Department of Human Settlements is fudging sanitation figures
Stevens Mokgalapa, Shadow Minister of Human Settlements
17 August 2012
The Department of Human Settlements (DHS) has been fudging delivery figures relating to the Rural Households Infrastructure Grant (RHIG). This was revealed today in a presentation by the National Treasury to the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements.
The RHIG is intended to accelerate service delivery by fast-tracking the eradication of rural sanitation backlogs targeted at existing households without access to water and sanitation. The terms of the grant, as outlined in the Division of Revenue Act, stipulate that the grant must be used in the construction of new toilets.
The DHS deliberately misled the portfolio committee by indicating a 98% delivery rate in 2010/11 and an 87% delivery rate in 2011/12. Treasury confirmed today that the delivery rate for 2010/11 was in fact 46% and that the rate for 2011/12 was 69%.
I will today be submitting parliamentary questions to Minister of Human Settlements, Tokyo Sexwale, to gain clarity on his department’s performance in implementing the Rural Household Infrastructure Programme. I will also be asking him what steps he will be taking to rectify his department’s under-delivery in this project.
It was also revealed that there has been gross under-spending of the RHIG. In 2010/11, there was under-spending to the value of R38.4 million. The under-spending for 2011/12 was R70.2 million. Treasury also highlighted exorbitant fees that have been paid to consultants in 2010/11, including:
• R37 million for programme management;
• R10 million for reviewing the White Paper on Basic Household Sanitation; and
• R15 million on a sustainability assessment.
Treasury has expressed its disappointment with regard to the implementation of projects funded through this grant.
The grant has been made available, but there is no certainty that the funds are being spent appropriately. With a current national sanitation backlog of 2.4 million, Minister Sexwale should be devoting his attention to speeding up the delivery of quality sanitation services to millions of South Africans. Clearing up the confusion around delivery rates of the RHIG will be a step in the right direction.