By Hlanganani Gumbi, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Human Settlements:
A media report yesterday, confirming that the brakes have been put on a R900 million Kokstad housing project following claims of corruption, is set to test the credibility of KZN Human Settlements MEC, Ravi Pillay and his department.
The project was halted following an urgent interdict by one of the companies that tendered for the project over allegations of malpractice during the procurement process.
The MEC has disputed this and claims that the applicant was misled by ‘a scam’.
If the MEC is defending the indefensible – and evidence of maladministration is found – then this will be a serious blow to his and the departments’ credibility. The department is already struggling to defend a case against Abahlali Basemjondolo on land evasions.
While the MEC and his department battle it out in court, the people of Kokstad, for whom these houses were intended, wait in vain. Many were promised their own homes years ago. Now they will have to find the strength to carry on under very difficult living conditions.
The Kokstad housing project appears to have been mired in controversy from the start. In 2012, KZN’s Human Settlements department issued a tender for the construction of the project which it then cancelled due to a lack of funding. It allegedly re-advertised the tender earlier this year.
For as long as KZN’s ANC government continues to distribute tenders in a closed system, with the bid adjudication committee not open to the public, it will be dogged by these issues. In the DA-led Western Cape, the tender process is open for all to see.
The DA eagerly awaits the outcomes of these court proceedings.
We remain committed to playing our role to ensure that concrete action is taken to ensure that those responsible are held to account.