Finger pointing on delayed Phumla homes project

2011-09-13 00:00

The R32-million Phumla Housing Development in Mooi River has left some community members without proper shelter for the past four months.

Residents claim that they were told to demolish their houses to make way for new RDP houses they were promised about four years ago.

A resident who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation said, “We were told to demolish our house because the construction company was going to start building in three day’s time. That was four months ago and that was the last time we ever saw a representative from the company.”

She said after they demolished their houses, some of them built temporary shacks while others decided to leave their plots vacant until their RDP houses are built.

When The Witness visited the construction site recently, only the walls of four show-houses were built while 60 foundation slabs had been laid.

Local Councillor, Xolani Duma said the project was awarded in 2007 but construction started last year.

“The budget has changed so I am hoping that the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Human Settlement can issue more funding because the cost of building materials have increased,” he said.

Mpofana Municipality Manager, Muzi Madlala said the project is in progress.

He said there was an issue that needed to be dealt with which impacted on the budget allocation.

The Director of Mageba Projects, the construction company that has the tender, Allan Gerber denied that some community members were asked to demolish their houses.

“We have paid R2 million towards this project without claiming a cent from the department,” he said. Gerber said their major challenge was the approval of beneficiaries.

“The sub-contractor that carried out work in terms of the services infrastructure had to leave the site due to threats, intimidation and violence by certain members of the community because they wanted only local sub-contractors to do the work.

Cases have been lodged with SAPS, in this regard,” said Gerber.

He said the dynamics of this project calls for a different approach to unblock certain issues, of which current housing policy does not cater for.

“We currently have a team on site proceeding with construction,” he added.

Attempts to get a comment from the department of Human Settlement were unsuccessful.

Several emails were sent but were not responded to.

thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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