South Africa: RDP Needs Urgent Attention - Protector

Klerksdorp — The dire state of RDP houses in the North West needs urgent attention, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Thursday.

"We have to remedy this situation as soon as possible together with the human settlements department and the municipalities," she said at a meeting with Klerksdorp residents.

People complained about the poor standard of construction and how they were told their houses were completed, only to find they had been given to other people.

Others alleged their houses were sold to other people without their knowledge.

Foundations were constructed and then abandoned three years ago in Joubertina township, resident Buti Tshabalala told Madonsela.

Tshabalala said his local councillor had told him the government was "meeting people halfway", and that he should complete building his house himself.

Madonsela said the role of local councillors in the procurement and provision of houses should be clearly defined.

"It seems some of the houses that were supposed to have been completed and signed off did not even exist," she said.

Madonsela and her deputy Mamiki Shai were in the North West as part of a countrywide investigation into complaints about RDP houses and minibus taxis.

The allegations of fraud and corruption against officials were overwhelming, she said.

"We have to not only look at what went wrong in the procurement and provision of houses, but find a way forward to prevent this from happening again."

Her office received 2305 complaints regarding RDP houses from residents in the North West, she said.

One case she was investigating involved a Klerksdorp municipal employee who raised the alarm about poorly-constructed RDP houses.

She said the employee said he called in the SA Home Builders Council and the SA Bureau of Standards to assess the houses. The two organisations advised that the foundations be destroyed and rebuilt as they were of a very poor standard.

The employee lost his job, said Madonsela.

"This is one of the cases we are investigating in this province.

[Klerksdorp] mayor Michael Khauoe tells me the municipality has its side of the story."

Her visit to one site revealed structural damage and poor workmanship.

"More money was spent on trying to fix the faulty houses instead of destroying them and building them again. Patching up the cracks did not help at all," Madonsela said.

She would meet residents of Mahikeng on Friday. Madonsela had already been to KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Free State. She would visit Limpopo next week.

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