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The Zanemvula project in the Eastern Cape won best priority award at the Eastern Cape leg of the Govan Mbeki Human Settlement Awards ceremony on Tuesday 24 April. The HDA was appointed by the Eastern Cape Province as implementing agent on the project. The event was attended by Nicholas Tsewu and Ivan Steneveldt from the HDA's Port Elizabeth office. Mr Tsewu, HDA's Zanemvula Operations Manager, is thrilled with the award and says “finally the HDA’s hard work and delivery on the project has been recognised”. He is optimistic that Zanemvula will also win best priority project at the national awards. And there is no reason why it shouldn’t win at the national level – after all the project is delivering attractive, quality houses, innovations such as rainwater tanks, solar geysers and wind turbines, a state-of-the art community centre, making a difference in the lives of vulnerable people, and contributing to the of building sustainable communities. As a beneficiary was overheard saying “the Zanemvula houses are like bonded houses”.

The assessment criteria used for this category is rigorous and the Port Elizabeth team must be congratulated not only for winning but for getting the submission together. The team had to demonstrate that the project is on course to meet the objectives; indicate how the project has so far contributed to outcome 8; indicate cumulative number of houses completed, approved by all relevant authorities and occupied by beneficiaries  since the date of the project approval by the provincial department; indicate number of aged beneficiaries, disabled beneficiaries, temporary jobs created and average duration of employment, permanent jobs created and details thereof; provide details of skills training, emerging businesses, LED projects, social amenities built to date; provide evidence that all land parcels have been secured, all environmental requirements have been met, that the capacity of bulk infrastructure is adequate, that the project, as well as all the houses have been enrolled in NHBRC, that all required skills for implementation of project are available, that province monitors the project, and that regular steering committee meetings and technical task team meetings are held regularly. Finally provide details of technological innovations.

Bosco Khoza, HDA N2 Gateway Operations Manager, was chosen to be a part of the task team for the national leg of the awards. He explained that “the purpose of the Govan Mbeki Human Settlements Awards (GMHSA) is to showcase, recognise and demonstrate excellent work done by work done by the National Department of Human Settlements, honour the role players in the housing value chain, promote best practices and create healthy competition amongst Provinces”. The Awards are also a tool to monitor service delivery with special emphasis on Outcome 8.

As was highlighted at the Eastern Cape event by the Head of Department, Gaster Sharpley, in his vote of thanks to Ma Mbeki, the Awards were named after Govan Mbeki in 2006 to honour the role he played in human settlements – a role that saw the partnering of key stakeholders to build a nation free of inequity.

The awards are judged at both provincial and national level. Five categories are currently being awarded at provincial level and this will be followed with seven at the national awards. Five other worthy recipients will receive merit awards from each MEC while another five will receive the same from the Minister at the national awards ceremony.

The categories at provincial level are: Best Priority Project; Best Informal Settlements Upgraded; Best Rental Stock Project; Best People’s Housing Process Project; and Best Finance Linked Subsidy. The MEC merit awards are: Best Contractors Project in the Non-subsidy Market; Project Accredited municipalities; Students who were awarded bursaries and have completed their studies and due for placement in the Department; Best Women Contractor; and Project Best Youth Contractor. The national awards include the same categories as the provincial awards with the addition of Best Provincial Department in Performance Delivery and Best Metropolitan Municipality.