Sexwale, Zille, working closely on housing project

2010-01-28 14:20

HUMAN Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale is working closely with

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille to rectify mistakes made in the N2 Gateway

Housing (N2GP) Project.

“Helen and I are working very closely on this one,” Sexwale told

Parliament’s portfolio committee on human settlements today.

“We said with the N2 let’s bring everyone together. Let’s check how

the money is spent. Let’s make sure no money is sent back.

Let’s bring the city

close to [the] project.”

He and Zille, who he referred to as “my lady Zille” would work

together to “sort out” any red-tape issues that arose.

“We believe in being inclusive,” he said. “We don’t play politics

with the poor.”

The aim of the N2GP was to provide housing adjacent to the N2

Highway, between Bhunga Avenue near Langa and Boys Town in Crossroads, but the

project was plagued by irregularities and court challenges over evictions from

the informal settlements it was supposed to replace.

Sexwale said the N2GP was a pilot programme and that he wanted to

use the mistakes made in phase one as lessons for future housing projects.

“It is a pilot project. By definition every pilot project has

mistakes.

“We are using the mistakes, shortcomings of what happened in phase

one to improve other phases.”

He said his predecessor in the department, Defence Minister Lindiwe

Sisulu, was “brave” and should not be judged for the project’s mistakes.

“It was a pilot project. Don’t judge her on what happened. There

were mistakes.

“You had to be a visionary to put that thing on the ground when

there wasn’t sufficient budget in the ministry.”

Sexwale said the government had been taken to the cleaners by

“fly-by-night” RDP housing contractors in housing projects around the

country.

Sexwale said that around 40,000 RDP houses would have to come down

because of poor workmanship, and that he would lose roughly 10% of his budget to

rebuilding the houses.

“Imagine what we could have done with it,” he said.

“We don’t have proper oversight. Contracts are just given. There

are very good BEE companies, but there are few. The majority of these companies

have taken this government and all of us here to the cleaners.”

A pregnant woman was killed by one the poorly-built houses, he

said.

“She was caught while she was having a moment of privacy in the

toilet. She died with the baby.

“In KwaZulu-Natal, one boy died and two were seriously injured when

a house collapsed on them.”

Sexwale said he was working with Special Investigations Unit chief

Willie Hofmeyr to bring corrupt housing officials “to book”.

“We have already brought to book several thousands of people at

national government level, where beneficiaries of government officials became

fraudulent beneficiaries to houses,” he said.


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