ETHEKWINI NEWS FLASH
 
 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
 29 October 2019
 
Executive Committee Decisions
 
 CITY TO PARTNER WITH PRIVATE LAND OWNERS TO PROVIDE GAP HOUSING
 
 Private developers with their own land will be invited to partner with the City for the development of gap and affordable housing. This follows the tabling of a report at an Executive Committee meeting held today, 29 October.
 
 The report stated that the private developers will enter into partnership agreements to assist provide gap and affordable housing developments. This will assist in creating sustainable human settlements and improved quality of household life.
 
 The report stated that to date, eThekwini Municipality has delivered 194 794 RDP homes, 2 787 Community Residential Units with 23 000 rental units transferred to tenants. However, despite these efforts the housing backlog persists.
 
 Gap housing is a Human Settlements Programme which is enabled through the Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) which targets the population that is capable of producing income, which is classified as the economically active population who can afford to pay monthly bonds and rental payments. The FLISP was developed to enable first time home-ownership to households in the affordable or gap market, which are people earning between R3 501 and R22 000 per month.
 
 The report notes the rapid rate of urbanisation in the City, with the increase in urban population outpacing the economic development in the City resulting in a demand for safe, clean and affordable housing.
 
 The City cannot cope alone with the growing demand for gap and affordable housing with a need to forge strategic partnerships with the private sector which can provide an additional source of capital to meet the gaps. The report states that in utilising public-private partnerships, the City would be contributing to developing local private developers’ capabilities.
 
 In line with Supply Chain Management Policy, the first step is calling for expression of interest for private developers to partner with the City on their own land parcels for gap and affordable housing developments. Step two calls for proposals against the properties identified. This will allow the City to quantify the infrastructure costs against the expected yield and subsequently budget for these projects once feasibility and binding contracts have been signed.
 
 The report recommended that the Urban Settlements Development Grant be utilised for the infrastructure provision of services for the gap and affordable housing project. It further recommended that reduced planning fees be charged to private developers while stating that the Municipality would receive over time rates from these housing projects as well as receiving social dividends.
 
 CITY WORKS TO ADDRESS DISCIPLINARY CASES BACKLOG
 
 The strategy to be implemented to address the backlog of disciplinary cases arising from investigations and reports by the City Integrity and Investigations Unit (CIIU) was welcomed at an Executive Committee meeting held today, 29 October. EThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda also called for the Executive Committee to be updated every two months of progress made in addressing the backlog of cases.
 
 The CIIU investigates allegations of fraud and corruption as well as financial misconduct within eThekwini Municipality. The Unit produces investigative reports with relevant recommendations including recommending that employees be subject to formal disciplinary action.
 
These reports are submitted to senior line management for implementation. The tabled report said it was highlighted in the recent Internal Audit Report for 2018/19 under the finding of lack of consequence management, that there is a backlog of 300 CIIU investigative reports recommending disciplinary action which are unresolved.
 
 The report states that the Office of the City Manager has directed that a project team be appointed to formulate an action plan to deal with this backlog, to monitor the implementation of the plan and to produce a close out report that will include recommendations to prevent future backlogs. The project team comprises of representatives from CIIU, the Legal and Compliance Unit and the Human Resources Unit.
 
 Mayor Kaunda said space should be given to allow the committee to work and implement the plan. He said they must work with transparency and accountability as no official was above the law.
 
“We cannot go into the details of the cases as it could hamper parallel investigations being done by the police or Hawks. But I can assure you that no case will be suppressed with all cases following the correct course,” he said.
 
 CITY COMMITTED TO GOOD GOVERNANCE – ADDRESSES ISSUES RAISED IN AUDIT COMMITTEE REPORT
 
 EThekwini Municipality remains committed to good governance. This was reiterated by the tabling of a progress update report outlining Audit Committee issues raised at a previous Executive Committee meeting.
 
 The report, tabled at an Executive Committee meeting held today, 29 October, brought clarity on issues such as irregular expenditure, excessive overtime, water meter readings and ineffective human resource management among others.
 
 Action taken on some of the highlighted issues include;
 
• Irregular expenditure: An updated report on irregular expenditure has been submitted with the City Integrity and Investigations Unit (CIIU) investigating every case of irregular expenditure and submitting a report to the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC). MPAC will then be required to make recommendations regarding each item with CIIU following up to report on any consequence management emanating from the process.
 
• Overtime: A new Human Resources Information System that will cater for overtime scheduled, both planned and unplanned as well as the tracking and compliance with legislation and overtime spend reduction are some of the measures to reduce overtime. The Human Resources Unit will also provide overtime indices on a monthly basis. A City Managers Workshop was held earlier in October where a number of interventions were resolved with the Workforce Planning Committee tasked with formalising the recommendations and reporting back.
 
• Construction of houses without authority from the City: The matter has been referred to CIIU for further investigations.
 
• Water meters not read for a year: A desktop investigation is being conducted on these accounts and sent to site for further investigation to try and obtain readings. Where meters/connections are not found, which is the case in many instances especially rural, tracers are required. However, tracing is a slow process hence the resolution of these accounts will take much longer.
 
EThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda said: “The Committee has investigated the matters with some of them being sub judice. We must allow for processes to be followed. However, we will not tolerate that things have been done and there has been no consequence management taken.”
 
ENDS
 
 Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Acting Head of Communications Mandla Nsele.