Vulindlela: residents demand transparency

2011-07-15 00:00

YESTERDAY the community of Sweetwaters marched from Sweetwaters Stadium along Mbubu Road mobilising residents in the area to support their call to block the R2,1 billion Vulindlela housing project until their demands for transparency have been heard.

The marchers gathered to hand over a petition to the KZN Human Settlement Department

The petition set out their concerns about implementation of the Vulindlela rural housing development project by the Vulindlela Development Association (VDA) and to recommend that the department immediately intervene and suspend the project “until concerns are resolved”.

Richard Ntuli, a former councillor in the area, said: “The community must understand that this is not about political parties because we are here as the people of this area who belong to different political organisations.”

He said they are calling for the indunas to stop asking people to pay R800 for RDP houses.

“We are fighting for our area to be properly developed because when this initiative was started I was involved with eight other Vulindlela councillors for the purposes of developing our neighbourhoods.”

The community’s chief concerns are said to be: the lack of institutional arrangements by VDA, which has been entrusted with running the R2,1 billion contract; VDA has not yet established proper working offices; VDA has no working structure that is known to the community; VDA has no area-based project managers for project co-ordination; VDA has no working policies; VDA has no procedures in place to advertise formally for vacancies; VDA is not organised and its capacity is questionable.

Xolani Ndlovu, a community member, said: “There have been no community facilitation meetings and the existing project steering committee was not nominated by the community.”

He said the community as a beneficiary did not participate in a specification development process. “We were not involved in designs of the show houses’ top structure, which are the only two design options offered for the entire project. There is a conflict of interest for amakhosi who are acting as both developer and community leaders.”

Ndlovu said there is excessive engagement of external service providers in the project. “There are no proper tendering procedures. There are no formal public tender notices.”

The petition was received by Human Settlement regional manager Thokozani Magagula on behalf of the head of department, Gabi Gumbi-Masilela.

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