The provincial government has confirmed that 70% of its housing construction projects have been stopped due to the 21-day lockdown. File Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
The provincial government has confirmed that 70% of its housing construction projects have been stopped due to the 21-day lockdown. File Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

70% of housing construction in Western Cape stopped due to Covid-19 lockdown

By Marvin Charles Time of article published Apr 9, 2020

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Cape Town - The provincial government has confirmed that 70% of its housing construction projects have been stopped due to the 21-day lockdown.

Spokesperson for the department of human settlements, Marcellino Martin, said: “All activities on our construction sites stopped with effect from March 27, in line with the president announcing the national lockdown.

“We anticipate a delay of about two months. It’s also important to note that due to the unprecedented situation, this could dramatically change.”

Martin said the construction halts could have an impact on the budget, however this has not been quantified.

“Before the lockdown, final touches were being made on sites due for handover, but these couldn't be finalised in time. After the lockdown, the contractors will prioritise finishing the last of their work, so the already identified and deserving beneficiaries can take occupancy,” he said.

A massive housing initiative is under way to reduce the number of people living in densely overpopulated areas in a bid to fight the spread of the coronavirus. There are 29 informal settlements countrywide which have been identified for the project, including four metros in KwaZulu- Natal, the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Gauteng. The move will ideally last longer than the 21-day lockdown.

The government has scrambled to provide temporary accommodation, such as converted shipping containers.

Chairperson of the Western Cape Property Development Forum, Deon van Zyl, said: “All projects at implementation stage would have been halted. Delays and increase in costs are now inevitable.

“More concerning is the impact on public projects that tend to fall fowl of pedantic regulatory requirements.

“Projects that exceed the projected time-frames might have to be reviewed and could even have to be re-tendered, leading to further costs and delays that an industry already in crisis before the lockdown can really, really not afford.”

Van Zyl said once restrictions were lifted, it would take contractors some time to re-establish construction teams and other professional crews on site, assess damage and losses, and negotiate extensions with clients.

“The delay impacts on contractors’ own budgets. Client budgets will no doubt have to take cognisance of these delays and additional funds will have to be sourced to cover the shortfall.

“We’re very concerned that the construction industry has received very little attention during these difficult times. The loss of further contracting capacity will have a devastating impact on the delivery of both public sector and private sector projects,” he said.

@MarvinCharles17

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Cape Argus

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