Human Settlements urged to empower, educate housing contractors
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DURBAN - THE DA in KwaZulu-Natal has urged the Department of Human Settlements to relook at the tendering process and empower contractors to speed up housing projects and curb under performance.
Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi, issued a stern warning against all implementing agents and contractors who performed poorly and did not deliver on housing projects.
“We can no longer allow, under such a constrained fiscal environment, project developers and contractors to waste public resources on poorly implemented projects,” Kubayi said.
Kubayi warned that the department was going to tighten contract management such that consequence management was integral in every contract.
“Any contractor who, without a reasonable explanation, is found to have violated contractual obligations will be dealt with accordingly,” she said.
Kubayi implored provinces to pay contractors who were delivering within 30 days in order to accelerate housing delivery.
MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works, Jomo Sibiya, said the prolonged construction of houses would no longer be tolerated. He said there were still challenges with some municipalities that failed to deliver.
He reiterated that they had experimented with ways of speeding up the construction of houses, and said: “We can state that we have found a winning formula.”
The R162 million Wirewall Housing project in Imbali, Pietermaritzburg, started in 2007 to fix homes built by the provincial Department of Human Settlements between 1997 and 2002.
Sibiya said progress was being made in resolving the challenges there. A team from Human Settlements, the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Msunduzi Municipality was tasked by the premier to put in place corrective measures.
It is alleged that the programme was implemented because the municipality discovered that the previous homes “were not suitable for human occupancy”, with protruding wires “causing electrical problems and shocking people”.
Martin Meyer, the DA Spokesperson on Human Settlements, said there was a need to relook at the tendering process.
“The tender system has problems. Contractors start the process, go bankrupt and fail to deliver. You find that the homework was not done properly prior to tendering,” Meyer said.
He said contractors needed to be very aware of the costs by doing cost analysis correctly, and also to take into consideration the area they were tendering for.
“There must be a focus on education to empower people to do their costing correctly. Sometimes you find that the area requires retaining walls before one can build, and that takes a lot of money.”
IFP MP Blessed Gwala said one of the challenges was that inexperienced contractors were awarded construction contracts.
“They (the department) need an actual turnaround strategy that will actually help in order for the housing programme to be sustainable and to benefit the people of KZN.”