Parliament, Sunday, 11 September 2022 – The Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements must urgently pass the Housing Consumer Protection Bill to end the unacceptable trend of the delivery of deficient houses to the people, especially in rural areas by unscrupulous building contractors. This call was made by residents of Gert Sibande District Municipality during the public hearings on the Housing Consumer Protection Bill yesterday in Ermelo where the second leg of the three-day hearings on the Bill in Mpumalanga Province took place.

The Bill's value in strengthening consumer protection against unethical construction companies concerned about making profits was one of the key reasons why the residents overwhelmingly supported the Bill. There remains a great concern that construction companies responsible for the delivery of RDP houses continue to build under flood lines, in wetlands and with poor building material, a trend which will be ended by the speedy implementation of the Bill.

Some participants highlighted concerns that the Bill might create a problem for the poorest of the poor people in the rural areas who might not be able to afford the new building standards stipulated by the Bill. Furthermore, they argued that these people will inadvertently be unable to enroll their houses and be denied access to the warranty fund.

A clarion call was made by the residents for a strengthened monitoring of the implementation of the Bill especially because there is currently a lack of capacity in the home building sector particularly in the rural areas.

The committee was also inundated with concerns about shoddy RDP houses built by external contractors. Participants also called for the Bill to contain a clause stipulating the appointment of the locally based service providers to build RDP houses to ensure that they are easily reachable and be held responsible for defects in the houses they build.

The transformative feature of the Bill which will guarantee training and registration of home builders was hailed by participants as an enabler and a tool to change the construction industry. Many participants called for capacitation through information sessions to ensure that benefits of the Bill are enjoyed by everyone including by those in the rural areas.

The committee welcomed the qualitative inputs made by participants and informed them that following the public participation process their inputs will be considered for incorporation into the Bill. The committee will today hold the last of three public hearings on the Bill in the province in Mbombela. It invites all individuals and interested organisations to come and make inputs on the Bill to ensure that the final product is reflective of their will and aspirations.

Details of the Hearings (Day 3)
Date: Sunday, 11 September 2022
Time: 10:00
Venue: Mbombela Civic Hall, Mbombela


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