A multi-million rand state-subsidised Peoples Housing Project (PHP) in Witsand, Atlantis, has stalled due to soil problems not accounted for in the initial budget of R26.9 million.
As a result, some incomplete houses have been vandalised by youths from adjacent townships and informal settlements.
“Due to the stoppages while further funding was being approved, approximately 100 houses were left temporarily incomplete, and there were some instances of vandalism, such as broken windows and graffiti, of the incomplete structures,” said Bruce Oom, spokesperson for Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela.
In the meantime residents who are on the waiting list for PHP houses say they are upset over the delay as they have lived in shacks for too long.
One resident on the beneficiary list, Leonx Mthanga, a father of two children, said he had been living in a one bedroom shack with his wife and children for 15 years.
Mthanga said impatient beneficiaries were informed at a community meeting that the delay of the housing project was a result of the Human Settlement Department withholding additional funds for completion of the project.
“The problem is the province delayed the entire project. People are upset because they have been on the housing waiting list for long time,” said Mthanga.
Human Settlement Mayoral Committee (Mayco) Member Tandeka Gqada defended the provincial department, saying it could not be accused of withholding funds as the initial project funds were approved and “dispensed”.
Gqada, speaking on behalf of the City of Cape Town which is responsible for administration of the project, said there was additional work discovered which was not included in the initial budget, resulting in the delay.
Gqada said the additional work related to soil conditions affecting housing foundations.
“Additional funds had to be sourced, which took time. This has been resolved recently and the contractors have been paid for the additional work,” said Gqada.
She said construction of the PHP houses begun in October 2012 after approval of 228 housing units and in May this year an additional 100 housing units was approved, bringing the total housing units to 328.
So far, she said, 40 houses were completed and occupied in Dec 2012 and another 100 units are ready for occupation at the end of the month.
Regarding the vandalised incomplete houses, Oom said the contractor will be requested to submit a revised construction program in order to ensure that all the houses are completed. —Peter Luhanga