MEC takes tough line on housing

2009-07-29 00:00

THE long-standing complaint of poor quality housing and standards is to be tackled by new KZN MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works, Maggie Govender.

In her budget speech yesterday, Govender said her department cannot allow housing subsidies to be swallowed up in repairs and “rectification”. This is fruitless expenditure and would not have been necessary if the houses had been built properly in the first place.

She said she believes her department should also have its own monitoring unit to assess the quality, quantity, cost and delivery time of new houses independently of the National Home Builders’ Registration Council.

Corruption in low-income housing contracts will also come under the spotlight. Govender said this will enable her department to understand why projects are blocked and to improve systems while getting rid of corrupt officials and contractors.

Turning to the growing number of service delivery protests, the MEC said, “The expectations of our people are legitimate and we simply have to raise the pace of delivery. As the department of Human Settlements we are an affected party of these protests and we have the obligation to honestly examine whether we are fulfilling our mandate to the best of our ability,” she said.

Govender said her department is finalising a human settlements strategy that will be a departure from the mere provision of housing and will work towards the creation of sustainable communities with economic and social amenities.

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