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Eastern Cape wastes millions on unfinished, abandoned housing projects: DA

Feb 4, 2020
Eastern Cape wastes millions on unfinished, abandoned housing projects: DA

Bhisho - The Eastern Cape Department of Human Settlements has spent almost R622 million on 25 unfinished or abandoned housing projects, the Democratic Alliance (DA) says.

"These shocking statistics were contained in written answers to parliamentary questions submitted by the DA to the MEC for Human Settlements.

"Of the 9 413 planned units to be constructed in these 25 projects, only 4 243 were actually built," described Sanele Magaqa MPL - DA EC Shadow MEC for Human Settlements.

"There are various reasons given for this state of affairs from contracts expiring, problems with beneficiary management issues, underperformance of contractors, a lack of proper planning and the unavailability of bulk infrastructure."

Magaqa added that in one instance a contractor by the name of Fitzcape was contracted to build 350 units at the Post St Johns-Ntafufu projects in 2014, but only 204 units were constructed.

"The contractor was paid R31 442 million rand before its contract was terminated due to underperformance," he described.

"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 that the DA has 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 finalization 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.

"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," he added.

"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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