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Shacks go up as houses stand unfinished

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The beneficiaries were recently informed that there were no available funds to complete the houses and that work on the project would only resume in March next year

Beneficiaries of the Bufferzone housing project have erected shacks next to incomplete houses. Picture: Danie van der Lith

BENEFICIARIES of the Bufferzone housing project in Barkly West have erected shacks next to the incomplete houses as they have grown tired of waiting for their new homes.

Independent ward councillor Mentley Bezuidenhout said the construction of houses was postponed until next year.

“Of the 220 houses that were supposed to be built, work has begun on 60 houses although there are no roofs, doors, windows or toilets. Only the foundation has been laid for some of the houses. The housing project was approved when Alvin Botes was still the MEC for the Northern Cape Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta),” said Bezuidenhout yesterday.

He stated that the community engaged in protests in 2017 and 2018 to demand houses in Bufferzone.

“The housing project was supposed to have been completed in 2015 but was halted to allow for the installation of bulk infrastructure for the provision of basic services. Funding was provided by the Department of Water and Sanitation for the provision of water in 2019. There was another three-month wait for the issue of a completion certificate after the linking services were installed. The municipality appointed a contractor in July 2019 but construction was delayed when the national lockdown came into effect in March,” Bezuidenhout explained.

He added that beneficiaries were recently informed that there were no available funds to complete the houses and that work on the project would only resume in March next year.

“This means that we will have to wait until the next financial year for funding. The Department of Coghsta must account for where the R5.6 million that was allocated for the project for the current financial year was spent. Perhaps it is a coincidence that the local government elections will also be held next year.”

Bezuidenhout indicated that residents were still forced to relieve themselves in the bushes.

“It is also worrying because there are no high-mast lights and women are at risk of being raped or attacked by criminals in the dark. Residents do not want to relieve themselves in their yards.”

Coghsta did not respond to media enquiries by the time of publication.