Auditor‘s report slams waste as 200 houses must be rebuilt

THE Cacadu district municipality is rebuilding 200 houses in Paterson which are falling apart, allegedly because of shoddy workmanship by a contractor who was awarded the job by the municipality.
The municipality is also taking legal action against the contractor, who won a contract to build about 600 houses three years ago.
The Auditor-General in his report, tabled at a full Cacadu council meeting this week, slammed the municipality for “failing to adequately” monitor the project.
The AG‘s report also lambasted the municipality for not complying with accounting standards which are outside the ambit of the Standard of Generally Recognised Accounting Practice and the Standards of Generally Accepted Municipal Accounting Practices.
The AG said the demolishing and rebuilding of the 200 houses at a cost of about R10-million, amounted to “fruitless and wasteful expenditure”.
Municipal manager Ted Pillay said yesterday the houses in question had been built “many years ago. At the time of construction, there were no obvious defects. Over time, however, the structures began to crack because of the poor soil conditions”.
He said that although inadequate monitoring of housing projects had been given as the reason for the problem, it was unlikely that the officials involved at the time would have been able to foresee that the structures would crack.
“Consultants involved with the project do carry a certain amount of the responsibility, and the municipality is involved with litigation in this regard,” he said.
Pillay said more information had been submitted to the council, giving more insight into the challenges the project faced.
“This should be looked at before the expenditure can be deemed fruitless,” he said.
He said they had already obtained funding from the provincial government, and about 23 houses had been completed. The municipality would in fact gain, as the housing subsidy provided by the government when the houses were first built had been much lower than the current one of R36 000 per beneficiary.
He said the entire project involved about 600 houses, 200 of which had been built in the first phase and the remaining 400 in the second phase.
“We discovered that the 200 were poorly constructed. Another contributory factor is the poor type of soils in the area. We decided that these houses be demolished and rebuilt, and this irked the AG,” said Pillay.
“We are taking action against the previous project managers. I cannot give more information or name the project managers as the case is sub judice,” he said.
At a community meeting residents lashed out at Cacadu for not involving the Sundays River Valley municipality in housing projects as it was the local authority in the area.
They also said contractors were appointed by Cacadu, and in one project three contractors had to be fired as none of them could complete the work.
The residents also claimed massive corruption in housing delivery in the area, adding that some contractors left the site soon after receiving their payments.

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