The Eastern Cape Department of Human Settlements is spending millions on fixing sub-standard houses built by contractors that clearly should not be doing business with the State.
In his state of the province address at the beginning of the year, Premier Oscar Mabuyane made it clear that the Department should not be paying contractors to fix newly built houses.
This message does not seem to have been received by the Human Settlements Department.
In response to a parliamentary question MEC for Human Settlements, Nonkqubela Pieters, has revealed that in the last financial year, the Department has spent over R156 million on rectifications to 871 units.
This staggering amount could have been used to build a further 1,500 new houses!
Instead, the Department is shelling out more and more money on fixing houses that it has already paid for because there are no quality control measures in place to ensure that the houses are built right the first time!
Every oversight I conduct at housing developments, people approach me about the sub-standard work being done.
There is still no consequence management system in place to blacklist contractors who continue to milk the Department’s shrinking budget, while doing shoddy workmanship and delivering sub-standard houses.
It is incomprehensible that the Department is still awarding tenders to these contractors!
I have raised this issue in the Human Settlements Portfolio Committee, and have implored the Department to implement a functioning and effective electronic construction management system. This system should be able to track houses from planning and construction to managing effective quality control checks.
There is also a need to strengthen the capacity of municipalities, to build decent houses and provide effective bulk infrastructure provision.
We need to find innovative solutions to address the housing shortage in this province and ensure that the money we spend makes a difference.