News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Wednesday June 26th 2019

Housing projects back on the go after being stalled by corruption


Ten Peoples Housing Projects in Khayelitsha that had been halted due to allegations of corruption and nepotism on the part of the steering committees have been restarted.

Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela announced the continuation of the housing projects in an address to Khayelitsha residents at the OR Tambo Hall on Monday afternoon.

He told ward councilors and beneficiaries that his department had partnered with the Development Action Group (DAG), who assistance was crucial in sorting out irregularities in the projects and unblocking R64m worth of funding.

“We formed a partenership with DAG to assists us on making sure that no other project will be blocked in Khayelisha. These projects were left unfinished, which led a number of people into getting unfinished houses. DAG was called to assist us to find those projects and find out what happened.  This is a very successful programme and some beneficiaries already got their houses,” said Madikizela

The continuation of the housing projects, benefiting 2173 households follows the signing of a service level agreement between DAG and the People’s Housing Partnership Trust to form a support organization in 2007.

Madikizela’s spokesperson Bruce Oom said DAG spent five years in the pre-construction phase assisting the department to put “institutional systems” in place and “secure financial flows” enabling the projects to commence construction.

“DAG had to strike a fine balance between social facilitation with multiple stakeholders to ensure open communication as well as the technical aspects of preparation for construction,” said Oom.

He said the department was legally obliged to complete the projects but the “unscrupulous actions” of suppliers and community leaders meant houses were not built, were incomplete, or were of poor quality.

The affected Khayelitsha projects were spread across Site B, Makhaza, Town Two, Harare and “old Khayelitsha”, said Oom.

At what amounted to the launch of DAG’s case study on PHP housing, DAG CEO, Josette Cole said they had unblocked 340 housing project in the Western Cape since they partnered with the Department of Human Settlements.

The case study launch was also attended by the National Department of Human Settlements Deputy Minister Zou Kota-Fredericks, who welcomed the unblocking of projects, saying it gave relief to them as politicians.

She also added that the community needed to work together with government to make sure those projects would never be blocked again.

Project beneficiary Gcinile Mahlombe said he was proud to work with DAG.

“I made lots of efforts in getting government to finish my house, but all those efforts never materialized, I even hired a lawyer to assist me. I was supposed to get my house completed by the Zenzele housing project in 2003. However, due to non-accountability from the project committees, I never receive it, until DAG came along, now I have my house.” Said Mahlombe.

Oom said as a result of lessons learnt, the Department has since changed how it manages PHP projects.

It would only sign contracts directly with contractors who had a proven track record, would ensure the standards of the contractors and would have the final say over who got appointed.

The department would also be more “hands on” in ensuring the integrity of the beneficiary lists and PHP projects would need to be enrolled with the National Home Builders Registration Council to guarantee the quality of the houses for five years after completion. –Nombulelo Damba

Tags: Bonginkosi Madikizela, Bruce Oom, DAG, Development Action Group, Gcinile Mahlombe, Harare, Josette Cole, Khayelitsha, Makhaza, OR Tambo Hall, People’s Housing Partnership Trust, Site B, Town Two, Zou Kota-Fredericks

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