The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality will have to fork out R24-million from its Urban Settlement Development Grant (USDG) for the re-planning of Soweto on Sea. This follows the shocking revelation that some houses in the area were built on top of burial sites and that the houses built are of appalling quality.
The MEC for Human Settlements, Nonkqubela Pieters, has said in a parliamentary response that once the re-planning has been completed, the Department would then fund the top structures from its Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG).
We want to challenge the MEC to spell out where the Department funding is going to come from, considering that the HSDG is declining annually, and the available funds have already been allocated. She must also tell us what funding model will be used for this project.
Unless she can do this, it is simply empty promises.
In her response MEC Pieters confirmed that, although a commencement date for the re-planning has not been set, the initial funding would come from the municipality’s USDG.
Pieters said the re-planning would enable the regularization of the entire residential and non-residential layout of the area. The non-residential regime would also consider the graveyard site, which would be incorporated as part of the public space.
[SEE: IQP No 5 qq 125]
Pieters also confirmed that the Department had no knowledge of the original contractor, since the Soweto on Sea project dated back to 1997 and was implemented by the municipality through the private developer Independent Developer Trust Programme. She said the Department could therefore not blacklist the contractor.
The DA has long called for the Department and municipalities to implement an integrated human settlements plan with identified parks, schools, clinics and proper water and sanitation when undertaking housing projects.
The Department and municipalities also need to have a project management capacity to monitor all housing development in the province. This must also be coupled with proper sound and efficient town planning. There is a need to have continuous inspections of all projects to ensure that contractors adhere to sound and proper building standards.
There must also be consequence management system to ensure that contractors who do shoddy workmanship are blacklisted and that funds paid to rectify their mistakes are recovered. It is shocking that both the municipality and the Department do not know who the contractor in the project was.