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Human Settlements minister concerned about continuation of housing projects

A housing project on Crux Place in Mariannridge, near Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Supplied

A housing project on Crux Place in Mariannridge, near Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Supplied

Published Nov 28, 2021

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DURBAN - Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said she was disappointed by the number of housing projects that were incomplete while beneficiaries still await their houses after 20 years.

The minister made the remark, during a recent media briefing, while appealing to all incoming councillors to remember their oath of office and honour the principles of Batho Pele, regardless of the political parties they represent. Kubayi had received reports that some of the new executives in the municipalities have decided to stop ongoing human settlements projects.

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Kubayi said the sector has many challenges to confront. She said local government was critical to the delivery of settlements.

According to the minister, beneficiaries included orphans, widows and the elderly who were destitute and eagerly awaiting the completion of their houses.

During her provincial visits, she had been pleased to see that much had been achieved – many families have been granted access to decent shelter and there were men and women working hard to make this possible.

However, Kubayi was concerned about the poor workmanship that endangered the lives of beneficiaries, left behind by contractors who worked in collusion with government officials.

“It was heartbreaking to listen to would-be beneficiaries who we have been wronged one way or the other to an extent that they have lost confidence in our housing delivery system,” Kubayi said.

“We will have to sharpen our systems so that they are properly geared to deliver housing opportunities for the majority of South Africans.”

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In August 2017, provincial and city leaders promised 500 new homes to residents of Mariannridge, near Pinetown, following days of rioting and land invasions in the area. Construction was set to begin on September 14, 2017. According to a Daily News article, the housing project was supposed to be done in two phases. The first phase of 350 units was scheduled to be constructed on land that is immediately available and 150 units in Phase 2 would be built at a later stage because there was a lack of vacant land.

Mariannridge community activist Bazil Lottering said only 20 units were built thus far and the housing project in Crux Place had been abandoned.

Lottering said the story goes in-depth and the community was left in the dark regarding the project.

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“The contractors must return to complete what they had started. I am currently running a full-scale investigation around this project and everyone's involvement. The main goal here is to deliver these 500 units to the community,” he said.

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