Â SOUTH AFRICA. By Gabi Khumalo – Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, has tasked the National Home Builders Regulation Council (NHBRC) to conduct a forensic audit of a major Eastern Cape housing project in a bid to prevent poor workmanship.
The move follows complaints raised by residents to the minister during a Presidential imbizo two months ago.
As promised during the event, Ms Sisulu on Monday returned to Ugie with Power Construction, the company responsible for building homes in the town.
During the meeting, which was also attended by the Eastern Cape MEC for Housing Tokozile Xasa, and the Mayors from the Elundini Municipality and Ukahlamba District Municipality, Ms Sisulu commended the company for its willingness to return to Ugie.
Power Construction Director, Sam Dube said his company did not turn its back on its projects and was committed to making good where its builders had been at fault.
â€œThere was no question that we would accept responsibility for fixing houses if any were found to have been poorly built,â€ Mr Dube told residents.
However, he pointed out that the area had recently been hit an a violent storm, affecting many houses which had been built prior to new NHBRC building standards.
Minister Sisulu told the community that she had asked the NHBRC to carry out a forensic audit of about 2000 home project. Government is committed to providing quality homes that can become tradable assets to the people.
“The NHBRC audit will determine the quality of the building work. We need to understand what went wrong here. If the contractor was at fault, he is here and committed to making good and if the municipality was at fault, the municipality is here too,â€ said the Minister.
She further warned that if the companyâ€™s work was sub-standard and they were unwilling to rectify it, the company would be denied any further government contracts.
Minister Sisulu vowed that houses which were shoddily built between 1994 and 2002 will be assessed and repaired by both developers and government at a press conference in Pretoria in March 2005.
Minister Sisulu said government had resolved to track developers who were involved in building such houses and get them to repair them.
“We want to ensure that our people live in decent houses,” she explained, adding that the department was working with the NHBRC to track down involved developers.
Since the NHBRC uses ID numbers and not names to register companies, it would be easy to track unscrupulous developers who deliberately dissolved their companies to establish new ones under different names.