Dikgatlong toilet trouble must be investigated

By Andrew Louw, MPL, DA Provincial Leader in the Northern Cape:

The Democratic Alliance has requested an immediate and thorough investigation from the MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs into the sanitation mess at Dikgatlong. Why am I tempted to think that this project is another political battle for those who are looking for palm greasing from contractors?

We are concerned about massively inflated costs. An amount of R9.9 million was made available from the department so that prefabricated toilets can be built in Hebron Park. While local suppliers estimate that the prefabricated toilets cost R5 000 each, the municipality spent R18 000 per toilet.

The eradication of the sanitation backlog in the province must be a priority for all who strive to improve the lives and dignity of the poorest of the poor. According to the latest estimates, the Northern Cape has a bucket backlog of more than 20 000. It is impossible for our people to live dignified lives in these circumstances.

With the funds allocated from the department, the municipality could have constructed 1 980 prefabricated toilets. Instead, it only constructed 550. The municipality could have eradicated a third of its sanitation backlog, but chose to turn this project into another little Nkandla.

The Democratic Alliance is concerned that construction projects throughout the province are resembling the problematic construction of the psychiatric health hospital in Kimberley. Why are so many of the crucial construction projects, from toilets to houses, characterized by poor project management and escalating costs?