The department of human settlements has an estimated 2.1-million problems, but at least its financial statements aren’t one of them.
Although it is nowhere near being able to provide houses to all those on waiting lists, the department of human settlements patted itself on the back this year because of the number of units it had built so far.
“Since 1994 till now, our government has built over four million houses and this makes South Africa the only such country in the world,” Minister of Human Settlements Nomaindia Mfeketo said in May.
But the department did not get an unqualified audit report in the auditor general’s final national and provincial outcomes report for 2017-2018.
The most concerning finding made by the auditor general was that the department could not provide sufficient evidence or information about its performance. It appears that the department’s record-keeping is in tatters, leaving uncertainty about what it had actually achieved during the year. The department’s major claims are to have acquired and released 3.3-million hectares of well-located land for new developments and 89 670 households have been upgraded in informal settlements. But auditor general Thembekile Makwetu said these claims could not be verified.
But he did find that the department’s financial statements were fair and reliable.
In Parliament, department officials admitted that the issuing of title deeds needs “serious attention”. In meeting summary notes, Parliament said the provincial departments do not take this issue seriously enough, which resulted in a poor performance.
With a budget cut of R10-billion for the next three years, the department may find itself grappling to reach its targets and to make a significant dent in the 2.1-million queue for housing.