Bay housing department under fire
Nelson Mandela Bay. A damning report by the National Council of Provinces says Nelson Mandela Bay‘s municipal housing department has collapsed as a result of internal administrative problems and lack of capacity to deliver efficient and effective services to the people.

The report, to be tabled in Parliament today, says that as a result of the municipality‘s non-delivery there is persistent discontent regarding delays or non-payment of service providers and contractors to the municipality. Sam Mazosiwe, who headed the NCOP delegation that visited the city last month, said the municipality would be closely monitored.

The visit was the second by the delegation this year.

“There will be a follow-up by the delegation and we will ensure that the municipality is also assisted at provincial level to deal with the challenges. When we inquired about the capacity within the housing department in the municipality, we were told a task team was looking into the issue,” said Mazosiwe.

Delays in the approval of housing projects and payment of service providers often lead to escalation of construction costs.

“It is stated that the situation is worsened by the fact that housing projects are not promptly and regularly inspected, which results in defects being discovered at a very late stage,” says the report.

As a result, the NCOP requested an intervention by the province, with some of the projects of the municipality taken over by the national department of housing due to poor progress. Among recommendations suggested by the delegation was that the province should play a key role in establishing a guiding framework for the payment of service providers by departments and municipalities.

Secondly, the province needed to put in place measures to monitor and ensure that contractors were paid on time and that projects were completed according to the stipulated timelines and standards. Thirdly, the province should institute measures to deal with contractors who abandoned projects or did not complete them within the agreed time frames.

The province also needs to urgently look at the issues of capacity in the municipality, particularly at senior management level, says the report.

Mazosiwe said the issues were urgent and the government needed to speed up service delivery.

Last month‘s delegation visited the Matthew Goniwe Greenfields Housing Project, where it expressed great concern about the poor workmanship. The delegation was also not happy with the slow progress of the Walmer residents relocation project.

“The situation at Walmer has not changed since the previous visit in May. People resist moving and the municipality does not have a plan to relocate them,” says the report.

Municipal spokesman Lourens Schoeman said the municipality would study the recommendation tabled by the NCOP and would respond appropriately.

In July, the national housing department, led by Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, showed its lack of confidence in the municipality when it took away the multi-million-rand Zanemvula housing project and gave it to a private developer.

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