17 December 2018


Legislature committee upset by housing backlogs in Moretele


Obakeng Maje


09 September 2016

The Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Public Safety and Liaison has expressed disappointment at the housing backlog dating back more than a decade in several parts of Moretele Local Municipality.

The committee embarked on an oversight visit at the municipality this week, as part of its tour of Bojanala District.
"We have discovered that the municipality is faced with a backlog of provision of subsidised houses in several wards. The backlog include deserted housing project in ward 11 in Mogogelo village and in ward 12, Maubane and Greenside. Some of those houses were approved by Local Government and Human Settlements department back in 1994," said committee chairperson Motlalepula Rosho.

"The project did not go as planned because of improper project management. The improper implementation of the project led to hundreds of houses being left incomplete. Some of the houses were only in slabs and others with wall plate stages with no roofing," Rosho said.

She further said the municipality committed to resuscitate the project in conjunction with local government and human settlements department during the inception of the fifth administration.

Rosho added that the project (B13100008) was approved and the contractor was also appointed in November 2014.

"Synchrocom PTY LTD was appointed to build 400 units of houses at the value of R43 978 800. Greenside received 138 units approved for ward 16. Maubane village got 90 units for approval in ward 15, while Mogogelo received 174 units approved for ward 11.

"However, the contractor abandoned the project incomplete. We requested the local government and human settlements department to explain to us why they did not exercise the penalty clause on contractor. We cannot continue to let contractors leave behind shoddy work without taking disciplinary actions against them," she said.

Rosho said the lawmakers were operating within the legislative framework and that accountability is needed. She said more than 25 000 people need houses in the area, but the municipality and the local government and human settlements department are yet to present a concrete plan to the Legislature.

"We do not accept this and we believe this will cause discomfort within the communities," Rosho said.
"This is unacceptable. The department must explain to us how they will resolve the matter. We also need a monthly progress report," she said.

The committee is worried that the human settlements and local government department does not do enough oversight visits to monitor housing projects.

Head of Department at Local Government and Human Settlements, Ephraim Motoko, said the department has already come up with a rectification programme to address the housing backlog in the area.

"The unblocked project was implemented in quest of resolving the matter. However, the minister of housing blocked the project. The minister highlighted that we cannot pay the contractor twice. She said we must bring back the contractor who abandoned the site to come and complete his work.

Motoko said there was an ongoing standoff with the contractor because he was not cooperating with the department. "There is a dispute regarding a contractor because he does not cooperate. We have also found out that those who benefited from the housing project are unsuitable people. Some of those who applied need to be de-registered because they have shelter already," said the HOD.

The department said it would work closely with the municipality to ensure that the beneficiary list is scrutinized accordingly. Motoko said 400 housing units would be built in this current financial year.

A member of the Legislature committee, Virginia Tlhape said: "The department of local government and human settlement failed to discharge their constitutional obligation in terms of section 26 (2). They need to take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve progressive realization of housing rights. Moretele Local Municipality also failed to exercise their rights in terms of section 4(2)j to contribute, together with other organs of state, to the progressive realization of the fundamental rights contained in chapter 2 of the constitution, including the right to adequate housing.

Tlhape said the Mogogelo community was badly affected by the housing backlog because they remain in dark with regards to the time frame for completion of their houses.