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Human Settlements in North West launch a programme to unblock incomplete housing projects

human settlements in north west launch a programme to unblock incomplete housing projects

The North West Department of Human Settlements has launched a programme to unblock incomplete housing projects and revive stalled ones across the province.

The department undertook an oversight visit to some of the projects around Klerksdorp, where scores of residents have expressed frustrations about their incomplete housing units, which have stalled for years, without any government intervention.

The provincial Human Settlements department together with the Matlosana Local Municipality visited some housing projects around Klerksdorp.

Programme launched to revive stalled housing project in North West:
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Handover

During the visit, RDP houses and title deeds were handed to residents.

For others, the houses were a welcome surprise.

“I’ve never received such a gift  – a fully furnished house. I thank the government. My house is beautiful and full of furniture that I didn’t have. Thank you,” says a recipient.

Seventy-three-year-old Elizabeth More says she applied twice for an RDP house. After staying in a shack for a decade, finally, her dream of owning a house has come true.

“I’m so happy. My heart is full of joy. I never thought that one day I would no longer be staying in a shack. It was terrible during windy nights,” laments More.

While housing beneficiaries were beaming with smiles, others were angry and disappointed. Their RDP houses, are still standing incomplete, after years of waiting and hoping, while the government did nothing.

One of the former construction workers says, “134 foundations and more than 140 houses that should be completed are still standing incomplete. They built houses and just abandoned the project without even inspecting them. I’ve been part and parcel of the construction work. I, personally, reported that to the department, asking them to come and assess houses that have never been inspected. They promised to come and inspect the houses but to this day. They have failed us,” says a former construction worker.

“We have problems that we reported years ago about incomplete houses. We thought the MEC or the minister would be here because I don’t have hope in the Provincial Department of Human Settlements because they don’t have the answers,” says a disgruntled resident.

Alleged unpaid contractors

However, the government defended itself by saying the backlog of incomplete projects, was caused by contractors who abandoned projects, allegedly, for not being paid.

“What made the situation of blocked projects is that there was an issue around the quantum which was allocated by the national department at that time, and contractors then felt that they are losing than making money out of the projects. They decided to leave sites of the projects and that’s why we have requested to have an additional R8000-something per unit. We have engaged in that programme of unblocking blocked projects but an acknowledgment has just been made that we have not been able to reach all of them,” says MEC for Human Settlements Lenah Miga.

The residents’ plea is for government to prioritise the completion of housing projects which have stalled, for years.

Cape Town Housing

Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town says it has budgeted R140 million to expand and operate its Safe Spaces over the next three years. The city’s Safe Space model offers a transitional shelter pathway off the streets, along with a range of social services.

The city says the services include access to an on-site social worker and personal development planning. They currently operate the spaces in the Cape Town CBD and Bellville.

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis says they are identifying potential sites for new Safe Spaces. He says feasibility studies are underway into prospective sites to determine their suitability.

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