Parliament, Monday, 12 September 2022 – The Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements has concluded its three-day public participation programme yesterday in Mbombela on the Housing Consumer Protection Bill in Mpumalanga where small and medium business owners were critical about the lack of business opportunities despite the fact that they have to register annually with the National Home Builder Registration Council.

According to them, the lack of business opportunities and nonexistence of financially viable contracts stifles opportunities of transformation in the industry and deny them participation in the industry. They said they hope that the training pillar in the Bill has a potential to reverse this trend. Furthermore, they also called for the Bill to regulate the contracting of small business within the area.

The invisibility of building inspectors and the National Home Builders registration Council (NHBRC) in general was raised as a contributing factor to noncompliance with building standards. As a remedy, participants made a call for the provision of funding for the training of building inspectors to capacitate them for the critical role they must play within the value chain.

There was also a call for the NHBRC to increase its information sessions to empower the people, especially those in the rural areas with information on compliance with building standards. A call was also made for the Bill to force municipalities to provide engineers and town planners to assist consumers in the rural arears to build quality houses.

A concern was expressed that the Bill is silent on people who build on tribal authority land and do not have title deeds but have permission to occupy. With majority of residents of the province residing on tribal authority land, a proposal was made that the Bill must include a clear clause addressing that problem.

The committee received complaints from a lot of people during the public hearings about the poor quality of RDP houses that they receive. Some complained that they received inferior houses that were built with poor building materials as a result they do not last as they have very limited durability. Based on that, participants called upon the committee to ensure that the implementation of the Bill is retrospective in order to cater for the defective houses that were delivered to the people beforeits promulgation.

Despite the concerns raised by participants in Mbombela, the Bill received an overwhelming support from participants whoexpressed their hope on it. They said the Bill promises to be a tool that will ensure that they get quality houses in response tothe promise of better life for all South Africans especially the historically disadvantaged people.

The committee appreciated the inputs made in Mpumalanga and is confident that the inputs made will significantly improve the Bill. “We commit to take up the concerns you have raised here with your MEC for human settlements and COGTA to ensure that your issues are resolved. We will also take into consideration the inputs on the Bill you have made here when we finalise the Bill,” said Ms Machwene Semenya, the Chairperson of the committee.

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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