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Durban - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Wednesday expressed concerns at public funds being poured into repairing RDP houses which were collapsing due to shoddy workmanship.
She said this meant that the state in some cases had to pay two or three times for one house.
“The problem with rectification is that you pay someone to build a proper house and they do a shoddy house, and then you pay someone for rectification and again they do a shoddy job, meaning you pay for rectification again,” she said.
She was addressing a public meeting at Hambanathi Township in oThongathi.
Madonsela had convened the meeting to give feedback on the housing-related cases she was taking up on behalf of the people of Hambanathi and nearby squatter camps.
In 2012 Madonsela visited the area and listened to a number of complaints relating to the provision of housing. Some people had complained about the quality of the houses they were allocated, while some alleged they were unfairly evicted. Others alleged that corrupt officials had sold their houses.
Michael Hadebe on Wednesday told Madonsela that he had been homeless since 1998, when he was evicted from his home, which was sold for R11 000. Another resident, Thami Sibiya, said it was common practice that in the area houses were sold to foreigners.
Madonsela met the MEC for Human Settlements, Ravi Pillay, who gave her the assurance that the department was looking into these issues.
However, she expressed concerns that little seemed to have been done since she first raised the matter with the provincial government in 2012.
Madonsela said the MEC had wanted some more specific information which would enable his department to follow up on the investigations.
She said there would be a focused investigation of two weeks to look into the allegations. The Public Protector’s office is still conducting its systemic investigation into housing problems in the country.
The spokesman for the KZN Department of Human Settlements, Mbulelo Baloyi, said the department had managed to dramatically bring down cases of shoddy workmanship.
This was as a result of strict quality control measures being put in place and heavy penalties for those who offered sub-standard houses.
“Many of the houses that we are rectifying now are those that were built long ago. The problem we have is that we can only spend 10 percent of our annual budget on rectification, and that money has to be spread evenly across all the housing projects.”
Baloyi said the MEC had asked members of the public to come forward with information to substantiate claims of corruption, adding that guilty officials would be dealt with.