Witness: Imbali’s housing projects in shambles


Imbali’s housing projects in shambles
03 Mar 2011
Thobani Ngqulunga

THE government has admitted that housing projects in Pietermaritzburg are in a shambles, after a team of lawmakers and officials visited sites and listened to residents’ grievances yesterday.

The delegation was led by the chairperson of the national portfolio committee on human settlement, Nomhle Dambuza, accompanied by her provincial counterpart, Jeff Vilani, local mayors and municipal and department officials.

They toured several sites in Imbali.

They were appalled to see the conditions of the houses built near the hostel in Imbali. People complained that the houses are sold by councillors and they do not know when they will be evicted, so they are not paying for services.

Their sentiments were echoed at Phase 4, Unit 13, Imbali, where two contractors have left the project incomplete because the municipality has not paid them.

Residents have moved into the houses even though they have not been completed.

Said a resident, “I paid R17 000 for my RDP house and now I have been told that I would have to move out because they say I am staying there illegally.”

Dambuza said, “We are going to have to go back and sit down with the province to figure a way to tackle these problems because they have been going on for a long time.”

She assured the residents that someone will have to answer for the incomplete projects because the national government allocated a budget for them.

“The minister of human settlement has set up a special investigating unit that deals with these problems and they will be sending a team to come and investigate,” she said.

The officials were not happy that ward councillors and certain municipal officials were not present on the tour to answer residents’ questions.

“We are going to have to summon these officials to give explanations to the people,” said Dambuza.

She promised the residents a full report-back.

The national spokesperson for the SA National Civic Organisation, Dumisani Mthalane said, “This is a failure of government to do its job.

“We find a situation where two contractors abandoned the project because they were not paid after they had begun to do the work.”

He said the quality of work needs to be monitored because building “wire-wall houses” is wasteful expenditure.