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The Free State HDA office conducted a provincial roadshow from 3 to 7 June and travelled throughout the province, hosting workshops with all municipalities. The purpose of the roadshow was to provide information about the Agency’s services being provided in the province.

The roadshow took place inall four districts and targeted senior municipal officials responsible for housing, integrateddevelopment, infrastructure and town planning.The objectives of the workshop were to:

• Identify the land needs and scale of informal settlements per district
• Obtain information for forward planning and budgeting by the Department of Human Settlements

“The workshops were organised per district in aneffort to consult, keep track of developments andunderstand the needs of municipalities coupledwith improving integrated human settlement delivery,” explains HDA programme manager Mosima Mehale.

Tumelo Kumalo represented the Free State Departmentof Human Settlements, and district officials alsoparticipated in the workshops.

The HDA made various presentations covering the HDA and our services, informal settlement upgrading support, programme planning and project pipeline support work, and land assemblyand management.

The municipalities made presentations thatcovered housing needs (backlogs and waitinglists), informal settlements, planned projects over the medium term period, and land needs.The challenges facing the municipalities are unusual in some instances involve the invasion of vacant land by churches.

For the most part,however, there were no surprises in terms of challenges, which were identified as:

• A lack of capacity to enforce municipal bylawsand land use management schemes
• Delays in the transfer of title deeds to beneficiaries
• Delays in deregistration of abandoned sites
• Delays in the finalisation of townshipestablishment in the province
• The integration, alignment and co-ordination of human settlement work

The municipalities were clear about the assistance they required, and areas covered included:

• Revision and/or development of housing sector plans
• Review and alignment of SDFs to Integrated Development Plans
• Funding for infrastructure and pipeline projects
• Development of business plans for accreditation, land identification and acquisition, land transfer from tribalauthorities, informalsettlement upgrading,emergency housing and project implementation

There is clearly a need to establish a Provincial Human Settlements Forum for municipalitiesin the Free State province, in order to share information and provide guidance and supporton an ongoing basis.

We will be undertaking a similar process in Limpopo to ensure a strong relationship in municipalities. During the sessions with municipalities we will provide feedback on the work being done by the Agency under the umbrella and with the support of the province.