Soil and mud tumbling down into the back walls of people’s homes and water seeping through the walls and floors are what residents of uMlazi have experienced in their new RDP homes since moving in early in 2011.
Some residents told The Mercury on Monday they were afraid that their houses, in the Umlazi B10 housing project, would collapse and they would be injured or even killed.
DA human settlements spokesman Stevens Mokgalapa, accompanied by a group of DA public representatives, visited homes to assess the quality of RDP housing being built and the housing projects identified for rectification.
Mokgalapa said this was the first in a number of site visits across the country.
Ntombifuthi Dlamini, who lives below one of the houses that appears on the verge of collapse, said one half of her home was covered in sand.
“Our bedroom window is always closed because it is almost completely covered with sand. If we had to open it, the sand would just tumble into the house,” she said.
Dlamini said she moved into her house in January 2011 and it was already showing cracks.
“I do not understand how this house was passed. There are no retaining walls and water seeps in under the thin foundation slabs,” she said.
Mokgalapa said poor workmanship had made many RDP houses uninhabitable.
“We saw examples of poor workmanship which included unstable walls and structures that leak in the rainy season.
There is no other option but for many of these houses to be demolished and rebuilt,” he said.
He said that in February 2011, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale had told the portfolio committee on human settlements that R1.3 billion would be set aside and used for the rectification programme to address shoddy workmanship on RDP houses.
Mokgalapa said he would write to the chairman of the committee to ask that Sexwale be called to explain how building contractors providing substandard housing had been called to account.
“The minister needs to explain to Parliament what steps his department is taking to ensure that the homes of the people of Umlazi are brought up to an acceptable standard,” he said.
Mokgalapa said that in many cases, poor South Africans had been left to pay the price for the inferior workmanship that was the result of the corrupt awarding of housing tenders.- The Mercury