Public Protector in low-costing housing firing line

2015-09-17 06:00

THE South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) is demanding answers­ from the office of the Public Protector, after a low-cost housing project has been stalled for six years at Unit 13’s Phase 4 area.

Sanco member Dumisani Mthalane said the organisation is demanding answers from Public Protector Thuli Madonsela after she visited the area in 2010 and promised to investigate the matter, but has still not come back with her findings.

In 1998, a housing project, consisting of wire-wall houses, was started in the area however, in 2008 the KZN Department of Human Settlements demolished the houses after they were found to be hazardous. In 2009 a tender to build double-storey, low-cost houses was awarded to Amawele Construction, but the project did not continue.

“Although transit camps were built to accommodate people while the project continued, people had to move out after being bitten by rats. Since 2009 people have been renting houses after their homes were demolished.

“Despite several marches to the then MEC for Human Settlements Maggie Govender and former Premier, Dr Zweli Mkhize, about the housing problems in the area, the situation has never changed. As an organisation we then approached the office of the Public Protector and Madonsela visited the area in 2010.

“In 2013 the national minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Pravin Gordhan, had a meeting with the new MEC for Human Settlements, Ravi Pillay, and there was a promise that the project would resume within three months, but it didn’t.”

Mthalane said they are concerned that the Public Protector has presented findings of recent investigations, while they have been waiting for five years.

“We are concerned that the Department of Human Settlements had awarded a tender to a constructor and had initiated the construction of these houses, meanwhile there was no budget.

Department of Human Settlements and Public Works spokesperson Mbulelo Baloyi said:

“The Department has already set in motion the process of completing the said project in the said ward. Together with Msunduzi Municipality, the department has facilitated the appointment of Fairfield Project as the Implementing Agent to oversee the construction of the outstanding houses. Early last month MEC Pillay visited the area to check on progress particularly the construction of the the decant units or temporary housing and he was satisfied with the progress made.

“We are aware that the community is seeking an audience with the MEC so that it can be explained to them as to where the process is.”

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