Media Statement - 02 August 2012

Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale says no decision has been taken as yet to establish a state-owned construction company but wants a debate on the issue to address the shoddy workmanship that characterise low cost housing.

Addressing stakeholders at construction breakfast meeting in Pretoria this morning, Sexwale however said the R50 billion rectification bill was forcing his hand.

"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,” he told representatives of the construction industry.

The triple challenges of poverty inequality and unemployment meant that government and the industry, the very foundation of infrastructure development in the country, had to change course.

The South African economy was going through tough times forcing the Gross Domestic Product to be revised from 2, 9 percent to 2, 7 percent, largely influenced by what was happening in the global economy.

President Jacob Zuma saw it fir to establish the Presidential Infrastructure Coordination Commission in line with the country’s New Growth Path. This would see over R800 billion being invested in infrastructure over the next few years.

Human Settlements occupied a very pivotal role in infrastructure development because whatever the country did, it had to think about where people lived first as they could not live on freeways and harbours.

The question was: Why not give the Human Settlements budget of R25 billion a year to major companies who would be forced to bring in their partners into the low cost housing sector, asked Sexwale.

"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 gatvol, fedup… We want tax payers to feel that it is worth it to pay their taxes,” he said.

Governments worldwide were known to be very ineffective, characterised by stinking corruption and nepotism but this did not mean that the idea of a state construction company was not going to work in South Africa. It was working in Brazil.

This also did not mean that government was going to control 100 percent of the state-owned construction company. Management of such a company could remain with the private sector.

"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.

Issued by the Ministry of Human Settlements

For more information please contact Xolani Xundu at 083 788 5747

Press Release Date: 
Thursday, August 2, 2012