rdp houses are 'deathtraps'

THE National Council of Provinces has described RDP houses in Limpopo as "death traps" due to poor workmanship.

The NCOP found this out on Monday at the start of its week-long visit to Limpopo.

The RDP houses, spread throughout the province, cost millions of rands. Several government projects, including the RDP houses, will be visited.

The NCOP discovered that some houses were of such a poor quality that members feared for the residents' lives. A member of the NCOP and spokesperson for the six delegates deployed to Limpopo, Matome Mokgobi, said some of the houses "were a death trap" for the occupants.

He said some houses had huge cracks and others had bricks falling when their owners closed the doors.

Mokgobi, who also chairs the committee on corporative governance in parliament, also claimed that some houses were easily flooded on rainy days because of leaking roofs.

His sentiments were echoed by Limpopo MEC for local government and housing Soviet Lekganyane, who said about 13000 RDP houses were left incomplete by developers.

He said some of these developers had disappeared without a trace.

Lekganyane said his department was tracking down these developers so that they could pay damages or be prosecuted.

He said of the 13000 houses some had no window frames, while others were without roofs.

He said some of the developers had not even started building their allocation of houses and others had not completed their quotas. He said these problems were prevalent throughout the province.

Lekganyae said his department had undertaken to rebuild 7000 of those houses this financial year in identified places, while the rest would be completed in the next financial year.

During his visit to Tshikota village outside Makhado on Sunday, Lekganyane discovered that two developers who had won contracts to build RDP houses had failed to do so.

The two developers were expected to construct 187 and 170 houses, respectively, before the beginning of December 2007, but 10 months later the expected beneficiaries had no roofs over their heads.

Lekganyane said one developer was paid 16percent of the total budget for the project and the other R2,3million.

He said the two developers had since vanished, leaving their projects incomplete.