Housing funds go missing

2016-09-27 09:23
Msunduzi official to probe money missing for Cinderella Park housing development.

Msunduzi official to probe money missing for Cinderella Park housing development. (File)

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Another case of “where is the money?” has reared its head at the Msunduzi Municipality after a senior manager was asked to investigate the whereabouts of funds allocated for a housing project.

Funds given by the Department of Human Settlements for the Cinderella Park housing development appear to be missing.

Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the city needed time to respond to the questions posed by The Witness.

But former ward councillor Eunice Majola, now chairperson of the housing committee, said the houses must still be built while the investigation continues, “as we cannot leave destitute people in the lurch”.

Majola said the beneficiaries of the 30 yet-to-be-built houses had been identified, but the city was not sure where the money was.

At current estimates, it would cost R3,3 million or R110 000 per house to build 30 homes.

The deputy municipal manager for Economic Development, Dr Ray Ngcobo, was asked in a confidential report to the executive committee to start an investigation to recover the balance of the funds allocated for the project.

It is unclear how much of the funds is missing.

It was resolved that Ngcobo submit a report regarding the investigation, and that the development of the 30 houses be made a priority once the money is recovered.

Majola said she held a community meeting this year, during her tenure as ward councillor, where she requested the beneficiaries to present themselves to confirm they are alive, and that they still qualify for the houses.

“With regards to the funding, that is another element of the problems this housing project faces. The full funding was allocated for the project and I can’t really say where it has gone to,” Majola said.

She said although the status of the money is unclear at this stage, the houses would still be built as a matter of priority.

Eastwood Community Forum (ECF) chairperson Fred Wagner said the project had been ongoing since 2003.

Since then, 714 houses had been promised but only around 650 had been built.

The forum had tried unsuccessfully to use the Promotion of Access to Information Act to get information on the matter, Wagner said.

He said the other issue they had raised was the fact that only one-bedroom homes had been built when people had been promised a house with two bedrooms, a kitchen and shower.

“The houses currently consists of one bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom. They also only have one entrance, so if there is an emergency, there is no other door to get out from,” Wagner said.

He said they raised this point in 2004 with the then council, but their concerns were ignored.

The families promised the outstanding 30 houses “are just waiting”.

“There have been different councillors and every time we get a new councillor, we get a new story.

“We will not lose hope, but will take this further with the new councillor who has inherited all these issues,” Wagner said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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