HOUSING RECTIFICATION: WILL BACKLOG EVER BE SOLVED?

The rectification of 5 700 housing units in the province is planned for this financial year at a cost of R451.98 million.

With an estimated backlog of 75 000 units for the province costing in excess of R2 billion and rising it must be questioned whether this rectification nightmare will ever be solved.

I will be stating in my budget speech the need for the mandate of National Home Building Registration Council (NHBRC) to be reviewed at provincial level.

The Democratic Alliance will also be asking for a review of the mandate of the NHBRC at national level as it is clear that regular building inspection and issuing of “happy letters” to beneficiaries has not been up to standard.

When a housing unit is constructed the project and the contractor need to be registered with the NHBRC.

Why then have so many inept and unqualified contractors been allowed to build housing units if they were registered with the NHBRC?

Furthermore, the demolishing and rebuilding of- or rectifying of houses constitutes fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

In my speech I will be suggesting that the following takes place so that we move away from the rectification nightmare:

1. A thorough audit of all houses be done in the province to ascertain the exact number of house to be rectified in the province.

2. A re-look at the mandate of the NHBRC and to ascertain why, given their mandate to inspect housing projects and offer protection to beneficiaries, this not being done.

3. The alternative to mass construction of RDP houses be sought. The new way to go should be to give beneficiaries serviced plots with a title deed. By so doing, security of tenure is guaranteed and beneficiaries can then access to build a home from funding from a bank. This empowers individuals and communities and reduces the dependency syndrome for individuals wanting a house provided by the state.

4. Education of beneficiaries in home maintenance is an urgent priority.

5. Implementation of the National Development Plan “Building better Communities” and their futuristic plans for green construction and improved spatial planning must now be implemented by the department.

6. Housing centres and building supply companies offering merchandise at competitive prices be established throughout the province but with particular emphasis on rural areas so as to fast track quality home construction in these areas.

 

If an end-time and fixed budget period is not put in place to solve our current rectification problems in this province this will become an ongoing issue with dire financial consequences for the national and provincial fiscus.