Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi has called on the Free State Department of Human Settlements to take tough actions against poor-performing contractors and hold accountable those that have abandoned their projects, while inviting the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe those affected projects.

Minister Kubayi led a two-day oversight visit to the province to assess performance including delivery of housing units and basic services. The Ministerial visit covered Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality and Matjhabeng Local Municipality.

In both Municipalities, the Minister was saddened by the staggering number of projects that remain incomplete, denying the poor and the vulnerable access to a decent home. Even more concerning was the amount of state funds that run into hundreds of millions that have been spent in these incomplete projects. Minister Kubayi also expressed her disappointment at the number of unscrupulous contractors who were comfortable with siphoning the state coffers without having delivered a single project milestone.

“Delivery of houses on time and within budget is non-negotiable. We allocated resources and those are meant to change the lives of the people. Poor performance by contractors is a slap in the face to those who live in squalor. We agree with the Free State government that there must be consequences to those that have denied people a right to their dignity”, said the Minister.

“When I joined the Department, I called on the contractors to return to the abandoned sites and make good on their contractual obligations. We have now resolved that we will go after those that have vanished with government resources”, added Kubayi.

The poor performance of one province affects the entire sector and hence the need for all provinces to crack the whip on poor-performing contractors to ensure that targets are met.

For the financial year 2023/24, the Department of Human Settlements has allocated R19,2 billion to provincial grants and R12.5 billion for municipal grants. With its budget allocation of close to a Billion, the Free State Province has committed that during this financial year, it will deliver close to 10 000 housing units, eradicate mud houses and asbestos roofs, provide basic service services and infrastructure in informal settlements, accelerate delivery of houses for military veterans and complete blocked projects.

In an effort to assist the province to achieve its set targets, Minister Kubayi announced that she has acceded to a request to second two officials from the Department to provide additional capacity to the provincial department of human settlements. The two officials are expected to be in the province as early as next week.

Responding to a recent land invasion at Botshabelo in Mangaung, the Minister called on community members to partner with the government to deliver sustainable human settlements and cautioned against shack lords and illegal occupation of land, saying it affects service delivery. Communities were also reminded that the occupation of land unsuitable for human settlements development in many instances results in loss of lives due disasters.

The Ministerial visit included the handover over of 600 title deeds to mostly elderly women beneficiaries, who were urged not to fall into the temptation of selling their newly acquired homes nor give them to loansharks. “This is proof that a house is yours and belongs to you and your loved ones, hold on to it and hand it over to your next generations,” said Minister Kubayi. She commended women’s contribution to providing sustainable human settlements in many parts of the country and called for increased allocation of projects towards women contractors as part of the 40% set aside policy.

More encouraging was a fleet of vehicles worth over 150 million acquired by the Matjhabeng Local Municipality, which will go a long way in providing basic services to the community, including waste removal and water provision in communities. This indeed is good progress towards building capacity in the municipality to enable delivery of services.

Joining the Ministerial oversight was Free State Premier, Mxolisi Dukwana, MEC for Human Settlements Ketso Makume, and Mayors of Mangaung Metropolitan, Matjhabeng Municipalities, amongst others.

Enquiries: Contact Hlengiwe Nhlabathi-Mokota, Spokesperson to Minister Kubayi on 064 754 8426 or Athenkosi Mabona, Spokesperson for MEC Makume 082 443 9747.

Issued by the Ministry of Human Settlements

Govan Mbeki House

240 Justice Mahomed Street, Sunnyside, Pretoria, 0001

Press Release Date: 
Friday, August 4, 2023