Project delays and the need to fix the shoddy workmanship of careless cadre contractors are placing a huge strain on the dwindling financial reserves of the Eastern Cape Department of Human Settlements.
The Department should be instigating legal action against non-performing contractors so that they pay back the money. These contractors are stealing the roofs from over the heads of homeless people.
Instead, despite shocking deliverables, the Human Settlements Department has still not put performance management systems in place, nor have they blacklisted contractors. The non-action of the Department has become the enemy of progress.
The state of housing delivery across the province was laid bare in a response by Human Settlements MEC, Nonceba Kontsiwe.
In the O R Tambo District Municipality alone, there are 22 incomplete projects, 11 of which have been completely abandoned. Some housing projects in this municipality have been so badly built, MEC Kontsiwe says the 6500 units have to be completely demolished and rebuilt from scratch, including the supply of services, at the cost of R975 million!
In the Alfred Nzo District Municipality, there are still projects that began in the 2011/12 financial year that have not been completed. Three major developments in this municipality have stalled.
In the Joe Gqabi District Municipality, in Dukathole, 140 units that were scheduled to be completed in 2015 are still not finished!
[ See IQP 16 qq 390]
It is clear from this response that the Department either does not have the capacity to monitor these projects and ensure their completion on spec, on time and on budget, or that there is simply no political will to do so, for fear that it would hamper the cashflow to cadres.
Urgent intervention in the Department is needed if this rot is to be stopped. We need people with the required expertise and skills in supply chain management. The Department also needs to put measures in place to monitor the work done by contractors and build capacity to manage housing projects in the province.
What is needed is a government that works for the people, and that ensures it gets value for money, not one that throws more good money after bad, with no consequences for those who squandered it in the first place.
It is clear that housing delivery in the province is rotten to the core, and we once again challenge MEC Kontsiwe to conduct a full audit on all stalled projects across the province, so that interventions can be made.