The Advertiser understands that both the Ekurhuleni municipality management and the DA have asked the auditor general, Kimi Makwetu, to launch an independent investigation into the alleged gross mismanagement of funds by the metro’s housing department.
A reliable source told the Advertiser that management is determined to get to the bottom of what went wrong.
It is alleged that management now wants to establish the circumstances under which the property was left unattended.
The source disclosed that additional millions of rand were spent on paying the security company contracted to guard the property immediately after the project was halted.
The housing project was initiated early in 2017, but the DA, as well as the beneficiaries and residents of Marlands objected to the project, saying the municipality’s housing department had failed to follow the right procedure and that the land they wanted to procure is deemed dangerous and unsuitable for human habitation.
The beneficiaries also refused to be moved from their homes to the area they deemed unsafe.
Despite the considerable opposition to the plan and the warning and criticisms received, the housing department pressed ahead with the project. It spent R12.1-m to buy the piece of land deemed unsafe and spent more than R22-m on building the structures to accommodate the residents.
This prompted the objectors to take the matter to court, which has resulted in the project being halted indefinitely. At that time, the metro had already completed 501 of the total 538 structures, while the rest were being finalised. Authorities released additional millions of rand to be spent on securing the property.
The property was eventually left unattended and this resulted in vandals taking advantage of the situation. They started to help themselves to the structures, vandalising and stealing everything.
- DA demands answers on failed housing project
The DA, however, expressed shock at the huge amount of taxpayer’s money that had gone to waste insisting that the vandalised temporary structures had been neglected and were built on land unfit for people to live on.
The MMC for Human Settlements, Lesiba Mpya, has been on the receiving end of a backlash since it was revealed that the municipality planned to spend millions on the project.
The DA previously brought a motion against the project in question, before the chamber, but it was defeated by the MMC for Human Settlements with an environmental study.
The DA has confirmed that it had approached the auditor general over the alleged inflated purchase of the land by the Ekurhuleni metro.
This came after the member of parliament, Solly Malatsi, the DA shadow minister of human settlements, his deputy Mbulelo Bara MP, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Human Settlements, Mervyn Cirota MPL, and Ward 33 Councillor Ashley visited the site of the uncompleted project to speak to community members who were promised homes in the area.
“During our oversight visit to an abandoned housing project in Germiston Extension 46, the DA was left incensed by the government’s reckless approach to housing the people of Angelo informal settlement.
“This project was meant to provide emergency housing for the residents of Angelo; however, the houses were built on unsafe mining land and against the reasonable and clearly expressed objections of the intended beneficiaries,” said Malatsi.
“This R34-million disaster stands as a monument to the metro’s utter contempt for the people and for the financial governance framework.
“Indeed, the DA simply cannot fathom how the transaction between Living Africa Properties and the metro could be legitimate.”
The DA also demands a full explanation for the purchase of this land by Living Africa Properties for an R112 000 and the same-day sale of the same property to the Ekurhuleni metro for R12 million.
“It is unconscionable that the constitutional rights of the Angelo residents to access safe and dignified housing were trampled upon so callously.
“The residents of Angelo informal settlement deserve better and the DA will maintain pressure on an indifferent ANC government until this shameful situation is corrected,” said Malatsi.