Cape Town: Newfields Village Abahlali Slams National Home Builders Audit

Newfields Village Abahlali base Mjondolo
Press Statement
5th June 2007

HANOVER PARK, CAPE TOWN – The Newfields Village Abahlali baseMjondolo has slammed the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) audit findings into the defects of 415 low cost houses.

The movement is now seeking legal advice in order to have the audit findings declared null and void.

Residents moved into the 415 homes, built on swamp land, several years ago. The Cape Town Community Housing Company (CTCHC) offered residents low income rental housing from between R150 to R350 a month, that would be transferred into their names after five years. But within months of moving in, huge flaws appeared in the houses. Residents had to spend hundreds of rands each month to fix up their homes.

Residents battled for five years with the CTCHC to have their homes declared dysfunctional, even carrying out their own audit of the defects. Government then committed R31.6 million for the repair of the houses which was supposed to be based on a new audit by the NHBRC.

But the NHBRC did not do a proper job. They went door to door last November 2006, photographing the houses and noting the defects. However, many people were out at work and the NHBRC did not bother to return to inspect these houses.

This week, the NHBRC issued homeowners with individual reports. Over half the community has so far reported to the Newfields Village Abahlali baseMjondolo that they have received incorrect documents (documents pertaining to other houses, audits of flats whereas the resident lives in a maisonette, and documents indicating that houses have been inspected even though the owner was not at home).

This is very disappointing and unacceptable. The Newfields Village Abahlali baseMjondolo has now decided to reject the audit of the NHBRC and have retained legal counsel to look into doing a proper audit of the defects. The NHBRC has done a shoddy job because this is a community of poor people. The Newfields Village Abahlali baseMjondolo is now mobilising for audits in other communities.


For comment contact Gary Hartzenberg of the Newfields Village Abahlali baseMjondolo on 072 3925859