26 June 2013

Housing and water affairs matters are interrogated in this month's released records

SAHA’s Freedom of information Programme has had this month several records released from the various government departments and municipalities. The records were released in response to the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) requests sent to them.

While disappointed that not all information is provided, SAHA's Freedom of Information Programme remains active in making PAIA requests to obtain and publish information to allow South Africans to actively assert and defend their Constitutional rights.

This month SAHA has obtained and made available information in relation to:

• water augmentation and development in Mokolo/Crocodile and Olifant,
• housing ownership in the Western Cape, and
• integrated transport systems in the City of Ekerhuleni.

Department of Water Affairs
South Africa is a water scarce country that imports large quantities of water from neighbouring Lesotho.
In an effort to address this dependence and in order to develop appropriate infrastructure, government has announced two water projects: the Mokolo and Crocodile water augmentation and the Olifants river water resources development projects.
In his State of the Nation address, the South African President indicated that these projects are well underway and should be complete in the next financial year.

In order to enable the assessment of the progress of delivery of those important infrastructure projects, SAHA submitted a PAIA request to the Department of Water Affairs requesting relevant report on the projects. In response to this request, SAHA received a 38 page document reporting on the progress of the projects.

The report gives a background of the current status of the projects, budget allocated and spent, employment opportunities created as a result of the projects and the projected project time lines. This report also details services providers tasked with carrying out the projects' objectives.
For affected communities and other interested parties, this report provides an important source document on the progress of the projects, and provides necessary information to hold the government and providers accountable for the delivery of water to the local communities.

Department of Human Settlements
As part of 2012/2013 housing sector training, SAHA asked the Department of Human Settlements for records that addressed the issue of municipal owned rental houses that will be transferred to lessers/ renters for ownership. The request was sent to the national department of housing.
SAHA is disappointed to note that to date, only the Western Cape Human Settlements Rental Housing Tribunal has responded to this request.
However, SAHA has obtained a 48-page policy document from the Tribunal that provides guidelines on how to address issues around moving from renting housing to ownership. The document offers useful guidance for those needing to understand the process to redress their housing concerns.

Ekurhuleni municipality
Historically, cities and municipalities across South Africa have not had integrated transport systems in place. Various modes of transport have been operating independently of each other leading to complexity and difficulties for users, and resulting in inefficiencies for all involved.
In a bid to address this issue, various municipalities plan to introduce integrated transport systems, linking taxis, buses and trains.
In order for local communities to understand, assess and provide input to the plans by municipalities, SAHA submitted a PAIA request to three municipalities that plan integrated transport systems, namely: City of Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and City of Cape Town.
Disappointingly, to date, only City of Ekurhuleni has released a document related to its plans to build an integrated transport system.
The 8-page document released by the City of Ekurhuleni details the various construction works in progress to integrate the different modes of transport such as buses, taxis and trains.

The report gives an account of all construction work taking place in the Ekurhuleni municipality. It also details the construction company in-charge of each phase of the project, the budget allocated, the budget spent and duration of each project and also the plans for the Bus Rapid Transport system (BRT).

Materials released can be found at SAHA's collection Freedom of Information Programme (AL2878) under the respective call numbers:

Department of Water Affairs


Department of Human Settlements


Ekurhuleni municipality