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Money down the drain

By Anna Majavu | Feb 10, 2011 | COMMENTS [ 21 ]

THE cost of fixing South Africa's badly built RDP houses has shot up to R58 billion.

"If we were to do effective rectification, we would require R58 billion - that is not for building, just for rectification," Human Settlements director-general Thabane Zulu told Parliament's human settlements portfolio committee yesterday.

Zulu told Sowetan after the meeting that the figure was an estimate that still required verification.

But after Housing Minister Tokyo Sexwale said just six weeks ago that he had set aside R1,3 billion to fix sub-standard houses this year, the new estimate of R58 billion came as a shock to MPs, who gasped loudly.

The department's annual budget is only R16,3 billion. If the government spends R1,3 billion a year on the rectification programme, it will take more than 40 years just to fix sub-standard houses.

It also emerged that the department still had not found a way to prevent companies who built the poorly constructed houses from getting more contracts with the government.

"Some have become rectifiers of rectification. You build a project yourself, knowing that you are going to come back and rectify it. There has to be a process where people who have not built quality must be blacklisted," Zulu said.

He also revealed that when companies do work for the department, government officials are sent out to verify their invoices and check that the work has been done. This new practice came about as a result of special investigations unit investigations into corruption in the department.

The committee also commended Zulu and Sexwale for their recent decision to withdraw R463 million in government funds from Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, who had underspent their housing budgets.

Zulu said if they had not withdrawn the R463 million the provinces would have felt forced to spend it quickly.

"They would end up inflating the costs of projects," Zulu said.

Meanwhile, the department was rapped over the knuckles by MPs for failing to give out vouchers as part of their rural housing subsidy voucher scheme.

The scheme was launched in 2009 and offers rural people vouchers to build their own houses.

But nobody has yet benefited from the scheme because the first pilot project will only be launched in Eastern Cape at the end of this year.

COMMENTS [ 21 ]

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IT WILL STILL HAPPEN FOR AS LONG AS YOU ARE GIVING YOUR FRIENDS TENDERS TO BUILD HOUSES AND NOT CAPABLE CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES. DEAL WITH IT TOKYO,RE KENA KAE RONA MOO? NXHA!

Feb 10, 2011 7:56 | 0 replies

Treat each area development as a project! Put in place qualified people with experience and skills, not your favourites and those in cahoots with your Mayors and Councillors. Let someone and different others from somewhere outside the area do the inspections. Just be serious about things, success will be eminent. Stop butt-kissing and pull-out the whip with those corner-cutters! They are flipping sucking us dry as a nation whilst their accounts baloon with our taxes. Put in penalty clauses, failure to comply with requirements must have an ultimate of a long prison sentence.

Feb 10, 2011 10:42 | 0 replies

The department of Human Settlement should not come with excuse-they should have a system/database in place where thet record all the companies that bid for housding tenders and also record the company which was awarded a tender for a paarticular project on a particular site. Hpw can they award a tender to the same company to rectify the damage again without knowing-these goes to show that their Supply Chain is corrupt.

and after all these experience with fruitless expenditures, they should have a policy that hold liable the company awarded the tender to fix damages if the house falls apart within a specified period, am telling you these tenderpreneurs with big bellies who cant even build will do the perfect job from the beginning.

Feb 10, 2011 10:43 | 0 replies

Usual S*$#@t

Can South African people, who votes PLEASE STOP BUYING RDP houses.

Feb 10, 2011 11:8 | 0 replies

- high unemployment in this country, ppl with skills and degrees/ diplomas, certified certificates unemployed.
- gvmnt maybe need to look into getting da graduets eg bo project managers, constructgion what what, electrician, quantity surveyors, architects etc etc all those sectors or fields, instead of looking into hiring boFriends & favourables...
- And whn u hv hired the graduate, pay them accordingly considering ur budget, no cutting corners, SA will be a great place i say!..

Feb 10, 2011 2:52 | 0 replies

Corruption exists world wide in in all shperes of society.

What I have a problem with in this country is that there is far much more corruption in comparison to service delivery.

Cadre deployment is killing us since it is directly linked to tender rigging. unqualified greedy cadres are put into positions where they can award millions of tax payers money to their close frinds and relatives through rigged tenders.

By the time up and coming skilled entrepreneurs bid for a tender its already been awarded to some close buddy of some cadres.

And this is the result. We get what we voted for. 58 billion and lots more down the drain and its your money

Feb 10, 2011 4:0 | 0 replies

@Infidel
You're so right my brother. Why is nobody held accountable?

Feb 10, 2011 4:44 | 0 replies

Mr Zulu do not be silly. If it was your own house will you just say you do not know what to do if they messed up your house. The responsibility is on the hands of those giving tenders, you know them and i believe you have a say. Those rubbish contractors have to be blacklisted. Tenders must be given to qualified contractors with correct equipment. I am asking myself if inspectors are being send to see whether the job is done properly or not. Why always ANC people do things without direction. Where are your policies and mandates. Ag i do not think i want to work with people without direction. This is a blind leading the blinds.

Feb 10, 2011 7:32 | 0 replies

we managed to built sophisitcated world-cup stadiums, but we are failing to build proper simple four bed room houses. Tokyo, stop making noise and implement programmes to manage the construction of those RDP houses, or else give those tenders to Murray and Roberts, Grinaker etc. The so called BEE companies are failing left and right.

Feb 11, 2011 7:59 | 0 replies

First class government incompetence!!! Catch it live at 7 tonight.

Feb 10, 2011 9:28 | 0 replies

R58 billion, to not build new low cost housing, merely to maintain the existing ones. Lets have a look at this figure. Ave price to construct a low cost house, R250,000.

R58 bill could have afforded us 208,000 new houses.

Due to tenderpreneurs and hyenas, that money is not going into new developments, merely maintenance.

Who were the inspectors for these projects?!
Name and shame the companies, and the persons that issued the tenders.

Feb 10, 2011 9:14 | 0 replies