Cape Town - Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi on Thursday decried the process it took to blacklist companies that were responsible for incomplete housing units.
Responding to questions in the National Council of Provinces, Kubayi said there should be consequence management when wrong-doing was found on the part of the contractors.
“Part of the challenge in terms of blacklisting of companies is that we seem to find it a bit tedious and a long process. We will be engaging with the National Treasury around these issues,” she said.
“It is a long process and it’s not like you can wake up and say someone is blacklisted,” Kubayi said.
She noted that there was sometimes public outcry about defaulting companies continuing to be awarded government tenders.
“That process can even take up to a year to be able to finalise. It is prescriptive in order to provide the company to respond. It is not an automatic process.”
Kubayi told the delegates to the NCOP that her department has done an audit of the incomplete houses.
“I must indicate that the work is not yet complete. What we are finding in various provinces is that an incomplete project would differ for why it is incomplete and at which level.”
Some of the houses were at foundation phase while others were at wall or roof level.
“Part of what we are doing is to quantify first the integrity of the structures that are there,” Kubayi said, adding that they were also looking at the cost associated with finishing the incomplete houses.
“We have agreed together with the MECs that this is a programme of three years to be able to complete all those backlogs of houses that have been incomplete while we deal with new projects.”
Kubayi also said her department was still verifying information on the contractors who left the incomplete houses.
“That work is ongoing as well and we will report publicly when we are confident. There are two (court) cases already that relate to projects that are unfinished,” she said.
The minister dismissed a suggestion that her department should build houses rather than award housing tenders.
Kubayi said tenders ensured that the government fulfilled what the constitution required of them to procure in a fair, transparent and just manner.
She also said her department should be responsible for policy making and create an environment to provide for services and create opportunities as well as ensuring project management, contract management and monitoring and evaluation.
Kubayi also said no one could stand in public and justify why the beneficiaries were not receiving the houses they were supposed to receive.
“We have agreed as the department that one of the things that is going to assist is to have a beneficiary list that is transparent and emphasises accountability.”
She said the housing beneficiary list would be digitised.
Kubayi also said she did not agree with the notion that public representatives such as political heads should resign for delays in beneficiaries receiving houses.
“If people are found to have done wrong they can take responsibility.”
However, Kubayi said she was in agreement with calls to name and shame the defaulting contractors.
“Those are some of the things we will have to try and put in place against all odds. My view is if it means we go and take some of their belongings, including their houses, so be it.”
She said she would back a push for public representatives to hold everybody accountable.
“I will do my part to hold those who do business in the portfolio accountable. That is why we want to ensure contract management is tightened,” Kubayi said.