Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi has appealed to all incoming councilors to remember their oath of office and honour the principles of Batho Pele, regardless of the political parties they represent.
"Local government is critical to the delivery of human settlements and it is worrying that I have already received reports from members of the public about some of the new executives in municipalities who have decided to stop ongoing human settlements projects," Kubayi said.
Addressing the media on her department's work earlier today, the Minister reminded the new councilors that there are beneficiaries - including orphans, widows and the elderly - who are destitute and eagerly waiting for the completion of their houses.
"The Department of Human Settlements is responsible for a sector that is central to the service delivery system of our government and the restoration of dignity for the majority of South Africans. It is central to the elimination of the legacy of apartheid," Kubayi said.
The Minister said it is important that in dealing with human settlements, government makes good on the promise that it will work with all South Africans to deliver sustainable human settlements.
"Though government have made many breakthroughs and achievements in the sector, the sector has many challenges that we have to confront. When I joined the department three months ago, I made it a point to visit provinces so that I could engage with leaders in the provinces, visit projects and listen to beneficiaries."
So far, the Minister has visited seven provinces and is expected to visit the North West next week and the Western Cape in January 2022.
Kubayi said during her visits, she had been pleased to see that much has been achieved, many families have been granted access to decent shelter and there are men and women who are working very hard to make this possible.
"One of the highlights, was to meet Grade 7 and 8 women-owned companies in construction who are on the ground building houses for families. This is a practical demonstration of our government's intention to equalise the playing field by deliberately supporting women entrepreneurs and workers in our sector.
"I am delighted to announce that MinMec has approved 40% to be set aside for women in our sector and 10% for youth and 5% for people with disabilities," the Minister said.
Kubayi said she was disappointed by the number of projects that were incomplete with beneficiaries who have been waiting for their houses for 20 years or more.
"I was concerned about the poor workmanship that endangers the lives of beneficiaries, left behind by contractors who worked in collusion with government officials.
"It was heartbreaking to listen to would-be beneficiaries who we have been wronged one way or the other to an extent that they have lost confidence in our housing delivery system," Kubayi said.
The department, she said, will have to sharpen its systems so that they are properly geared to deliver housing opportunities for the majority of South Africans.
"The department has over the years drawn lessons from our practical experience in the sector, designed programmes and established institutions as interventions in the sector to put the system on a continuous improvement path," the Minister said.
In a bid to ensure effective service delivery, Kubayi announced the appointment of new boards for the five department's entities, which are Housing Development Agency (HDA), National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC), Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS), Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA) and the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA).
Collectively, the entities together with the national department, provincial departments and municipalities, form a human settlements delivery system which is critical for the implementation of the department's priorities.