Parliament, Monday, 19 September 2022 – Residents of Frances Baard District Municipality informed the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements that they support the Housing Consumer Protection Bill. However, they believe that it is too late to address the many challenges they face in their RDP houses. The committee concluded the Northern Cape leg of public hearing on the Bill in Kimberley over the weekend.

A concern raised at all the public hearings was that communities continue to experience various structural challenges with the RDP houses they receive from government, ranging from cracked walls, the use of cheap building material, and poor quality bulk infrastructure and town planning that results in the houses deteriorating immediately after occupation. Nonetheless, the Bill was welcomed as a solution that will benefit future generations.

While the community welcomed the information that government has a programme to fix defective houses, they considered this a waste of money and a burden on public finances. They also said that poor design and planning was the reason for non-compliance with building standards. At municipal level, the ongoing problem of delays in approving plans was identified as an obstacle to efforts to improve building standards. In addition, many organisations in the human settlements sector, such as the National Home Building Registration Council, remain dysfunctional and this undermines the execution of their legal mandate.

Community members also spoke about the poor implementation of progressive laws as an impediment to the Bill’s success. To remedy this, they called for stronger monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the Bill achieves its stated objectives of raising South Africa’s building standards. Participants in the public hearings also mentioned the need for the Bill to regulate against the growing number of migrant foreign nationals working in the construction industry, who they say are unskilled, unregistered and to blame for the inferior build quality.

The committee welcomed the contribution made by the people of the Northern Cape. “We have received quality inputs in this province and we remain confident that those contributions will greatly strengthen the Bill,” said Ms Machwene Semenya, the Chairperson of the committee. The committee will continue with hearings in the North West in the following two weeks.

ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HUMAN SETTLEMENTS. MS MACHWENE SEMENYA.

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