Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has formally announced a new board for the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) saying the government agency had failed dismally in delivering on its mandate to protect homeowners against shoddy workmanship.
The new members are: advocate Brenda Madumise as the chairperson, Itumeleng William Kotsoane, Suping Paul Hlahane, Xoliswa Daku, Zimbini Vazi, Busisiwe Nwabisa Nzo, Shoayb Loonat, Sibusiso Peter-Paul Ngwenya, Salaminah Mabusha Maja, Goolam Manack and Andisa Potwana.
They have been in office since May 2012 and will serve a term of three years. Sexwale said the term of the previous board had come to an end prompting the appointment of a new one.
In terms of the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act, the NHBRC is tasked with shielding consumers from unscrupulous companies and builders who deliver sub-standard products in the construction industry.
“Since I took over as minister, I discovered the NHBRC has been dealing with a number of problems. Actually that is an understatement in terms of the figures involved,” Sexwale told a media briefing on Wednesday afternoon.
Earlier this year, Sexwale told Parliament that the current bill in terms of fixing botched former RDP (Reconstruction and Development Projects) projects is at a staggering R50bn. “It’s almost the equivalent of the arms deal. With the arms deal we can see some weapons. In this case the shoddy workmanship since 1994 is not only regrettable but has to be dealt with.”
The NHBRC was established as a regulatory body in 1998. Sexwale said since the formation of the body not enough attention had been paid to its core function of regulation. So, while the registration of new projects had continued, the agency had fallen short in terms of regulation.
The minister said in some instances structures had to be completely demolished, as trying to rescue them was simply not financially viable.
Sexwale said the building industry was also plagued by irregularities in the provinces, but which fall under the jurisdiction of human settlements. These included incorrect contracts and tenders, favouritism, nepotism and what he called: “The tsotsiism of public funds.”
Here Sexwale made a brief reference to the former NHBRC CEO, Sipho Mashinini, who is currently under investigation by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU). “So bad has it been that from this building, the CEO had to be shown the door,” he said.
On the new board, Sexwale said: “I felt we [needed] clean hands, new blood, fresh ideas,” adding he was confident they were up to the task.
The minister alluded to “simply scandalous” wrongdoing in one of the provinces where it appears individuals just started building without any go-ahead whatsoever. He declined to name the province or to elaborate on the alleged transgressions.
Acting CEO Jeffrey Mahaji said moves were underway to recruit additional inspectors, especially in subsidised housing. Currently in this sector the NHBRC has one inspector for every 200 houses, assisted by mobile technology.
The new board chair, Madumise, says management has requested an additional 400 inspectors to meet the current demand for inspections.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of Rawson Developers, Paul Henry, says although the former CEO has been removed from his post, there is no indication as yet how much money went missing under his watch.
Henry says there is countrywide dissatisfaction among builders, developers and residential builders with the way the NHBRC is, or is not, fulfilling its role.
He adds the regulator is gaining a reputation for failing to carry out its mandate to compensate homeowners who need serious remedial work done on their homes.
Source Article from http://www.infrastructurene.ws/2012/10/01/sexwale-announces-new-board-for-nhbrc/
Sexwale announces new board for NHBRC
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