Government spends R3bn fixing shoddy RDP houses
Thousands of low-cost homes had to be demolished and rebuilt, and hundreds of companies have been blacklisted
The human settlements department has spent more than R3.132bn rectifying shoddily built low-cost RDP houses over the past five years.
This amount, according to the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), could have built nearly 31,000 new low-cost RDP houses.
Thousands of RDP houses around the country had to be demolished and rebuilt from scratch.
This has led to hundreds of companies being blacklisted from doing work with government.
Human settlements minister Nomaindia Mfeketo told parliament late in 2018 that more than R3.132bn was spent by six provinces to rectify shoddily built houses over the past five financial years (2013-18).
Mfeketo said the Eastern Cape spent the most, R2.1bn, on rebuilding and repairing 14,732 houses with structural defects and old houses.
Mfeketo revealed that KwaZulu-Natal spent R639.5m to repair or rebuild 4,115 houses between 2013 and 2014 and 2017 and 2018.
She told parliament that the Free State spent R284.6m on rectifying an undisclosed number of the shoddily built houses in the same period.
North West followed with the rectification of 2,600 houses at a cost of more than R70.4m. Limpopo rebuilt 869 houses to the tune of R68.7m and the Western Cape spent more than R67m on an undisclosed number of houses.
Mfeketo said Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape reported not to have incurred any expenditure rectifying housing with structural defects or old houses.
However, four provinces had indicated that they still needed to fix 11,843 houses.
KwaZulu-Natal has yet to fix 6,027 houses, Limpopo 5,291, North West 514 and the Western Cape 11.
Further, Mfeketo said 145,846 title deeds were issued by the nine provinces since 2015-16.
Only 11,089 title deeds had been issued since April 2018.
Gauteng led the pack in issuing title deeds (44,441), followed by the Western Cape (32,855), Free State (20,259), Mpumalanga (17,598) and North West (16,420).
These were followed by KwaZulu-Natal (5,711), the Northern Cape (3,982), Eastern Cape (2,985) and Limpopo (1,595).
This week, human settlements spokesperson Xolani Xundu said the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal indicated they would continue the programme because they had not rectified all the old stock, but discussions with the minister and affected MECs were still under way.
CIDB spokesperson Kotli Molise said that working on a price of R100,000 per unit, the R3.132bn equated to more than 31,000 RDP houses.
“It is critically important that competent contractors are appointed to undertake construction works projects,” Molise said.
The CIDB, however, did not regulate home building – National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) was the regulatory body of the home-building industry through the provisions of the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act.
“The NHBRC goal is to assist and protect housing consumers who have been exposed to contractors who deliver housing units of substandard design, workmanship and poor-quality material,” she said.
NHBRC spokesperson Molebogeng Taunyane said the council conducted inspections during construction and if the inspector found it was not in accordance with the required technical standards, a notice of non-compliance would be issued.
“If the home builder fails to rectify the non-compliances within the required period, the home builder is suspended pending prosecution by the NHBRC disciplinary committee. During the period of suspension the home builder is not allowed to build any homes,” Taunyane said.
Non-compliant home builders faced a fine not exceeding R25,000 per contravention, a warning and the withdrawal of registration.
She said that between the 2016-17 and 2018-19 financial years, the NHBRC suspended 482 home builders who contravened the act, and prosecuted 1,482 home builders for various contraventions including shoddy workmanship, failure to enrol new homes, and contravening the code of conduct for home builders.
The NHBRC had also opened 357 criminal cases against home builders who had failed to register and to enrol new homes as per the act.
Between 2016-17 and 2018-19 the NHBRC had withdrawn the registration of 17 home builders.