The Government of the Republic of Botswana took a decision to establish Single Housing Authority (SiHA) through Presidential Cabinet Directive CAB20 (B) 2010 on July 2010. The Directive approved the following:-
i. The establishment of SiHA
ii. The transfer of all housing implementation programmes to Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) as a single housing delivery vehicle
iii. Annual budgetary allocations to BHC to undertake the implementation of requisite low income housing and district housing projects.
The decision to establish a SiHA was prompted by the uncoordinated efforts by various stakeholders in delivery of housing and the need to separate housing provision from policy formulation. There are various institutions involved in housing delivery which include the Ministry of Lands through the Department of Housing, BHC, MLG and the private sector. The current housing delivery system is fraught with lack of effective implementation strategies, inadequate monitoring and evaluation to determine impact of the programmes, inadequate project monitoring which results in projects running over the years and delays in implementation of projects. The SiHA’s mandate is therefore to implement all public sector delivery programmes and to ensure that housing delivery initiatives across the sector are coordinated.
This mandate is consistent with the functions outlined in the BHC Act of 1971 which include provision of housing for sale and rental. It caters for the housing needs of Government and local authorities and carries out and makes arrangements for other entities to carry out housing schemes in the country.
Before implementation of the cabinet decision, a series of consultative workshops were done. On 11/08/2011 and 18/08/2011, consultative workshops whose objective was to develop models on the implementation of SiHA were held with Council Chief executives, mayors and/or chairpersons in Francistown for the Northern Region and Gaborone for the Southern Region respectively. Another consultative workshop with the aforementioned was held on 24 April 2012 in Gaborone. In addition, countrywide consultations with Councils are still ongoing.
The transfer of low income housing programmes (SHHA Home improvement and Turnkey Development Scheme) to BHC will not affect affordability in any way. The ceiling for SHHA and Turnkey will remain P45,000 and P60,000 respectively. The councils have since been requested to submit building plans of the turnkey projects, which will be submitted to BHC for construction.
There is no major departure from the way implementation of housing programmes is being done, hence officers in SHHA offices countrywide will not be affected. Currently, councils are both the implementer and the regulator of SHHA/ Turnkey projects. With the establishment of SiHA, BHC will be involved in the construction of the projects but the applications and assessments, signing of loans and collection thereof will be done by Councils. BHC as the contractor will provide technical assistance by carrying out site inspections while Council as the regulator ensures compliance with building standards. Upon completion, housing units will be handed over to council to pass on to beneficiaries and issue occupation certificates. There will therefore be minimal impact on current operations of existing structures at both MLH and MLG.
BHC has the capacity and is ready to undertake implementation of the 2012/2013 projects. The MLH will continue to capacitate BHC as and when the need arises. The implementation process will be closely monitored, and any risks and challenges will be addressed.