No houses for residents relocated two years ago
And no answers from the municipality on Mdantsane’s abandoned housing project
More than two years after 154 families were moved to an open space to make way for a housing project for them, about 30 houses have been built and these are not finished. This is according to Ward 11 councillor Mashwabade Gcilishe.
In February 2015, people were moved from Walter Sisulu informal settlement in Mdantsane NU5 to make way for the Mdantsane Cluster Two housing project.
Walter Sisulu residents say the abandoned houses get used by criminals, while half a dozen housing beneficiaries fear their waiting houses will be vandalised. A member of the community, who only wanted to be identified as Simphiwe, said, “Every night the nyaope boys [drug users] hide behind these houses and people are robbed.”
The R163.7 million tender to build 908 houses was awarded to Johannesburg-based company Siyavuna Trading. 154 houses were going to be built in Walter Sisulu, 34 in Francis Mel, 105 in Hani Park, 300 in Winnie Mandela, 91 in Mahlangu, 25 in Gwentshe, 75 in Mathemba Vuso and 88 in Daluxolo informal settlement.
Gcilishe said since August last year he has been trying to get answers about the housing project.
Walter Sisulu community leader Nosiviwe Booi said, “No one told us anything; the construction company just left with no explanation,” she said. “We are all in the dark.”
Most of the houses are still at foundation level, but about thirty houses already have windows and doors. Booi said sometimes there is a security guard looking after the houses.
This is not the first time Walter Sisulu residents have complained about Siyavuna Trading. In September 2015, residents protested about the quality of the materials used for the houses. The protest was later joined by workers complaining about wages.
Gcilishe said he has written a number of letters to the municipal council, to Mayor Xola Pakati, and also to the responsible department, but he is still in the dark.
GroundUp contacted Siyavuna Trading and a receptionist said the company is not going to comment on the matter and then abruptly dropped the call. Further calls from GroundUp were dropped.
GroundUp has tried since mid-last week to get comment from the municipality.
The problem with this project was the allocation of the tender in the 1st place to a JHB based company. Why was a tender issued when these houses could have been built by unemployed people in the area? Not only would there have been job creation, skills development would have taken place and people would have been able to use these skills elsewhere in the future.
Perhaps this is what government must look at, instead of expensive tenders allocated to companies that might or might not have the necessary skills to do so, empower the community you are building in. Can Siyavuna Trading advise if they weren't paid by the municipality or they just went bankrupt before finishing the project?
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