Limpopo RDP houses ‘fall apart’ after storm

One of the RDP houses in the Limpopo informal settlement at Namakgale’s Tshelang-Gape section, said to have been destroyed by a storm. Picture: Supplied

Mashele said of the houses inspected in past financial year, more than 150 were found to have defects.

The Limpopo department of cooperative governance, human settlement and traditional affairs is once again in trouble over alleged shoddy work, with claims of a storm apparently having blown over RDP houses.

The National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) confirmed yesterday that the project was awarded to a company called Lempitse Trading, which was awarded 90 housing units, each costing about R115 000, totalling nearly R10 million. However, company director Lerato Duba first refuted this and later hung up on The Citizen.

“We have visited the construction site and checked seven houses,” said Limpopo NHBRC senior home inspector Fundani Mashele yesterday.

“Of the seven, two were poorly constructed. In light of this, we immediately issued a certificate of noncompliance to the service provider and instructed him to rebuild them.”

Mashele said of the houses inspected in past financial year, more than 150 were found to have defects.

“We get the contractor to rectify his mistakes or face harsh penalties, including blacklisting his/her company. In this case, our investigations revealed that the mixture of cement, water and soil was below standard. We could not blacklist the company because the owner agreed to rebuild the houses from his pocket,” he said.

Edmond Mbetse, a community activist and manager for Limpopo Speak Out programme in Phalaborwa, who spilled the beans about the alleged shoddy work, said: “We were called by residents in the Tshelang-Gape section in Namakgale, soon after the first house collapsed. When we got there, another house fell down in full view of bemused owners. We inspected the rubble and established that the contractors used half a cement and four loads of sand to minimise spending.”

Mbetse called on the department to appoint companies with good track records rather than “awarding tenders to their cronies” who knew nothing about construction. Departmental spokesperson Motupa Selomo said yesterday it had picked up the problem of poor workmanship as early as March.

“Following this, a noncompliance certificate was issued to the contractor. The constructor demolished the first house and as the second house was to be demolished, the Covid-19 lockdown was declared, bringing construction to halt.”

– news@citizen.co.za

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