DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

The DHS is a national department. It is responsible for housing and urban development. Section 26 of the Constitution states that:

“(1) everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing.

(2) the State must take reasonable legislative and other measures within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realization of this right”.

The Housing Act 1997 provides that the ‘Minister of Human Settlements’ determines the national housing policy, housing programmes and funding by means of legislation and the Housing Code. The Act determines that the main goal of the DHS is to introduce housing programmes that provide access to adequate housing for poor households. In 1994, the ‘Housing Programme’ underwent major revisions. In the ‘Comprehensive Plan for Sustainable Human Settlement’ the focus shifted to improving the quality of housing and housing environments by integrating communities and settlements. Additionally, it established a number of minimum standards for housing products, thereby improving privacy and sustainability by providing for the development of a range of social and economic facilities in housing projects.

DHS as a national department works in co-operation with the provincial governments and the municipalities. The provincial governments have their own Human Settlements departments. There is a clear separation of roles and responsibilities: the national department is responsible for the macro planning (the coordinating of policies and programmes, legislative initiatives, monitoring and funding) and the provincial human settlement departments, in cooperation with the municipalities, are responsible for the implementation of the programmes, policies and legislation developed by the DHS. DHS was nominated as a ‘best practice’ department in the KPA (Key Performance Area) ‘Strategic Management’ with a score of 4 in the performance area of ‘Monitoring and Evaluation’ (M&E).

The goal of this case study is to understand the success factors and to extract the best practices in the Monitoring & Evaluation area.

Oriented results of effective citizen service deliveries cannot be achieved without effective cooperation between the national departments, the provinces, the municipalities and various external organisations. The creation of the ‘Project Management Unit’ at the DHS, which supervises the housing projects, is identified as a best practice, as it helps to ensure transparency and expedient project delivery. The bottom-up planning, starting from provinces and municipalities and coordination at the national level, requires the division of tasks and a clear allocation of responsibilities between the national and provincial level in order to become effective. Specific best practices found at the DHS are the structure and oversight provided by the DHS in the form of templates, the Housing Subsidy System, financial monitoring and supervision by various committees. The input of the communities through ‘citizen surveys’ and ‘complaint procedures’ play also a significant role in ensuring that the interests and needs of citizens are taken into account in the planning of human settlement activities. The ‘impact assessment mechanism’ stimulates further improvements on the basis of a long-term vision of the department and the sector as a whole. read more