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Mon Oct 20 19:59:17 SAST 2014

Massive Free State housing backlog revealed, premier wants to build in Lesotho

Sapa | 17 September, 2013 16:07

Image by: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

A reply to a parliamentary question reveals there is a huge housing backlog in the Free State.

In the written reply, Human Settlements Minister Connie September said there were 90 outstanding housing projects in the province.

"The amount that was budgeted for these projects is R318,566,000. [A total of] R44,675,694 has been spent [on the projects] to date."

Acknowledging that the amount needed to complete the projects was more than R273 million, she said her department had taken steps to "prevent a recurrence of the situation".

These included developing a "credible contractor database", and not entering into cessionary agreements with suppliers.

The department had also employed consulting engineers to help with "capacity constraints", and was recruiting its own engineers, technicians, and project management staff.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Congress of the People's Free State chairman, Papi Kganare, said that, in light of the backlog, Cope was "taken aback" by provincial premier Ace Magashule's recent announcement about building houses in Lesotho.

Kganare said this was to be done "using resources allocated to the people of Free State, who remain without houses because the government is unable and unwilling to deliver on its promises".

Reports last week that Magashule planned to help citizens in Lesotho build homes has provoked protests from opposition parties in the Free State.

Kganare said on Tuesday that if the African National Congress-run province continued with its "irresponsible act", his party would call on the Public Protector and Auditor General to intervene.

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