Limpopo steps up housing delivery

Monday, February 1, 2010

Polokwane - Limpopo's Department of Local Government and Housing has increased the number of RDP houses it has built from 11 000 in the 2008/2009 financial year to 16 000 this year.

Department spokesperson Clayson Monyela said the increase was due to stricter monitoring of building contractors.

"Since taking over the position as MEC for Local Government and Housing in May last year, Soviet Lekganyane has already terminated the contracts of more than 42 housing contractors who were not delivering or performing poorly."

He said Lekganyane had given notice to the department's contractors that projects for this financial year had to be completed by the end of March.

Failure to do so would result in the termination of their contracts, and they would be replaced by high-capacity developers.

"Some contractors in the system have been building houses from as far back as 2002 without making any progress.

"We needed to send them a strong message, as well those who are working at a snail's pace," Monyela said.

The MEC has committed himself to cleaning up the housing value chain to ensure that the province continues to build good quality houses that citizens can proudly call home.

Lekganyane has instructed his department to check each developer's track record closely and not to award contracts to those who had been found wanting in the past.

Contractors who are building 500 homes or more must also supply an upfront money guarantee from the bank in favour of the department, which is not transferable or negotiable, nor can it be revoked.

The guarantee is held for the duration of the project and, in the event of a contractor failing to deliver, the department has the right to claim the guarantee and use the money to appoint someone else to complete the project.

"This is a win-win situation for us. It means the risk to the department is minimised and we can always recover any possible losses through the guarantees," Monyela said.

Other quality-control measures include the retention of 5 percent of a contractor's payment for six months after a project is complete, during which project managers thoroughly inspect the houses' quality and look for possible defects.

"If none is found, the balance is paid. If mistakes or shoddy workmanship are discovered, the contractor is instructed to go fix the mess under the supervision of the National Home Builders' Registration Council," said Monyela.