BY KABO LETLHOGELA
THE North West Provincial Legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Local Government and Human Settlements has condemned the Local Government and Human Settlements for lack of progress on addressing various backlogs on housing projects.
Committee chairperson, Motlalepula Rosho said there is a poor management of beneficiary lists between the department and municipality which aimed at addressing housing challenges in Matlosana Local Municipality.
This came after the committee visited several housing projects in the municipality which includes Matlosana Community Residential Units (CRU); Khuma and Kanana Housing projects.
Rosho said they are concern that the Matlosana CRU project has been completed but remained abandoned.
“We are concern about the CRUs like Matlosana project. It was implemented differently from the pilot project in Tlokwe CRU and Marikana CRU project yet it is the same project. The department must go and investigate the problems. They also need to explain why the departmental bid committees did not speed up the process in appointing service providers to complete the project,” Rosho said.
She said blocked projects date back to 1999 and 2004 in Khuma have not been resuscitated. Rosho added that some areas were found to be dolomatic and some houses were abandoned at wall plate stage by contractors.
Rosho also said that Extension 6 at Khuma is one of the first informal settlements after 1994, so it was not acceptable for people to be still waiting for houses to date.
“The worst thing is that the list of beneficiaries where community members are awarded houses, get to be awarded through their relationship with ward councillors and yet they do not occupy them instead rent them out. We are concerned about how beneficiary lists are managed in municipalities.
“The department is not doing anything to eradicate this issue. They need to ensure that the lists are verified and there are no delays. Both municipality and department relook into the system and ensure that those who receive houses are the right beneficiaries,” she added.
She said the committee was worried about the snail pace on housing projects in Kanana where there are nine contractors.
“The contractors are not doing very well although they were given project extensions since 2013. The part of the challenges is the top-up which has been approved and one of the contractors was paid without delivering the service. The contractor was assisted by an inspector who was an employee of the department.
“That employee is currently working for another state entity and is allowed to get away with wrong-doing. He flaunted processes of governance and there is no consequence management,” Rosho said.
Housing Director at the Matlosana Local Municipality, Peter Phala said: “There is a backlog of 376 houses. Most owners of stands are sub-letting their stands and have moved to townships. This makes it difficult for the municipality to audit the beneficiary list.”
North West local government and Human Settlements department, Head of Department, Ephraim Motoko said Matlosana CRU was contracted in April 2013 to ProPlan Consortium. They were contracted to build 100 units at R28 million.
“However, there is no occupation due to lack of in-house furniture such as stoves, cupboards and outdoor structures such as car ports. “We are currently on tendering processes to furnish the CRU. Both Khuma and Kanana housing projects experienced construction delays and challenges of identifying relevant beneficiaries during the time of construction.
“In Kanana Ext 13, where Relay Development was contracted to build 390 houses. The project was stopped by the department due to the milestones which were claimed by the developer which were not there during the time of audit,” Motoko said.
“The department removed some of the beneficiaries who qualified during applications period during the commencement of the projects because they already had proper houses. Some projects were delayed for many months because developers submitted requests for additional funding (top-ups) due to price increases on the construction market and initial subsidy quantum.
“We found out that a developer cannot construct the initial number of houses in a certain area due to reduction in initial list of beneficiaries or due to various reasons. We have requested them to address housing backlogs in other areas such as in Khuma which has a backlog of 76 houses,” he said.
Rosho said the department must deal decisively with the employee (inspector). She said the inspector misled the department on the payment of a contractor while the work was not done.
“The employee must come and account as he transgressed processes of good governance in the department. Provisions in laws are there to ensure that he pays back the money. We will await the report on the investigations.
“We need to set an example so that public servants must know that when they work within the construction industry. It is not for their benefit, but for the disadvantaged people who need shelter,” she said.