House Chairperson, hon Minister and Deputy Minister, the family of Human Settlements, entities of the department, Members of Parliament, comrades and friends, allow me to highlight one issue. As the ANC we know why there are Departments of Human Settlements and of Water and Sanitation. It is for this reason that the President of the ANC decided to split various departments.
Together, moving South Africa forward, the ANC supports Budget Vote No 31. [Applause.]
South Africa's Constitution places an obligation on the state to provide its citizens with access to adequate housing. As the custodian of the housing sector, the Department of Human Settlements has developed strategies, policies and programmes to ensure the progressive realisation of this right of South Africa's people. So, we are not confused!
The department's strategic plan for 2014-2019 was approved by Cabinet in June 2014. This plan is informed by the ruling party's election manifesto, the National Development Plan, NDP, and the Medium-Term Strategic Plan of the department. In order to respond to the ANC's election manifesto, the department's delivery priorities in the period ahead are expected to deal with the following, amongst other things: firstly, to ensure that all South African citizens live in decent and sustainable human settlements; secondly, to provide 1 million housing opportunities for qualifying households in urban and rural settlements over a five-year period; and thirdly, to accelerate the provision of basic services and infrastructure to all existing informal settlements.
In his state of the nation address, President Jacob Zuma highlighted the key strategic objectives of the Department of Human Settlements relating to human settlement. These objectives are to provide support to Moqhaka Municipality, which is the municipality where I come from, and the eradication of the bucket system and open toilets. That is a good idea.
The Minister indicated that her department has been leading an interministerial committee on sanitation, comprising the Department of Water and Sanitation and the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
The Minister also indicated that there are ongoing discussions between the Department of Human Settlements and the newly formed Department of Water and Sanitation. This is to ensure that this function, as it relates to housing provided by the government, remains with the Department of Human Settlements. We support this. We look forward to the progressive discussions on this matter.
Minister, the portfolio committee's concern is that in many provinces the issue of informal settlements remains a challenge. What is the department's plan to deal with communities that put up resistance in regard to the removal of people from informal settlements? We hope that the department will find a solution to deal with this challenge.
Chairperson, allow me to talk about the 2014-15 target plan for the department; which is the programme dealing with the eradication of the bucket system. This bucket system eradication programme grant was attained by slicing 5% off the grant over a period of two years. This amounted to R899 177 for 2014-15. For 2015-16 it amounts to R975 399 and is divided among all provinces. This is being allocated for a two-year period and will end in March 2016.
The department reported that this backlog stood at 280 000 buckets for the entire country. It set a target of 47 325 buckets to be eradicated for the 2014-15 financial year, and 51 377 for the 2015-16 financial year. The department also reported that it will undertake the eradication of the bucket backlog in 2016. [Interjections.] Just listen!
The department entered into service-level agreements with public entities in all provinces for the eradication of the bucket system. Three of these entities include the Housing Development Agency, which is here in Cape Town; Bloem Water, which is in my province of Free State; and Sedibeng Water, which is in the Northern Cape. We look forward to these agreements that should assist with this bucket system eradication challenge in all provinces.
We look forward to the political overview of the Minister as the political head of the strategic direction of the Department of Human Settlements. The Minister referred to the NDP by this government as the basic work of the department. It is important that the promises made to the people of the country, through the ANC's election manifesto, are fulfilled.
The Minister indicated that the department would go back to the Breaking New Ground plan - which is very important - and ensure that they deliver 1,4 million houses in the next five years. The Minister also informed the committee that according to the 2007 statistics, the department managed to deliver and provided 1,6 million houses since 1994, while the backlog is still high at 2,3 million.
The Minister committed the department to the delivery of 270 000 houses per year. That relates to 1,4 million houses in the next five years. [Interjections.] The Minister also informed the portfolio committee that the tabled strategic plan of 26 June 2014 was concluded before she joined the Department of Human Settlements and it is possible for it to be amended.
We look forward to working with the department as the Minister has invited members to make their input.
Let me also highlight the provincial allocations as reported by the national Department of Human Settlements.
Firstly, the main purpose of the Human Settlements Development Grant is to provide for the creation of sustainable human settlements.
Secondly, it is to create human settlements that enable and improve the quality of life of households. The Outcome 8 programme was reported as one which would facilitate and provide access to basic infrastructure, top structure and basic socioeconomic amenities, in order to contribute to the creation of sustainable human settlements. This will improve the rate of the employment and skills development target for 2014-15, which was to provide 58 O64 sites and 126 352 units.
In conclusion, let me say we welcome the initiative of the department and the Minister. We are guided by our revolutionary people's document, the Freedom Charter, which declares, "There shall be houses, security and comfort!" [Interjections.]