Public Protector visits failed housing projects
Apparent widespread housing problems within the Umgungundlovu District in KwaZulu-Natal will form part of Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela’s current systemic investigation into social housing.
This follows the Public Protector’s tour on Friday morning of some housing projects recently complained about by a local civil society organization on behalf of residents.
The houses, which are incomplete, without water and electricity, were allegedly found to have been inhabitable by the local council. The occupants had to be moved while imperfections were to be attended to within specific timeframes.
During the Public Protector’s interaction with locals, it emerged that residents were allegedly forced to rent accommodation elsewhere while waiting for the houses to be fixed.
The Public Protector also visited a hostel, where residents complained that they were promised be given first preference for ownership only to be informed that the dwelling had been sold to other people.
“We will seek to find out if the company that built the houses was paid for a half-done job among other things,” the Public Protector said.
She added that her office would establish exactly what the policy alleged to have proclaimed that the hostel residents would be given ownership of the properties provided for.
The Public Protector’s inspection of the projects came ahead of her meeting with residents of Sobantu township outside Pietermaritzburg. The meeting formed part of her ongoing stakeholder consultative process.
During the meeting, locals again highlighted problems around social housing. These included allocation, alleged sale, structural defects and contractors that do not account for shoddy workmanship. They also raised concerns about housing specifications that ar not standard throughout the country. Other issues included municipal services such as water, electricity and sewerage.
The Public Protector promised to process all complaints and to report back to complaints in due course.
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