Housing recipients suffer due to ill-planning and negligence

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition

As millions of rands are spent in RDP housing, government continues to falter in its planning, monitoring and delivery, resulting in housing beneficiaries having to live in sub-standard units and conditions.

The DA recently reported on poor quality houses in Nkomazi and it seems the problem persists in other parts of the province. Communities in Pixley Ka Seme have complaint about their RDP units with most of their problems related to bad planning and sub-standard construction.

The department’s dismal failure to plan effectively for the building of houses and human settlements was again apparent during a portfolio committee oversight visit to this municipality. Here many RDP housing beneficiaries have no access to the sewage system because their houses’ external drainage pipes are not connected to the main line. This, according to the department, is due to the municipal connection point being at a higher level than the house.

This dilemma raises serious questions regarding the department’s adherence to policies regarding compulsory feasibility studies on land chosen for housing as well as its effective planning and good governance ability.

In addition, many units in Pixley Ka Seme, as in other parts of the province, do not meet RDP quality and building specifications. Most of the houses are cracking and leaking while numerous others were handed over without toilets, access to running water and partitioned rooms. Some units are constantly flooded during the rainy season as they were built on a steep slope and their foundations were built lower than the ground level.

Such conditions force people to live in undesirable circumstances and put their health and safety at risk. It indicates the absence of competent planning and effective supervision. It is yet another example of how government keeps committing to give people a better life, yet continues to fail to live up to its word.

In view of this the DA wants to know what the department plans to do to rectify these particular problems in Pixley Ka Seme as well as in other areas. The department must develop, budget for, and implement a rectification plan to address the problems identified in these units, and where necessary, build new ones on land suitable for housing.

As the department of human settlements continues to fail the province by not meeting housing delivery targets and giving beneficiaries incomplete units, the least it can do is ensure that the few housing projects it does complete meet specifications and requirements and benefit recipients.