Fed up with home delays

2015-09-07 09:19
Dumisane Mthalane of SANCO looks at unfinished houses in KwaPata.

Dumisane Mthalane of SANCO looks at unfinished houses in KwaPata. (Ian Carbutt)

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FAMILIES who have been promised proper housing in the KwaPata area near Edendale will have to wait another three years for their homes.

Residents from KwaPata and Unit N (Ward 17) said they were relocated from their land and promised better housing almost 15 years ago.

Residents say they have been living in a poor state for many years and no one seems to have answers for them.

“These people are not rich people. They were living just fine but almost nine years ago the Department for Human Settlements and Msunduzi Municipality promised them better housing. Their homes were destroyed and new houses were built, however that came with problems,” said South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) member Dumisane Mthalane.

Mthalane has now joined the residents in their fight to secure better housing. Mthalane said after the KwaPata and Ward 17 residents’ homes were destroyed, the departments built concrete houses that were held up by “wires”.

“Whenever it rained, the residents claim they were shocked due to the wiring not being insulated. After many complaints and injuries, those houses were destroyed and a new housing development began, however it has now been nine years and these houses stand unfinished and the people have nowhere to go,” said Mthalane.

Upon visiting the area, The Witness found families living in the half-built homes and some families even attempting to finish the houses themselves. One family, who did not wish to be named, said they have nowhere to go and are forced to “make do” with what they have. The family live in a two-room concrete building with a roof made of iron sheeting. There is no electricity and water connected.

“Many families were forced to live separately with the mother in one area and the father in another area. Families have been split because of these empty promises for a better house,” said Mthalane.

Mthalane said in July 2010 the contractor downed tools without saying anything to the community of Kwa­Pata. The second contractor came in and he too downed tools, informing the community that the Department of Human Settlements had not paid him a single cent for the work done. The community of KwaPata has since been left destitute, said Mthalane.

“These departments and officials cannot be explaining and trying for nine years. These are people’s lives and families who are suffering because of them,” he said.

Media liaison officer at the office of the MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works Mbulelo Baloyi said that Msunduzi municipality attempted to brief the community last year on the situation, but the community was not interested in listening to the administrative issues that needed to be dealt with prior to house construction.

“They only wanted to know when housing would commence. All communication has now been directed via the ward councillor for onward submission to the community,” said Baloyi.

Baloyi said that previous contractors downed tools after the “implementing agent” had utilised all the approved funding for the work undertaken.

“There were reports of shoddy workmanship, resulting in an investigation and from the findings Treasury advised to terminate the contract with the then approved implementing agent,” said Baloyi. A new contractor has been appointed, but however more issues have been identified and “technical assessments” need to be done prior houses being built. Baloyi said the expected time for the housing project to be completed is in 2018/2019 financial year and development should start next month.

“To this end the department has started the legal processes to recoup the funds spent by the previous implementing agent. The department has also engaged the National Builders Registration Council to address the quality issues going forward,” added Baloyi

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  housing

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