Eastern Cape Human Settlements slammed for wasting millions of rands on unfinished and abandoned housing projects

The Eastern Cape Department of Human Settlements has spent almost R622-million on 25 unfinished or abandoned housing projects.

The shocking statistics were contained in written answers to parliamentary questions submitted by the DA to the MEC for Human Settlements, DA EC shadow MEC for Human Settlements Sanele Magaqa said in a statement today.

Of the 9,413 planned units to be constructed in these 25 projects, only 4,243 were actually built.

Various reasons were given for the state of affairs, including contracts expiring, problems with beneficiary management issues, underperformance of contractors, a lack of proper planning and the unavailability of bulk infrastructure.

In one instance a contractor by the name of Fitzcape was contracted to build 350 units at the Port St Johns-Ntafufu projects in 2014, but only 204 units were constructed. The contractor was paid R31.4-million rand before the contract was terminated due to underperformance.

“The DA believes that the department shows an inability to properly research the financial needs of each project as well as a lack of necessary oversight mechanisms for the various stages of the building process,” Magaqa said.

The DA said it had long called for:

  • The department and all municipalities to have project management capacity to monitor all housing developments in the province;
  • Proper and efficient town planning. There is a need to have continuous inspections of all projects to ensure that contractors adhere to building standards;
  • Consequence management for all contractors who abandon projects without finalising them. All these contractors need to be blacklisted;
  • A sound beneficiary management process that will enable proper planning and the finalisation of projects.

“I have written to the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee for Human Settlements, Makhaya Twabu, requesting this matter to be included on the agenda of the committee,” Magaqa said.

“I will also request the committee to invite the department to come and account on the action plans of how these projects will be finalised – including timeframes and budgeting.

“The DA believes owning your own home is the first step on the ladder of opportunity. We are committed to the speedy rollout of housing in the Eastern Cape and will continue to highlight housing issues in our communities.”

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