Unfinished RDP houses leave residents fuming

DESPAIR: Thabo Motjotji   between his incomplete RDP house and the  shack he  currently shares with his brother. PHOTO: NTWAAGAE SELEKA
DESPAIR: Thabo Motjotji between his incomplete RDP house and the shack he currently shares with his brother. PHOTO: NTWAAGAE SELEKA

RESIDENTS of Bethulie in Free State are fuming after contractors left more than half of the RDP houses in the area incomplete.

Many of the RDP houses in the area do not have doors, roofs and windows. Others are half-complete.

The beneficiaries claim they cannot complete the houses using their own money, citing poverty and unemployment.

Construction allegedly stopped almost a year ago and residents now demand to know why the project was abandoned.

Some residents said they had been told that the houses could not be completed because the government had no funds.

Other residents claim that constructors abandoned the project after the government failed to pay them.

Because the area was initially an informal settlement, many of the people who stood to benefit from the RDPs still live in their shacks.

One street had a complete RDP house, an incomplete one, while on a third stand only the foundation trenches had been dug.

Thabo Motjotji, 67, who lives with his elder brother in a two-roomed shack behind their incomplete RDP house, said: "I do not have an idea of when my house will be completed."

"I don't know what to do or who talk to at the municipality.

"I wish I had money, I could have long completed my house."

Another disgruntled resident, Buyiswa Marks, stays in a two-roomed shack with her husband and five youngchildren.

"I was happy when they dug the foundation trenches in our yard.

"I thought my children would have their own room. Instead, people later came to refill the trenches because there was no money to complete the houses," she said.

Marks's children are now forced to sleep on the kitchen floor.

Olga Salagae's RDP house is partially roofed but has no doors nor windows.

"What can I say," was all she said to this reporter.

There were many incomplete, unoccupied partially-vandalised RDP houses in Salagae's street.

Free State department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs spokeswoman Senne Bogatsu refused to reveal the name of the contractors involved.

Instead, she said MEC Olly Mlamleli had made a commitment to complete all the incomplete projects in the province.

"The process will continue in the next financial year. We will make sure all those houses are completed.

"The department experienced a shortage of funds in the previous financial year. That is why the contractors could not be paid," she said.

Bogatsu said the department now had the funds to complete the houses.

"The houses will be completed between now and the next financial year," she said. - ntwagaes@sowetan.co.za

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