South Africa: National Assembly to Consider Housing Bill

The Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements has adopted the Housing Consumer Protection Bill for it to be referred to the National Assembly for consideration.

The committee completed an extensive process to consider the Housing Consumer Protection Bill [B10-2021], which included public hearings conducted in three districts per province in all nine provinces, from 22 April to 6 November 2022.

The committee also conducted virtual public hearings on 9 November 2022, where it received oral submissions from the Master Builders South Africa (MBSA) and Development Action Group (DAG).

The Bill seeks to provide for the protection of housing consumers through the registration of home builders. It also provides for the enrolment of houses that will enable home builders to access the Home Warranty Fund and the process thereto. It also provides for the continuance of the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC), as the National Home Building Regulatory Council.

The Bill further provides for procurement and contractual matters in relation to the building of a home and provides for the enforcement of this Act.

Committee chairperson, Machwene Semenya, said the committee is of the view that passing the Bill into law will strengthen the home-building environment to the benefit of the consumers and will lead to building quality homes across the country.

Semenya said the extensive consultation process highlighted the need for the Bill to resolve challenges faced by the people in adhering to building standards.

“It must also be emphasised that the public participation process highlighted the great need for the National Home Builders Registration Council to enhance its processes and visibility to ensure greater monitoring of the home-building environment.

“But generally we are satisfied with the final product we have produced. Public participation remains a key pillar of the work of Parliament and is a constitutional obligation that the committee took seriously in adopting its programme to consider the Bill,” Semenya said.

Semenya said the public hearings were attended by 5 659 members of the public and various stakeholders across 27 district municipalities, and a total of 894 oral submissions were heard by the committee during these hearings.

“The committee appreciates the inputs received from all individuals and organisations that contributed qualitatively to the Bill. The massive contributions received empowered Members of Parliament to process this Bill and ensure that it is reflective of the lived experiences of the people,” Semenya emphasised.

While the process is complete, Semenya said the public participation process has underscored the need for focused and intensive oversight work on entities such as the NHBRC to ensure that they deliver on their mandate and protect the consumers, especially the poor.

“The committee will, as part of its oversight work, also explore and analyse the proliferation of poor quality building materials within the environment to find workable solutions, as these materials present an inherent risk to the people,” Semenya said.

The committee will table the report to the National Assembly for consideration and will propose that the House adopts and pass the Bill.

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