Public Protector will investigate Vulindlela project

2011-08-11 00:00

PUBLIC Protector Thuli Madonsela will be investigating the controversial R2 billion Vulindlela housing project in Edendale.

She has received two formal complaints about the project.

The one is in the form of a 400-page dossier from the Democratic Alliance Co-operative Governance spokesperson, George Mari. The other is from community members.

Mari yesterday welcomed the Public Protector’s involvement, saying he believes the Department of Human Settlement and the developer are using the enhanced people’s housing process (EPHP) as a front in an effort to subvert proper tender procedures.

He said the EPHP promoted community involvement in residents’ own housing projects.

However, in this case the Vulindlela Housing Association (VDA) — made up of the five amakhosi of the area who initiated the project — awarded the entire contract to a politically connected private shareholding company, Dezzo Holdings.

Cameron Brisbane, a member of the EPHP national reference group, said the policy was designed for the housing beneficiaries — and not the amakhosi — to drive the project .

“I am on record as saying that clearly things were fundamentally wrong and needed an agency with the capacity to carry out a forensic audit.

Sureshinee Govender, spokesperson for KZN MEC for Human Settlements Maggie Govender, said the MEC has reiterated her position that the department has no difficulty with the intended investigation and will co-operate fully.

The Public Protector’s spokesperson, Kgalalelo Masibi, confirmed that an investigation has been requested, but could not provide more details as Madonsela was on her way to Pietermaritzburg for today’s panel discussion at the City Hall.

The discussion is to invite feedback from the public about the work of her office.

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