'I'm sorry for my neighbours'
THE daughter of a woman who was given the only house built in the R16m housing project in Taung, North West, yesterday said she sympathised with the community that never benefited from the project.
Keolebogile Phuti's mother, Nomana Phuti, 66, was the only beneficiary in the low-cost RDP house project in Mokassa 2 in Ba Ga Phuduhucwana Extention (ward 5).
The Taung local municipality housing project in the area was worth R8.1m. In another area Ba Ga Maidi (ward 13), no houses were built in the R8.5m project.
The municipality made payments worth more than R16m to MD3 Developers.
The municipality did not respond to questions sent on Wednesday relating to the matter.
Phuti, 33, told Sowetan that her mother was given the house keys in 2006.
"My mother and other residents were told the house was a display unit for the RDP houses that would be built in the area. She was given the house because her house number was used," Phuti said.
But her mother does not live in the house. She lives in Tamasikwa village.
"My brother built a house there. She lives there because there are children in the family who attend school. Here in Mokassa the schools are far away so I had to move into the RDP house," Phuti said. "I sympathise with the residents who never benefited. People really need houses in this place. I am worried about the situation here. I share their pain. People are suffering here."
Phuti is living with her mother in Tamasikwa village because she recently gave birth.
"I have someone guarding the house and I will be returning to it soon," she said.
The Taung municipality awarded a tender to MD3 Developers to build 731 houses: 360 in Ba Ga Phuduhucwana Extension and 371 at Ba Ga Maidi. But the company failed to deliver on the contractual agreement, leading to residents embarking on service delivery protests.
The Department of Human Settlements launched investigations and engaged the special investigation unit (SIU) last year. The SIU probe revealed that only one house was built.
The Hawks arrested the company's directors, Janice Mendes, 42, and Machiel Marais, 47, last week. Mendes and Marais are out on R1000 and R5000 bail, respectively.
They will be back in the dock on February 16.