SA Government issues warning to shoddy housing contractors

By Gabi Khumalo

Nelspruit - Government has issued a stern warning to shoddy housing contractors who continue to build defective houses, saying that they could be struck off from the list and lose all contracts from the government.

Handing over 53 houses to beneficiaries on Friday in Thekwane North, Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale urged people to inform the department if they were not happy with the standard of the houses built for them.

"If the contractors were awarded a tender to build the houses and they don't do the right thing, they will no longer get the contract from the government and we will spread the word to all the provinces and districts not to give them any jobs," Minister Sexwale said.

A contract to build 53 houses in Thekwane North was awarded to the South African Women in Construction (SAWIC) as part of the Women's Build project, which coincided with Women's Month.

Through the cooperation from private business sectors, the houses came fully furnitured with fridges, microwaves, pots, sofas, irons and groceries.

Mr Sexwale acknowledged the cooperation between government and the private sector, adding that the government is to meet with the business people so that they can come on board and make a contribution to the lives of the people.

"Housing has a huge problem and it will take more than the minister and cabinet to address it and we need more from the businesses," he said.

He also urged the beneficiaries to take care of their houses and plant trees and vegetable gardens.

"You must show that you are human beings, keep your houses clean and don't put informal settlements outside your yards," he said.

SAWIC chairperson Thandi Ndlovu encouraged the minister to award them the opportunity to build more houses next time when they are given a contract.

"We urged the government to allocate 20 000 units to women contractors in five years time to prove ourselves. If we only build 53 houses, our impact in the industry is not being felt," Dr Ndlovu said.

One of the beneficiaries Limita Matlhase, 86, thanked the government for making her dream come true.

"My dream of owning a house has been realized, now I'll be able to take proper care of my husband, who is blind, in a good home instead of the shack I was living in, which has fallen apart," said Ms Matlhase, wiping her tears.

Another recipient Josephine Zulu, 58, told BuaNews that all her life, she had never slept on a bed not to mention owning a fridge or microwave.

"I don't even know how much these things costs. I've been sleeping on the floor with my two grandchildren for as long as I can remember.

"Today I've reaped the fruits of voting and I urge people to go and vote because the government keeps its promises," she said, adding that she has not even met the President but she has seen his work. - BuaNews