DA demands answers as housing units remain incomplete

The Shalimar Ridge Residential Units have been vacant for more than three years and the scary part is that the project was started no less than 12 years ago.
On July 11 Democratic Alliance Shadow MEC for Human Settlements, Mervyn Cirota, and several other councillors of the opposition party conducted an inspection of the units and were flabbergasted when they saw how deteriorated some of the 144 units in the 12 blocks of flats were.

 

 


In many of the units electric cables, plugs and boards had been ripped from the walls. Water taps were missing and smart meters lay on the floor in what can be described as one of many ghost towns where humans have yet to settle.

 
The courtyards are overgrown and although there were some signs of life during the visit (a few plumbers were fiddling around while the security guards watched), there was no sense of urgency and this is likely to remain the case while there is no parameter fencing in place to protect these assets.

 
Cirota said that while the DA would hold MEC Paul Mashatile accountable to ensure that all unfinished provincial housing projects are completed and beneficiaries receive their homes, he was blown away by the level of chaos that has become synonymous with Lesedi Local Municipality.

 
“It is an absolute travesty that this place has been here for 12 years and that the condition is deteriorating,” Cirota told HERAUT.

 
“It is very sad to note that the place is empty while 200 families could have been placed here,” he said, adding that there is a backlog of 600 000 houses in Gauteng.

 
Cirota highlighted that although there have been numerous promises from the province and from the mayor of LLM (Lerato Maloka) to allocate individuals to these houses, it simply has not happened.

 
Maloka has in her past two state of the municipality addresses indicated that the Shalimar Ridge Residential Units would be completed.

 

“I’m challenging the MEC Mashatile and Mayor Maloka to come and meet me on site and to provide the community with answers,” Cirota said, demanding a final date on the completion of the project.

 
He said that the degradation of the building had to stop and that the employment of a Johannesburg based security company constituted wasteful expenditure on behalf of the province.

 
The group later proceeded to Ratanda where another white elephant stood waiting.

 
Dennis Rider, DA constituency head for the Lesedi and Midvaal region noted that although repair work had to be done at the Ratanda Units, it was just as disappointing to see that 24 more units were standing vacant while people are in desperate need of accommodation.

 

 

 
“These units are more or less completed but yet there are no tenants because of some dispute between the contractors and the province,” Rider said.

 
He said that most of the units were in a good state and that it must be extremely frustrating for residents of the adjacent Protea Hostels to look at these empty houses while having to make a life amongst rubble and sewage.

 
“This is total inefficiency by the provincial department. Nothing should be preventing people from moving in here, other than a management issue.”
Cirota’s concerns were brought under the attention of Mashatile’s office and a response is to be expected in coming weeks.

 
LLM was also asked for comment, but said that it first needed to investigate the matter, consult with the relevant department heads and then only might a statement become available – pending the discretion of the acting Municipal Manager.

A discarded electricity meter was found abandoned on site.

No residents, yet the damage is already done

 

 

 

  AUTHOR
Michael Mentz
Journalist

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