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R5 million wasted on abandoned RDP houses

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Suzan Phala, Democratic Alliance (DA) Member of the Legislature, said the DA has written to Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs MEC, Makoma Makhurupetje to urgently investigate the demolition of some incomplete RDP houses that were completed by residents at their own expense in Mogodi, New Stands in the Molemole Municipality.
She said the abandoned RDP projects, estimated to be worth more than R5 million, were discovered by the DA during a massive door to door campaign during July.
According to Phala these housing projects were abandoned by the contactors between 2005 and 2008.
“The DA has learnt that some of these houses were part of the 2005 and 2008 housing projects, but they were left incomplete by contactors,” Phala said. “Due to the department’s failure to put measures in place to monitor all these projects, some residents opted to use their last monies to buy building materials to finish the incomplete houses.”
“A few years after completing the houses, however, the residents were shocked when some officials, claiming to be from the department, came to their houses, alleging that the RDP houses are not meeting the required standards set by the department as they were poorly built and deserve to be demolished and re-built with immediate effect. After the demolition of some of the houses, those officials never came back to rebuild it. Residents are now too scared to finish it, thinking that they might come back to demolish it again.”
According to Phala, during the 2015/2016 budget speech, the department pronounced that they are targeting to build more than 8 500 houses.
She said it is unfortunately evident that this target will not be met.
“We as the DA has also noted the alarming trend in ANC Municipalities of poorly built and grossly neglected RDP houses. This warrants an urgent intervention from the Department. The DA urges MEC Makhurupetje to launch an investigation into these occurrences and hold officials accountable and compensate the residents for damage caused. She must also ensure that these houses are completed before the rainy season approaches.”
Phala said more unfinished RDP houses were discovered later that week in the Ga-Molepo  village during an oversight visit. “We visited three, but according to information received there are more than sixteen RDP houses which are still unfinished,” she said.
Selomo Motupa, departmental Spokesperson of Coghsta said the housing projects alluded to are under a rectification programme started by the department during the 2012/13 financial year.
“The NHBRC has been commissioned by the department to conduct the structural integrity assessment of these houses of which some were abandoned and some were found to have been poorly build,” he said.”Five contractors have been appointed in the five districts of the province to rebuild these houses. In instances where the abandoned structures are found to be of poor quality the contractors have been directed to demolish and re-build afresh. We call on all affected beneficiaries not to tamper with the abandoned structures as this will disturb our contractual obligation with the appointed contractors. It is within the plan of the department to complete these projects before the end of the financial year.”

Story: NELIE ERASMUS
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