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Ngqushwa Local Municipality seeks MEC's intervention in delivering Peddie Housing Project

Feb 5, 2018
Ngqushwa Local Municipality seeks MEC's intervention in delivering Peddie Housing Project

The Ngqushwa Local Municipality is in the process of formally requesting that Eastern Cape MEC for Human Settlements, Helen Sauls-August, intervenes and ensures progress on the Peddie Housing Project.

According to Ngqushwa Local Municipality, Alderman Mnikelo Siwisa,  he is gravely concerned about media reports on the Peddie Housing Project, which he said were published without regard for the municipality’s ready input and verifiable facts.

"Gravely concerned, I am, for the welfare of wanting residents; and gravely concerned am I at media coverage apparently designed to serve some undermining agenda, even in the face of fact, and of responsible management, and of good governance," Mayor Siwisa said.

"The Peddie Housing Project is a welcome initiative of the Eastern Cape Provincial Government.

"Completed houses are handed over for municipal allocation upon phase finalisation. The allocation is strictly governed by meticulously compiled and audited beneficiary lists, to ensure that qualifying recipients are allocated homes."

He further said that a house is made available only when the listed beneficiary can be positively identified as the recipient.

"Houses wrongly allocated create unimaginable administrative problems and incredible individual trauma and remarkable family disruption. So great is the actual harm associated with a house given to the wrong family that good governance dictates that it is almost always better to rather err by taking longer to identify the right beneficiary, than to make the mistake of allowing a family not vetted for a home to move in simply to have a house occupied," the Mayor described.

"Even the municipality’s best efforts could not prevent a number of illegal occupancies. Such is the trauma of unfortunate homelessness. This regrettable situation is being addressed and the original approved beneficiaries will be instated.

"My Council and I, and my administration and I respect residents as they should be respected, and respect due process as it should be respected and therefore will not exercise the easy option to simply have houses occupied on a first come first serve basis."

He stressed that the time span between identifying a legal recipient duly listed on the formal, audited beneficiary database, and the actual allocation of a housing unit is completely beyond the control and influence of the municipality.

"The MEC for Housing manages the delivery strictly to contractual agreement with construction providers. The municipality assumes responsibility for allocation only upon phase completion and formal handover by the MEC to the municipality," the Mayor said.

"The project had been harmed by contractual and criminal delays before handover.

"One contractor had been liquidated; another had abandoned the site; yet another misappropriated funds. Therefore, it had not been possible to coordinate the handover date and the verification of the beneficiary list to have the approved beneficiaries available to occupy houses soonest after handover."

He added that 45 houses earmarked for specific missing beneficiaries remained unoccupied because alternative probable occupants could not be allowed to jump the actual beneficiaries on the housing list.

"The municipality did not have the resources to protect the properties during this beneficiary absence. The damage to these houses is deplorable.

"When the municipality determined that regular procedures to locate and identify authentic beneficiaries unduly delayed occupancy, Council, in an attempt to remedy the situation soonest, effectively, and efficiently, resolved, on 26 July 2017, to advertise for beneficiaries to present themselves for occupancy," the Mayor described.

"Beneficiaries still absent on 28 February, will lose their ranking on the housing list, be deregistered, and be replaced by next in line beneficiaries, currently duly identified by municipal functionaries, among the homeless and destitute in Peddie.

"The municipality has available a sufficient budget to restore the vandalised houses, protect restored units against vandalism, and make such repaired houses available to the newly identified next in line beneficiaries during and by the end of February.

"The municipality cannot assume responsibility for unfinished houses. The damage to these properties is condemnable."

Mayor Siwisa said that on Monday, he would write to MEC Sauls-August to formally request that the construction contractor repair the unfinished vandalised houses, and provide security on site to prevent further damage to property until the houses are handed over.

"... and also to ask exact information about the completion date for Peddie 105, and about the handover date to the municipality," he added.

"The identification of beneficiaries for Peddie 105 houses will be coordinated to be finalised in concert with the handover date in order to ensure immediate occupancy to prevent vandalism made opportune by vacancy."