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Dream RDP housing job turns into nightmare as thieves strike

The ever-lurking scourge of crime takes a heavy toll every day in SA.
It is not confined to ganglands, sinister dark alleys or even suburban burglaries.
It affects ordinary citizens and the delivery of essential services in a multitude of destructive ways – whether it’s our children on their way to school, efficient telecommunications, the paramedic who responds to an emergency, the building of homes, doctors and nurses in clinics, or simply commuters trying to get to work on time.
People are living and working in fear – this is their cry for help . . .
A mother and son were allocated a R2.1m contract to build 20 RDP houses at Nelson Mandela Bay’s Chatty 1060 housing project.
Their elation at being given the work quickly turned into a nightmare as their equipment and material were stolen.
The co-owners of Nobunono General Trading – who did not want to be named – have been forced to abandon the site, leaving about 14 houses without doors and windows, and one house that was not constructed at all.
The son said he would receive phone calls in the middle of the night from the housing beneficiaries who are meant to live in those houses once they are completed, telling him that the material was being stolen.
“There are three men who have been giving us trouble at the site and I reported this numerous time to the engineer and to the [Housing Development Agency], but no action was taken and this resulted in us cancelling the project because we can’t be working on 20 houses the whole year,” he said.
The man, 38, said what would normally take them two months to complete had dragged on for over a year.
The contract was scheduled to start in February 2018, but only started in April and is still incomplete.
The pair claim they experienced a number of challenges, such as the project steering committee barring material from being delivered and stopping construction work from going ahead, saying the construction company needed its consent.
The mother, 56, said they had been harassed for money to help “retrieve” the stolen material.
They said they had opened two cases of theft and vandalism with the Bethelsdorp police in 2018 and another earlier in 2019 before deciding to leave the site.
Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Alwin Labans said: “All three of these cases have been closed undetected because there were no suspects.”

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