Finetown still waits for completed houses
RESIDENTS of Finetown near Orange Farm, Johannesburg, were left baffled about four years ago when a construction company packed up and left before completing RDP houses allocated to them.
The township is dotted with numerous demarcated stands that have unfinished RDP houses.
The would-be beneficiaries live in the yards and have had to re-erect their shacks in the little space that has been left.
But the numbers do not add up at the Gauteng department of local government and housing.
Department spokesman Motsamai Motlhaolwa said more than R8.6-million had been budgeted for 158 units.
The company contracted to do the work, FCI Build, was to be paid as milestones - like foundations, wall plate level and handover - were reached in the project.
The company only completed 40 units with 118 unfinished, but was paid close to R6.5-million.
Residents said structures had been demolished and shacks were re-built.
"We do not know what happened for this project to stop. They just left things like this and the company disappeared," said Takalani Ramatsimbila, who was a beneficiary.
"The structure and piping is now falling apart. They told us at the time that it would take 16 days for the house to be completed. They worked here for about a week. They said they wanted to start on another house and we thought they were waiting for this structure to dry out, but they never came back. We are still waiting for them to finish almost four years later."
Andries Baloi, 69 said: "The builders left without a word. They said it would take two weeks, but were building in dribs and drabs for months before they just vanished."
His neighbour, Martha Shabangu, said: "We had to rebuild our shacks in a hurry when the rains came and most of our goods were damaged. These structures have now robbed us of a yard and we could not build shacks big enough to accommodate our goods."
She said the local councillor told a community meeting about three months ago that the government was trying to track down the contractor.
Makoma Ramokgona, 64 said: "We are tired because nobody is telling us the truth. These structures are now falling apart and it has occupied most of yard. I want to break it down because it is useless, but I am afraid to as it will be a violation of the law."
Motlhaolwa said: "FCI was initially contracted to build the houses but due to their having a cash flow problem they failed to complete the work assigned to them.
"Our department is in the process of finalising the appointment of a service to complete this project. We will be using services of a company that has experience in alternative building technology to ensure that this project is completed." - email@example.com