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Human Settlements Department Shines Light on Expropriation Bill

July 10, 2019

Department of Human Settlements

10 July 2019

The human settlements department holds the view that the Draft Expropriation Bill will facilitate housing development by making more land available for development.

The human settlements, water and sanitation minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, mentioned this during the debate on the human settlements budget vote in parliament.

The minister expressed the hope that the legislative process for the proposed legislation will be fast-tracked.

“If the Bill is adopted as it currently stands, we would like to take advantage of the following proposed clause dealing with abandoned property, “where the owner of the land has abandoned the land”. We would like this definition to include hijacked buildings. We would like to expropriate these in order to create social housing,” she said.

In reference to land owned by the state or state-owned entities, the minister wants preference to be given to the department to develop human settlements and places of employment.

“We would also like to be given first reference to all state land in urban areas to create human settlements where we will be able to create communal urban areas, including parks, sports centres, multi-purpose centres, and economic areas for small business opportunities,” she said.

According to the minister, expropriation was necessary to achieving inclusive growth and ensuring that people live closer to places of work and have access to facilities in towns and cities.

“The need for the expropriation of land in urban areas is absolutely essential if we are to take advantage of these to build high density housing for our middle income clients and also to ensure that the huge divide amongst race and class are narrowed down,” she said.

The minister also pointed out that land in the Western Cape included in a 2009 agreement of alienation of ownership between the Housing Development Agency and the Western Cape provincial government, which, according to the minister, the Democratic Alliance reversed upon assuming office, will be expropriated.

Highlighting the role of the Human Settlements Development Bank, the minister announced that “at a wholesale level the bank will participate directly in the risk and funding of large scale development projects and programmes as well as facilitate and fund the requirements of housing finance intermediaries operating in the social and gap markets.”

An ICT Management Unit is also to be set up in the department with the necessary innovative software and technology to monitor projects.

“This will enhance our delivery and cut down on time to ensure that our structures are solidly built. In this unit all the vital delivery information will be gathered on a real-time basis that would improve the focus, productivity, prioritise initiatives, forecast delivery trends for effective coordinated planning, track identified risks with their mitigation plans, and guide our decision making to fast-track the delivery for houses, water and sanitation to our people.”