Remarks by the Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi,SONA Debate

13 February 2024

His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa
Deputy President Paul Mashatile
Presiding Officers
Cabinet Colleagues
Honourable members
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good Afternoon

When the ANC government came into power 30 years ago, it undertook to build a new country that is based on equality, fairness and prosperity for all. Fundamentally, the ANC understood that moving away from apartheid did not only mean protection from unjust laws, but it also meant breaking all the pillars of apartheid of which spatial configuration was one. Inspired by the Freedom Charter that stated that in the new South Africa that the African National Congress sought to build, “There shall be houses, security and comfort”. Our government adopted policies that allowed for the provision of houses for the poorest of the poor. Thus far, our government has already restored the dignity of many people and it will continue to do so by providing them with a dignified shelter.

Our government further understood that “A house is made of walls and beams, but a home is built with love and dreams”. It is for this reason that our housing policy has shifted since 1996, so that we could provide the majority of the people in this country with sustainable human settlements that are closer to economic opportunities and social amenities which enables them to fulfil their dreams in homes filled with love, health, safety and happiness.

Mr President, in your State of the Nation Address last week, you narrated a story of a child of democracy, Tintswalo – that “Tintswalo’s formative years were spent in a house provided by the state, one of millions of houses built to shelter the poor.” Indeed, under the leadership of the ANC government, the number of formal households grew from 5.2million in 1996 to 15.8million in 2022. Households living in traditional dwellings has, likewise, significantly reduced since 1996, with over 1 million fewer households living in traditional dwellings in 2022, as compared with 1996.

Whilst there can be no doubt that government has built millions of houses through the RDP programmes, it has also built thousands of units of social housing, rectified housing defects, provided housing material to individuals households and contributed significantly to cases of emergencies and disasters.

Honourable members,

Of the 10,6 million additional households now living in formal dwellings, 4.8 million households were provided with formal houses by the ANC government. In terms gender, we are also proud to state that 1.9 million houses were given to women beneficiaries. For example, late last year, we handed over a newly built home to Mme Ela Thabane from Bela-Bela in Limpopo, who had been living in a shack for more than 15 years. In her own words, Mme Thabane said she was “grateful to receive a house from my government as “I will now live comfortably and feel safe”.

Last week, the President called on all of us to join the fight against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) which has been characterised as the second pandemic. The provision of houses to women has gone a long way in helping women fight GBVF. A woman who owns a house and has security of tenure does not have to be trapped in an abusive relationship that often ends in femicide.

For this reason, we have also intensified our title deeds release programme to ensure security of tenure and provide economic asset to the beneficiaries. When we handed over a title deed to Mme Mabel Sokgopa – a City of Tshwane resident and one of many beneficiaries under MAWIGA (Mabopane, Wintervelt and Garankuwa), it was very moving to hear her say to us: “Today I finally got my title deed which I have been longing for, for many years. Similarly, when we handed over a title deed to 100 Shallcross residents, among them, 90-year-old Ms Kamalatchy Pillay and 87-year-old Ms Jusodhra Prakash, she said “it was an exciting moment for me after receiving the news of being a homeowner at this age. She moved to that house 40 years ago during the Group Areas Act movement.

Stories such as these are clear demonstration that “We are not passive observers of our history. We are its authors.”

Honorable members,

Not only have we provided housing to women, but we have also embarked on a women empowerment programme through procurement. You will recall that to mark National Women’s Day in 2020, President Ramaphosa announced government’s plans to expand women’s access to economic opportunities by setting aside 40% of public procurement for women-owned businesses. For our part as the Human Settlements Department including our entities, we have made major inroads in implementing this policy. For the 2023/24 financial year, the initial Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) total available amounted to R13.2 billion and the 40% set aside target for companies owned by designated groups amount to R5.3 billion. When we meet the target, women stand to benefit a total of R10 billion from our portfolio.

As of 30 September 2023, allocations and awards to designated groups contractors against the 40% set aside, amounted to R1.777 billion across seven Provinces – with Limpopo and North West provinces already exceeding the 40% target. This means that by the end of the financial year, this amount will be higher than it is currently.

In the 2020 State of the Nation Address, the President spoke about “The social housing programme to build rental housing for low-income families…, which could leverage as much as R9 billion of private investment in the construction of 37 000 rental apartments.”

Again, I am pleased to report that working in partnership with Infrastructure South Africa, launched under this administration, the Social Housing Regulatory Agency (SHRA) has increased the pipeline of social housing projects, some which are complete and some still in the pipeline. Projects in Social Housing includes the following:

  • Three projects in Western Cape
    • Goodwood Station valued at R464 million, with 1055 units in Cape Town.(completed).
    • Maitland Mews valued at R94 million, with 204 units (completed).
    • Paarl Mountain Ridge Project valued at R167 million, with 362 units.
  • Eight projects in Gauteng
    • Riverside Mews Phase 3 and 4 valued at R 531 million, with 1108 units (to be completed in October).
    • Lufhereng valued at R184 million, with 407 units (completed).
    • Fochville valued at R105 million, with 258 units (completed).
    • Sondela Social Housing Project valued at R 60 million, with 177 units in Germiston, (completed).
    • Germiston Ext 4 Project valued at R99 million, with 201 units (completed)
    • Jeppestown Social Housing Project valued at R33 million, with 94units (completed).
    • Joe’s Place Social Housing Project valued at R17 million with 43 units (completed).
    • Grand Central Towers valued at R412 million, with 990 units.
    • Wynberg project valued at R 398 million, with 900 units.
  • Two projects in Kwazulu-Natal
    • Hospital Street Social Housing Project valued at R388 million, with 1056 units in New Castle (54% completed).
    • Bridge City Project valued at R302 million, with 738 units.
  • Northern Cape
    • Hull Street Social Housing Project valued at R144 million, with 600 units in Kimberly (40% complete).
  • Mpumalanga
    • Kwandokhuhle valued at R193 million, with 492 units in Gert Sibande (32% complete).

Honorable members,

Yesterday, I had an engagement with CBOs, NGO and CSOs here in the Western Cape who were appealing to national government to protect and provide services. They narrated how they live in a city that doesn’t care about them. Similarly, I went to Nomzamo community, they narrated the conditions they live in, where rubbish is not collected. They were determined to show that, we must not be fooled that this is a well-run city nor province.

With regards to our policies, we have adopted the principle of continuous improvement in response to the ever-evolving housing market and demand. We are currently in the process of public consultation on the Draft Human Settlements White Paper that will replace the 1996 Housing White Paper. The Draft Human Settlements White Paper makes proposals on the creation of integrated human settlements that are responsive to modern trends, such as climate change, new innovations in building technologies, deepening women empowerment, among others. We have heard the cries of women who today find themselves homeless because they are kicked out of the homes co-owned with their husbands because of divorce, or GBV and are consequently excluded by policy from ever receiving a government subsidized house, regardless of their income level. Our new policy will make this right.

In the words of Tata Madiba, as he reflected after ten years of democracy: “Much has still to be done before we can claim that a better life for all has been achieved in our country.

Unemployment, poverty and [inequality]…remain with us as daily reminders of the depth of the challenges ahead… It is not to minimise those challenges or the suffering of people that we can state, though, that as a nation we face the future with our dignity restored and intact.”

Honorable members these words still ring true today.

I thank you