Sexwale Calls For Debate On Creation Of State owned Construction Company

Pretoria - Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has called for debate on the establishment of a state-owned construction company.

While no decision has been taken as yet on the establishment of a state-owned construction company, debate was needed on the issue to address the shoddy workmanship that characterised low-cost housing, the minister said.

Sexwale was addressing stakeholders in the construction industry in Pretoria on Thursday.

The many shortcomings of governments' worldwide did not necessarily mean that the idea of a state-owned construction company would not work in South Africa. It was working in Brazil, he noted.

Government would not control 100% of the company. Management of such a company should remain in the private sector, he added.

A R50 billion rectification bill, to repair substandard houses, was forcing his hand, Sexwale noted.

"I cannot continue doing this job knowing that the figure of R50 billion will escalate and we keep on going to the same people (who are the cause of the problem in the first place) to rectify. I need your help to find out what it is that you are thinking," said Sexwale.

The minister added that he wanted to see the construction industry prospering but cautioned that quality delivery was expected of it.

"I cannot continue giving money to people whose sole mission is to undermine the work of government. We want to see you succeeding; creating wealth and we want to see you being profitable.

"At the same time we want quality delivery. What we have been getting in the past is less than pleasing, shoddy work," Sexwale pointed out.

Government was fed up with those who delivered poor quality work, he said.

"We want people who are credible, people who pay attention to detail, people who have the know-how and who can provide us with quality work. We are ... fed-up...we want taxpayers to feel that it is worth it to pay their taxes."

He questioned whether the Human Settlements budget of R25 billion a year should be given to major companies who would be forced to bring in their partners into the low-cost housing sector.