Human Settlements Ombudsman appointed

19 May 2017

The Department of Human Settlements has established an Ombudsman Office to deal with issues of conflict between contractors, provinces and municipalities, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu announced on Thursday when tabling herR33.4 billion Budget Vote for the 2017/2018 financial year.

“With the Ombudsman Office, we are setting up a structure that will mediate, work with all stakeholders to resolve disputes and cut through red tape for the best interests of the human settlements sector as a whole,” Minister Sisulu explained.

She also announced that the department has appointed a Human Settlements Ombudsman, Themba Mthethwa, previously the CEO in the Office of the Public Protector and Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS).

The Ombudsman’s role is to deal with all complaints that either the construction sector or the general public may have against the department or any of its entities.

The Minister said the department will advertise for the position of a Deputy Ombudsman because of the enormity of the responsibilities.

Human Settlements Development Bank

The Minister also announced that the work of the amalgamation of the various financial entities has now been completed, and the Human Settlements Development Bank, which is established, will be launched on 19 May.

Minister Sisulu said the new approach will include more responsible participatory citizens, cleaner environments and non-citizens will not be allowed to own property intended for the alleviation of poverty for citizens.

She said they have established a National Rapid Response Task Team and the intention was that there should not be an informal settlement whose conditions they are not aware of.

“We intend to enhance the capacity of this team so that, working like the census, we can employ the youth of the area to help us document the challenges of that area.”

The Minister said that the department will prioritise the allocation of stands where they have land and encouraged South African citizens to move towards this option, wherever it is available.

Property Practitioners Bill

Minister Sisulu, meanwhile, said the Property Practitioners Bill has been published and invited the public to engage with the bill so “we can all be clear on how we achieve the transformation of the property industry.”

Human Settlement Bill

The Minister reported that a team has been established to drive this Human Settlement Bill, which the department expects to get passed before its next budget vote. 

“This is our primary bill that establishes legally the Human Settlements approach in line with our policies and the National Development Plan (NDP).

Read the latest issue

Latest Issue