A report tabled at the city’s executive committee (Exco) meeting on Tuesday shows how some targets, including those pertaining to housing provision and waste recycling, have been reduced.
One is the percentage of waste recycled. The city had initially set the target at 10% of total waste disposed at the municipal landfill sites but this has been revised to 6.5%.
In its report, the city blames this on a number of issues including the orange bags “saga that has been in the media”.
Earlier this year, The Mercury reported how a plastic manufacturer was awarded a R90 million contract in 2015 to produce and provide millions of orange bags used by residents to recycle waste.
The tender, allegedly awarded despite the company not having the capacity to produce the required product, was found to have been irregularly awarded by forensic investigators who also recommended criminal charges be lodged against the company.
The report tabled at Exco states that waste recycling targets had to be revised because of issues that were beyond the control of Durban Solid Waste, including the damage to the recyclers’ infrastructure by storms. “We also had an increased tonnage of illegal dumping brought to the landfill sites due to the increased clean-up operations.”
The number of subsidised houses that the city had to built was also revised from 4688 to 4200, while the number of households benefiting from serviced sites decreased from 2247 to 1500.
The municipality blamed poor performance by contractors, saying in some cases this had led to some of the contracts being terminated.
There were also delays with site inspections as inspectors were allegedly “hijacked on site in areas such as uMlazi, Ntuzuma D and KwaXimba”.
Beryl Mpakathi, the deputy city manager responsible for human settlements, said there were instances where National Home Builders Registration Council officials were held hostage on sites and the construction had to stop because the city could not continue to build when houses were not certified by the council.
She pointed out, however, that the city continued providing other forms of housing such as rental stock and housing units meant for the gap market.
Mpakathi added that the reduction in the allocation that the city gets for housing was also having a negative impact on the number of units it could build each year.
“We cannot build houses we cannot recover money for.”