DA slams shabby R180m flats in Durban
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DURBAN - THE DA said it would submit questions to Human Settlements MEC Jomo Sibiya to demand answers over an abandoned R180 million housing project in Lamontville.
Led by provincial leader Francois Rodgers, party members visited the dilapidated flats which have been vandalised.
Rodgers said the flats were completed last year and the people who were supposed to have been placed in these flats were not due to people who were not on the housing list, demanding to be allocated units in these flats as well.
He said it was unfortunate that the families that were removed from their shacks to make way for the construction of the flats were still living in squalid conditions because of the department’s failure to move them back.
Rodgers added that he wanted the MEC to give him proof of the actual cost of the project, because when he looked at the standard quality of the flats, they did not appear to be those of a R180m project.
“We have come here after we received information that there are government flats becoming dilapidated because Human Settlement failed to put people in.
“We were told the project cost R180m, but one does not need to be a qualified builder to see this did not cost this amount of money, which is why we want the Human Settlements MEC to provide a full report, including the initial budget for this project,” said Rodgers.
Ladypeace Shezi, one of people who had her shack on the site, said they were the victims of political fights for control of the ward between the ANC and the DA, adding that their area fell under ward 69 which was controlled by the DA, including some parts of Chatsworth.
She said when construction started they were given one week to find alternative accommodation and were told they would not be placed in the nearby transit camps because their ward fell under the DA, whereas the available transit camps were in the ANC ward.
“Our shacks were demolished and we had to buy new material to build new ones. It was painful because we were given only one week to do all that and many of us had no money.
“This was in 2019, but when we were supposed to come back to get into our flats in November last year, a group of people who were not on the list stoned the flats, saying the land where the houses were built belonged to them, not to us. Till today we are not able to move in.”
Ward 69 councillor Ganas Govender said he suspected that the people who blocked beneficiaries were incited by politicians who thought people would thank him for making sure they got houses.
He said the area had now been demarcated and would fall to ward 74, an ANC ward.
“I suspect politics is at play here. Once the area fell into ward 74, I would not guarantee that these beneficiaries would be the ones to occupy these flats because I would no longer be in control. Even when the project is being handed over, I would not even be there as it would no longer be my ward.”
MEC Sibiya said the Minister of Human Settlements Mmamoloko Kubayi would be in the province for three days and there was a meeting scheduled with the eThekwini Municipality to look at many human settlements projects.
“We will establish facts around this project. Our priority is to ensure that we accommodate the vulnerable members of society who need shelter,” said the MEC.