City forced back to drawing board in absence of ‘credible, honest’ data
In yet another housing scandal to rock Nelson Mandela Bay, the municipality cannot access a credible housing list of RDP beneficiaries, mayor Athol Trollip said yesterday.
This is forcing the municipality back to the drawing board to compile a new list –a blow to the tens of thousands of people who have been waiting for years to get houses.
The last known figure of beneficiaries on the metro’s waiting list was about 80 000. This excludes the list of people whose homes need to be rectified.
Restarting the housing list could cause a major setback in a department that is already saddled with a number of bungles related to RDP projects.
Trollip said the political head of human settlements, Nqaba Bhanga, had been battling for the past three months at the helm to get his hands on the housing beneficiary list.
The new coalition government had promised to make the list public as it had been clouded in secrecy and mired in controversy.
At his report-back session on his first 100 days in office yesterday, Trollip said: “There is not a housing list in this city that is credible or honest.
“That is why we have people who have lived 13 to 20 years waiting for a house, and we have people who arrive over the weekend who move into a house or site, because they buy it.
“We have information that people have been selling their sites and houses – and that can only happen in the absence of a credible and coherent housing list.
“We will draw one up, so that you know that if you are number 1 333, when that house is built, no one will go in there before you,” Trollip said.
He lambasted the Housing Development Agency (HDA), which he accused of overseeing shoddily built projects.
He used the construction bungles in Missionvale and Motherwell as examples, although both projects were overseen by the municipality at the time, before the function was stripped away by the Department of Human Settlements.
About 15 RDP houses in Missionvale were built in a floodplain area and would have to be demolished.
Dozens of duplex homes in Motherwell NU29 which were deemed structurally unsound could face the same fate.
Trollip said the metro wanted Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to hand back control of overseeing housing projects.
“Housing is a matter of great concern to us, that we do not have the responsibility to build houses as a metro.
“Yes, there were massive issues around fraud and corruption before.
“We’ve spoken to the minister [Sisulu] but [she] says it was a cabinet resolution – which is an indication that the ANC government is not so keen on returning the responsibility to Nelson Mandela Bay as it is not governed by them.
“We are going to take whatever steps necessary so we have the responsibility of building houses [and] a credible list.”
National human settlements spokesman Xolani Xundu said it was because of problems like lists that were not credible that Sisulu had decided to centralise the beneficiary lists of municipalities around the country.
Xundu said the process was under way, Sisulu’s intervention was still in effect and the HDA would continue to be the implementing agent until 2019.