Nelson Mandela Bay housing debacle

A massive housing construction bungle has rocked the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, with an explosive report detailing how an RDP project was built so badly that residents fear the houses are a deathtrap and engineers have warned they are unsafe. About R17-million was spent on building 162 semidetached double-storey units in NU29, Motherwell, many of which will have to be completely rebuilt. The report uncovered, among other things, that walls had shifted from their foundations, the wooden staircases were unsteady and the wooden floors between the two storeys were unstable. And valves instead of taps were installed in bathrooms. Some of the beneficiaries, who moved in between October and December, said they feared for their lives. Wezekile Maseti, 47, said: “The wooden floors in the bedrooms upstairs are not stable and the doors have a huge gap.” Nonkululeko Mgudleni, 56, said she was already collecting zinc sheets to build herself a shack in her backyard. “The bedroom ceilings are cracked and there is a visible gap between the walls and the ceilings,” she said. Nompumelelo Joyne, 58, said she had nearly broken her leg and arm when she fell down the loose stairs. Lee-Ann Constable, 18, said they feared the foundation of their house could not handle a strong wind. The metro’s political head of human settlements, Nqaba Bhanga, will have a meeting with the residents today to explain what went wrong with the project. Mayor Athol Trollip said they would also be briefed on plans to move them so their houses could be fixed.

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