Stink of more toilets

WHAT a waste!

About 100 unused toilets, worth R1,2 million and built in 1997 in Moutse, Limpopo, have been vandalised while government officials wrangle about who is responsible for the project.

The toilets in question formed part of a second phase RDP project in which 100 houses were to have been built. But that never happened and 14 years later people of Matlelerekeng village near Dennilton are still waiting.

Moutse, a semirural area situated about 150km northeast of Pretoria, initially fell under Mpumalanga but was transferred to Limpopo in 2006.

The Limpopo government has refused to take responsibility for the project, arguing that Mpumalanga ought to finish what it started.

"That project are among cross-boundary projects, of which the memorandum of understanding between us and Mpumalanga states that each province must finish what it started," Limpopo housing department spokesperson Dieketseng Diale said.

Mpumalanga department of human settlement spokesperson Freddy Ngobe said: "Given the nature of the area in question, we will interact with our Limpopo counterparts."

Residents say the project was destined for failure because the houses were built in the veld.

"We raised concerns from the start because those houses were being built on no-man's land," community member Ouma Mampane said.

"We told then housing MEC David Mabuza that they should rather build the houses in the yards of deserving people but they would not listen to us.

"(The then) Mpumalanga premier Mathews Phosa assured us that the project would benefit us, but it turned to be a waste of money."

Mampane said the names of the prospective beneficiaries were taken by Phosa's office and the construction of the houses began.

"In the second phase, another 100 toilets were built but we are still waiting for the houses.

Another resident, Frans Mawela, said: "We don't even know what happened to the money meant for the project."

Mawela said since the beginning of the year bricks and toilet roofs were stolen by people who used the material to build their own houses.

Conrad Tsiane, who was mayor of Moutse at the time the project started, has declined to comment, saying he was no longer in politics.

"If you want information about that project, contact David Mabuza or Steve Ngwenya. They have all the details you need."

Attempts to get either man failed as their phones rang unanswered yesterday.

Mabuza, now Mpumalanga premier, was housing MEC at the time, while Ngwenya, now Independent Electoral Commission officer in Mpumalanga, was project manager.