Temporary tin shelters: Limpopo premier blames human settlements department

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Stan Mathabatha
Stan Mathabatha
Daily Sun
  • Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha recently faced embarrassment and criticism after handing over 40 temporary tin shelters valued at R2.4 million to Tzaneen residents at the weekend.
  • The Housing Development Agency, which is managing the project, has confirmed eight sites have been identified in the province for temporary shelters.
  • 152 more temporary tin shelters are currently under construction at Burgersdorp Ext 10 in Sekhukhune.
  • Mathabatha says the project is led by the Department of Human Settlement, Water and Sanitation across all provinces.

Another multimillion-rand "Covid-19 shack settlement" with 152 temporary tin shelters is under construction at Burgersdorp Ext 10 in Sekhukhune, Limpopo.

The construction was confirmed by the Housing Development Agency.

So far, 30 shelters have been completed and the project could be completed in the next week.

Eight sites have been identified in the province for the establishment of the temporary shelters.

This at a time when Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha is still reeling from embarrassment and criticism after he handed over more than 40 tin shelters, which cost R2.4 million, in Talana, Tzaneen, at the weekend.

At a media briefing in Polokwane on Wednesday, Mathabatha washed his government's hands of the Talana project, saying it was the responsibility of national housing authorities.

READ | Six charged for multimillion rand land sales scam

"It must be stated from the onset this is a national project of the department (of human settlements, water and sanitation) implemented in all nine provinces.

"The department has appointed the Housing Development Agency as a project manager to help implement the programme on its behalf.

"In this regard, the concerns raised regarding the costs and the type of units can best be responded and addressed by our counterparts at national level, in particular the Housing Development Agency and the department," Mathabatha said.

He denied reports he did not know he was to hand over tin shelters in Talana. He also apologised for cutting the ribbon at the ceremony.

Poor quality

National Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation director-general Joseph Leshabane hinted the Talana project was marred by poor quality and workmanship.

"Because there has been concerns about the quality and poor workmanship, we as the national department have a duty to implement an independent review of the units.

"We will ask the NHBRC [National Housing Builders' Regulation Council] to review whether there's indeed quality failures in those units. We will make sure we submit that report to the minister and premier," said Leshabane.

He added the temporary shelters were necessary because of the reality of "too many people in crowded spaces" and this posed a danger during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The tin shelters were built at a cost of R64 000 each, and the beneficiaries have since complained about their capability for human habitation.

But Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs MEC Basikopo Makamu said the R64 000 price tag was set at national level.

He justified the tin shelters, saying they were necessary because of congestion in the area, therefore hindering people to comply with Covid-19 health protocols.

"It's not possible to develop a proper settlement when people are staying there and crowded. Even if you see it from the human rights point of view, we were supposed to do something," Makamu said.

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