City of Cape Town public housing department’s 'huge' rental unit repair bill queried
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Cape Town - Lobby group group Stop CoCT has raised concerns over the City’s public housing department’s “huge” expenditure in repairing its rental units and called for the investigation of the project’s expenditure and its fruitfulness.
The City recently announced that the R150 million initiative in partnership with the National Housing Finance Corporation’s (NHFC) launched last year has thus far completed repairs to more than 150 fire-damaged units in city-wide rental units.
The City said most of these units had been damaged by petrol bomb attacks, stoves being left on and unattended by tenants, as well as illegal electrical connections.
Stop CoCT founder Sandra Dickson said this showed that the City did not maintain its rental stock regularly, as would be expected if sound property facility management was in place.
“The first question is why these units are not fixed and maintained on a regular basis.
“Stop CoCT has seen many complaints on the dilapidated state of the City’s rental stock, libraries and other municipal buildings.
“This while a multi-million rand building for the water department was recently built as well as the modern building for the electricity department, which are both meticulously maintained.
“However, rental stock, where the public is affected, is fixed only when it reaches a stage where there are literally hundreds of dilapidated and uninhabitable units,” she said.
Dickson said this raised questions of why it was taking a long time to repair these rental units, what the amounts spent on each unit were as well as how much of the R150m budget was left.
“Stop CoCT requests this project is investigated by duly qualified auditors and that a detailed report is compiled by the City around this expenditure and the fruitfulness of it,” she said.
Community activist Hanif Loonat said while his case of alleged corruption in the department was at an advanced stage, this would be added to form part of his investigation.
“The amount spent on the number of homes renovated as per this report calls for serious investigation.
“Unless he has misrepresented his report, we can safely say that we as ratepayers have the right to be suspicious,” said Loonat.
Human Settlements mayoral member Malusi Booi said the City’s rental units undergo regular upgrades and maintenance with the limited budget it has.