R58bn needed to fix badly built houses

2011-02-10 20:15

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Cape Town - It will cost about R58bn for the human settlements department to fix poorly built houses, the Democratic Alliance revealed on Thursday.

This figure was revealed by human settlements director general Thabane Zulu during a human settlements portfolio committee on Wednesday, DA spokesperson Butch Steyn said in a statement.

"Of greater concern was the further admission that the department has not yet found a way to blacklist contractors who built these sub-standard houses, and that many of these unfit contractors may still have contracts with the national government to build more sub-standard housing," he said.

These contractors were sabotaging the lives and human dignity of millions of South Africans with utter disregard for the consequences.

"This is unacceptable. Not only is the state losing approximately R58bn, but the national government will continue to waste large sums of money on this for the foreseeable future," said Steyn.

‘Urgent action needed’

Furthermore, the people these houses were intended for might well find themselves living in houses that were not up to standard.

This could not be allowed to continue, Steyn said.

The DA wanted urgent action to be taken to implement an effective system of monitoring and oversight of building contractors.

This would ensure that contractors who delivered sub-standard housing were not only held accountable for their poor service delivery, but also banned from engaging in future contracts.

It was Housing Minister Tokyo Sexwale's responsibility to outline such a plan to ensure that housing delivery for poor South Africans was not compromised any further.

Sexwale should appear urgently before the committee to explain why this situation had remained unaddressed for so long and outline a plan for effective monitoring and oversight to deal with this issue.

"What makes the R58bn revelation even more astonishing is that only six weeks ago, Minister Sexwale announced that he had set aside R1.3bn to fix sub-standard housing this year," Steyn said.

40 years to fix poorly built houses

Accepting this figure, it would take the national government 40 years just to fix badly built houses.

The annual budget for the department was only R16.3bn a year so if the department did nothing but fix sub-standard housing, it would still take three and a half years, with no other service delivery taking place.

In the meantime, poor quality houses continued to be built, which meant there was no foreseeable end to this expense.

Parliament was still waiting for the full report and result of the audit which would provide details of the rectification programme and explain how the figure of R58bn was reached.

Zulu did acknowledge in the portfolio committee meeting that this was a major problem and a way had to be found to blacklist contractors.

"It seems a little late to point this out after a R58bn bill has been presented to the public. There is no time to waste on empty promises and endless discussions," Steyn said.
 

- SAPA
Read more on:    da  |  tokyo sexwale  |  housing
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