Government must enhance accountability mechanisms against contractors responsible for blocked and unfinished human settlements projects.
This was a call made by the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements during the second day of its Gauteng oversight visit to assess progress in the delivery of housing.
The committee raised concern regarding lengthy and litigious processes to recoup money from underperforming companies.
Committee Chairperson, Machwene Semenya noted that there is no watertight process to ensure accountability from contractors that leave unfinished projects.
“This unfortunately will continue to cost the state on two fronts. First, the cost escalation as a result of a delayed project and also the exposure of citizens to undignified houses. It is on this basis that the committee has called for strengthening of consequence management to ensure companies are held accountable,” Semenya said.
Semenya said the committee is also concerned that currently the process to blacklist underperforming companies is protracted, which enables the companies to continue tendering for business to build other houses in different cities and provinces, and “thereby continuing their underperformance.”
During the visit at John Dube Mega Project on Tuesday, the committee commended the announcement that the rectification work at the project has been completed by a new contractor. Work has commenced to implement the project.
The committee also commended the announcement that the unfinished projects at Palm Ridge Mega Project will be completed.
The committee has also emphasised the need for companies to empower communities beyond periodic employment opportunities offered during the construction process.
“Interventions such as the building of schools and skills transfer will ensure long-lasting impact on the communities, which should be encouraged,” Semenya said.
Meanwhile, the committee has called for the improvement in planning by all spheres of government to ensure seamless implementation of projects.
“For example, the committee has urged the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality to start factoring in their plans the development of the Ekurhuleni University, which was announced by the President a few years ago. The development of bulk infrastructure capable of servicing increased numbers as a result of the proposed university should be planned as a matter of urgency,” she said.
The committee will today visit projects in Sedibeng where visits to Savannah City Mega Project, Lethabong Mega Project, and Sebokeng Extension 30 are scheduled.
Source: South African Government News Agency