The IFP has prepared written questions demanding answers from the KZN Department of Human Settlements regarding the Sitholeni RDP Housing project.

The IFP is gravely concerned about the lack of evaluation and monitoring of housing government projects by the Department of Human Settlements in KwaZulu Natal.

Residents of Sitholeni, KwaNyuswa are up in arms after they were told that they have to vacate their RDP houses because they are in poor condition and need to be demolished.

The department admits that the engineers from the construction company were not in contact with the certified National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) engineers to approve the work standard and quality of houses.

The IFP insists that the department must be held accountable for shoddy workmanship because it has failed to monitor the project engineers time to time to ensure that all construction work is of high standard from start to finish.

We demand answers to the questions below from the KZN MEC of Human Settlements, Peggy Nkonyeni as to:

  1. How much was the total budget allocation for Sitholeni Housing Project?
  2. Which processes were followed in selecting the contractor amongst other contractors?
  3. Which contractor won the tender to build houses? (Please attach a list with the rest of the bidders?
  4. Did the department ensure that the material bought was of high standard and from certified suppliers?
  5. What action will be taken against this contractor for shoddy workmanship?
  6. How much will be spent to rectify the houses to be demolished?
  7. Why the Department failed to monitor the construction process on a daily basis?
  8. How many construction companies have been blacklisted due to poor performance?

All these questions must be answered by the MEC. Heads must roll in this matter.  We demand that a thorough investigation must be conducted in this matter. This is yet another wasteful expenditure of public funds as substandard projects continue to cost the state billions of Rands that are unaccounted for.

The IFP is concerned about incompetent contractors who get chosen so that they can benefit the corrupt officials within departments. The most important aspect of a quality project is the workmanship; unfortunately, poor quality workmanship can destroy projects already put in place.

The IFP demands that greater attention should be given to project supervision by regulators in the construction industry since poor supervision of work is the major problem of poor workmanship. The supervisory team of construction firms, the local authorities and works and housing ministry should increase their supervisory activities on workers of construction sites to improve workmanship quality.  Regular in-service training and workshops should be organized by contractors to help improve the quality and skills of their workers. Government and contractor’s associations should develop a standard for acceptable quality materials that can be used in the construction industry and ensure full compliance by all contractors.

Compromised contractors who are given massive budgets have contributed to poor performance due to their lack of skills in all key project management processes and skilled personnel in their companies and the law must help us to conduct background checks on them.

Lastly, the IFP emphasizes that the responsible contractor awarded the tender for Sitholeni Housing Project in KwaNyuswa must pay back the money and be blacklisted.

Mrs Thokozile Gumede MPL,
IFP KZN Spokesperson on Human Settlements,
073 583 8585