delivery interventions
The Minister said in March 2023, she transferred an amount of R111 million to the City of Cape Town to speed up service delivery interventions.
She said the funds were specifically ring-fenced to provide the services for the 16 informal settlements and to address the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (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,” Kubayi said.
While some work has been done, the Minister said the City has not complied with the national standard of 1:5 ratio for the provision of container toilets.
The 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,” the Minister warned.
The Minister informed the community members that during the 2022/2023 financial year, the department allocated close to R550 million through the Informal Settlement Upgrading Partnership Programme (ISUPG), to help better the living conditions of people living in informal settlements in the City of Cape Town.
Delivering the 2023/2024 Budget Vote in Parliament last week Wednesday, Kubayi indicated that the departments has since 2019, upgraded over 1 200 informal settlements across the country, and this is against a target of 1 500 for the 2023/2024 Medium Term Strategic Framework.
She said 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.
Kubayi also informed 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.
Source: South African Government News Agency