A total of 320 stalled and incomplete housing projects have been unblocked and reallocated funds for their completion.
This was revealed by Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi when she was responding to parliamentary questions from DA MP Ntombi Khumalo, who asked about the measures her department has taken to address the widespread challenges associated with the high number of abandoned housing projects due to the non-performance of contractors.
Kubayi said when she was assigned to the human settlements portfolio in 2021, she declared the unblocking of housing projects that denied qualifying households their right to adequate housing and dignity as part of her apex priorities.
The department refers to blocked and incomplete projects as those that have not shown progress for a period of 12 months following the first payment to the contractor.
They also include serviced sites and houses at different levels of construction.
Kubayi said she had directed her department and its sector partners, provincial departments and municipalities, to unblock all blocked or abandoned projects over a period of three financial years covering 2022-23 and 2024-25.
“All provinces collectively identified a total of 320 blocked and incomplete projects which were placed in their 2023-24 business plans and later approved by the minister with the requisite budget,” she said.
The minister stated that the most common factors that led to the blocking of human settlements projects were illegal land occupations, geotechnical variations, construction mafias, community unrest, the escalation of material costs, the lack of bulk infrastructure and link services including poor performance by contractors.
“The department continues to monitor and support the progress of provinces on the unblocking of blocked and incomplete human settlements projects through physical site visits and the provincial, municipal and human settlements entities’ performance reviews that are held each quarter.
“In addition, the department has encouraged all sector partners to create mechanisms through which they will develop, empower and support small, medium and micro enterprises,” she said.
Kubayi added that municipalities and provincial departments were urged to strengthen their service level agreements and contracts to enforce penalties and consequences against non-performing contractors as well as terminating the contacts of non-performing contractors as a last resort.