Houses in sorry state

2015-07-02 13:58
DESMOND NTWANE, carrying seven-month-old Lionelle, shows how deep this rod can go into the crack that runs through his house in Lerato Park.  
Boipelo Mere

DESMOND NTWANE, carrying seven-month-old Lionelle, shows how deep this rod can go into the crack that runs through his house in Lerato Park. Photos: Boipelo Mere

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STILL remains a mystery to Desmond Ntwane (41) and other residents of Lerato Park in Kimberley as to why the cracks in the walls of their houses are being patched, while it is believed that the problem lies in the foundations of the houses.

Ntwane is one of the residents of Lerato Park whose badly cracked house is in the process of being patched with cement and a piece of fencing by the housing contractor concerned, the Motheo Construction Group.

Angry residents have prepared themselves for endless patching on their newly-built phase 1 houses due to what is said to be shoddy workmanship by the contractor.

However, Motheo Construction disagrees with accusations of shoddy workmanship and blames the cracks on sewage overflow.

The houses are reportedly falling apart in the first year after the project was launched.

During Express Northern Cape’s visit, Ntwane pointed to the loose tiles inside the house and explained that the cause was the leaking drains, of which two of the main holes were inside his yard.

He led the reporter to the front of the house, where a crack runs from the street and through his house’s foundation.

“How can they patch a cracked wall with cement and wire when the foundation is so terrible,” Ntwane asked.

According to Lettie Ndhlovu, the director at Motheo Construction, all repair work on the site was being carried out in consultation with the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (CoGHSTA).

She said they had regular interaction with professional engineers who were responsible for the foundation design, as well as with the community leadership.

Ndhlovu explained that the foundations were designed and built in accordance with the findings of the geotechnical report and the structural design of a professional engineer.

However, the design did stress the need to minimise the accumulation of water in and around the structure, to reduce the swelling of soil under the foundation.

“There is a serious need to address the malfunction of the sewerage treatment plant that is receiving the sewage from the development,” Ndhlovu said.

“Recently, the municipality utilised mobile sewerage tanks to clean the over-flowing sewerage system at Lerato Park, which resulted in ponding around the houses.

“We have followed a professional approach to the development in employing a professio-nal engineer to carry out the structural design. The same engineer has inspected the works under construction.

“We have sought to address the various problems in a systematic way, and have not been shy to commit financially to carrying out the various repairs.

“The only aspect of design from the department that can be questioned structurally is the choice of using roof tiles rather than sheeting.

“This was done for aesthetic reasons, but the roof tiles do lift under high winds, which we have sought to rectify on site,” Ndhlovu said

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