900 10.19.10 Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale, addresses the media and delegates during the launch of the Cavendish Chambers Housing Project. Picture:Itumeleng English

Pretoria - The government is exploring measures to stop the ongoing construction of sub-standard houses by the private sector contractors it hires, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale said on Thursday.

He told a meeting of construction industry role players in Pretoria that among other measures, the government was seriously considering starting its own company to build the houses.

“What we have been getting is less than credible, shoddy workmanship. I made a statement in Parliament stating that when we have the huge projects, (like major roads and cities) we give them (the contracts) to credible companies who bring in their expertise.

“But when we build houses for our people, instead of bringing those major credible companies we give things to people who believe it’s their right to get the contracts.

“Why not let the major companies build some of the houses? I’ll force them to bring their economic empowerment partners.”

Sexwale said government had a bill close to R50 billion to rectify the sub-standard houses.

“The rectification of that shoddy workmanship done by the private sector has cost us close to R50 billion just to rectify falling houses. I don’t remember government building houses, but the service providers.

“Isn’t it time that we should think of our own government company to do it ourselves? Shame on some of you who ran and started issuing statements without thinking, when I made the remarks in Parliament.

“Nowhere did I say I am establishing a construction company. You saw profits getting away,” he said.

“I only said let us debate about it,” said Sexwale.

He said corrupt individuals were cashing in, and abusing government policies particularly the black-economic empowerment (BEE) laws.

“Don’t get me wrong, I know that there is a legislation which says BEE should be assisted. But BEE should not be defined a shoddy workmanship, where people think because I’m black I've got the right to construct and they give me the kind of crap that I sometimes see.”

“That is not BEE, those people are chance-takers. Lots of BEE companies know what they are doing, but there is a lot of them who take chances because they think being black helps you (to) make money quickly. We would like to stop that,” said Sexwale. - Sapa