Low-cost housing solution

Low-cost housing solution | The New Age Online


Max Matavire
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has been accused of not embracing a new, innovative and cost-effective local housing development technology that has the potential of drastically reducing the huge housing backlog.
While he is mostly ignored at home, the man behind the innovation has been invited overseas to exhibit his technology, which is likely to attract the interest of poor countries with high housing shortage.
The new technology, called Moladi Cast Housing System, is the brainchild of Port Elizabeth businessman Hennie Botes, who has been invited to showcase his technology at the United Nations in October at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.
The low-cost housing development exhibition will feature 60 projects from 22 countries around the world and is sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation.
The municipality, which has a housing delivery backlog of about 80000, has been accused of being interested in doing business with unregistered contractors who, despite producing shoddy workmanship, continue to cost the local authority millions of rands by delivering badly built units.
The municipality said it was willing to interrogate any housing development technology that could alleviate its backlog, adding that it was looking into various proposals. It is estimated that about 1 billion people of the world’s 6 billion population live in informal settlements. This figure is expected to double in 2030.
The prestigious exhibition, themed “Design For The Other 90%”, will run until January. Botes will be exhibiting his Moladi plastic formwork construction technology, which is capable of completing in a day a 60m² cost-effective house that can withstand the elements.
In an invitation letter to Botes, the Rockefeller Foundation wrote: “The Moladi housing development technology is an innovative solution to address the unprecedented growth of informal settlements or slums globally.” What has surprised Botes is that despite his recognition internationally as a housing developer technologist, the local municipality has shown little, if any, interest in his work.
“I have been trying to get tenders to build RDP houses since the 1980s but have been sent from pillar to post by the municipality. Now my technology is being recognised internationally when in actual fact it is most needed here at home,” says Botes.
Among the projects on display will be community-generated solutions by an organisation called Shack/Slums Dwellers International, which builds houses through community-to-community exchange programmes throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America.
When building a house, Moladi uses formwork that is put together in four hours. The components are put together to form a mould. When all panels are clipped together, a cement and sand mix is poured into the cavity.
The mould is made in such a way that it also accommodates water pipes and electrical fittings. The mix is then left to dry and the mould is removed the following day. No plastering is required.
The first Moladi house was built in Benoni in 1987, and since then the project has moved to build houses in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Ghana and Tanzania.
Keywords - moladi, plastic formwork, construction system, cast homes, RDP, mould, Cast Housing System, Smithsonian, form work, Hennie Botes


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