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The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Machwene Semenya, has welcomed the recommitment by the Minister of Human Settlements,  Mmamoloko Kubayi to corruption-free service delivery, and the eradication of poor performance in the delivery of sustainable and impactful human settlements across the country.

The committee appreciates the strong emphasis on the eradication of corruption and poor workmanship. The effective functioning of the Human Settlements portfolio has been hampered by longstanding allegations of corruption within the entire value chain, illegal occupation of incomplete houses, manipulation of beneficiary lists, and in many cases slow and poor quality houses given to the people. The committee urged the department to introduce effective and efficient project management processes across the board to undercut the escalation of costs as a result of delayed projects.

“We welcome this re-emphasis on good governance which is the bedrock of quality service delivery. We remain cognisant that access to housing is a constitutional obligation that restores the dignity of the poorest of the poor in our country. As a committee, we have also committed to enhancing and focusing our oversight which is an enabler to quality service delivery,” Semenya said.

In line with this, the committee has resolved to give the Minister and the department some space to introduce initiatives aimed at unblocking stalled projects across the country. The committee will, within a reasonable time, assess whether the interventions are bearing fruit for the benefit of beneficiaries.

The committee has also highlighted the need for collaboration across all levels of government if the intentions of the DHS are to be achieved. Furthermore, the committee has underscored the need for comprehensive community engagement as well as transparency regarding beneficiary lists which will engender an environment of trust between the department and beneficiaries.

The swift appointment of various boards of entities reporting to the Department of Human Settlements is an appreciation of the need for good governance across the value chain. The committee welcomes the appointment by cabinet of the Board of Directors of the Housing Development Agency, Council of the Social Housing Regulatory Authority, Board of Directors of the National Home Builders Registration Council, Board of Directors of the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority, Board of Directors of the Community Schemes Ombud Service as well as the Board of Directors of the Construction Industry Development. The committee wished the boards well in the discharge of their responsibilities.

The committee has committed to focusing its oversight work towards ensuring that the delivery of quality human settlements and urban development is attained. One of the priority focus areas will be the oversight over innovative interventions to unlock blockages in the delivery of quality housing to the people.