Residents of Tsalanang flats are fed up

“The list of grievances is endless"

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The Bulletin News

A meeting on 4 October 2018 between the Department of Human Settlement (DoHS), The main contractor (Prince of Tides), Govan Mbeki Municipality and the Tenants Task Team turned out to be a meeting that upset the tenants even more.
The main contractor wants to return to site but the Tenants Task Team refuses to allow them back unless it is to rectify the old problems. During the meeting, a number of the issues that plagued the project were discussed but progress had been made.
During a recent council meeting, Councillor Douglas Mahlangu said that the sewer lines have been damaged and cannot be rectified as they all run underneath the buildings. The Bulletin has been informed that no building should be built on sewer lines.
Here are a few excerpts from the meeting that was held at the site office of Prince of Tides in eMbalenhle:
PMU (Project Management Unit from GMM) Seco failed to produce a report as requested, due to access to site (They were chased away by the tenants)
NHBRC (National Home Builders Registration Council) technical noted with concern the report from Prince of Tides; it did not touch/talk to structural integrity of the units, as-built drawings for the sewer and the issue of condensation.
Response by the Tenants Task Team
At no stage the contractor was prohibited to do work, the challenge came when the contractor wanted to proceed with the new work. As we don’t have confidence in the contractor because we (Tenants) have concerns about his work. To mention the least e.g. temporary electrical cable, blockages on sewer etc. The sewer was properly functioning until the contractor started tampering with it.
They indicated that the foundation is too shallow and it was different from the one they have Googled
Highlighted issues of corruption within the DoHS and GMHC
The DoHS asked if the task team members will allow work to resume on site since the contractor is still contracted to the department. Mbali alluded that the contractor is capable of attending to the defects while at the same time continue with the new phase and also Indicated that the current list of defects is not final
Response by the NHBRC
Re-iterated that the foundation built is as per the approved design
Indicated his dissatisfaction towards failure by the departmental PMU and Home Builder’s Engineer to submit the requested technical report.
He cautioned the Task Team that a foundation design cannot be Googled
Response by Tenants Task Team
The Task Team cannot grant the contractor access to site until they receive the structural report confirming that the units are safe to occupy.
Prince of Tides also stated
The issue of blocked sewer is the result of the system being old and dilapidated. It is not from the new system; the new units are connected to the new system and there are no blockages on new units. We cannot disconnect the old sewer as there are still tenants staying in old units, as a result, the problem will continue until the old line is no longer live. The contractor re-iterated its commitment to attend to all identified defects should the task team allow him to gain access to site.
The final issue was that the Task Team refused to grant the contractor access to resume work on site.
Mr Mziwakhe Ntshalintshali said, “The tenants no longer have trust in the main contractor namely, The Prince of Tides and The Govan Mbeki Municipality due to numerous unfulfilled promises.
After the conspicuous shoddy workmanship on the new flats by the contractor and its sub-contractors, the task team at the request of the tenants approaches the NHBRC to ascertain if the newly constructed buildings met the required standard of the NHBRC, as there are visible defects that even the contractor acknowledged.
The Bulletin visited the flats and reported a number of times about the appalling conditions the residents have to live in. The Bulletin also reported on the strong-arm tactics which the main contractor resorted to (as told by the residents) to have the residents evacuate their flats. Water pipes were cut, sewer lines blocked, roofs were removed and even stones thrown into buildings while people are inside.
Cllr Ethel Nkosi promised new windows to the residents but that never materialised.
” The structure of the foundation is a thorny issue and is the cornerstone from which most of the discrepancies originate, yet it seems the NHBRC is ready to accept the verbal version of one of its engineers who claim that all the foundations meet the requirement’s desired without the submission of any documentary averment to his claim.” said Ntshalintshali, “On the other hand the NHBRC has never conducted any physical tests except to rely on a hearsay.”
“The list of grievances is endless, but if I focus on the contractor, who now portrays itself as a victim it has not honoured its side of the bargain in more ways than one, the actual fact is that the contractor is the architect of all the chaos we see. It should be held accountable for the volatile situation that exists.” Continued Ntshalintshali, “The crux of the matter is that the municipality promised people stands and RDP houses on a site next to the Graceland gambling resort. A similar promise was again made during a council meeting on the 31st of July 2018 on a site in extension 20, but up to so far, nothing has materialised.
Let the municipality give clarity as to what will happen to the lease agreements they have once Tsalanang changes to CRU where the only agreement will be that of rental.”
The problems with Tsalanang Flats are far bigger than what appears here in this article.
Questions need to be asked about the relationship between GMM Housing Company and GMM. The involvement, and to what extent, of MMC Cllr Ethel Nkosi within GMM Housing Company has to be investigated.
On 31 January 2016, the Sunday Independent wrote about R10m that disappeared from the Department of Human Settlements that was earmarked for housing in Mpumalanga. Departmental Spokesperson Freddy Ngobe declined in 2016 to explain the circumstances of the suspension of officials but an independent investigation by a Sunday Times correspondent revealed the three officials (suspended) had been implicated in the illegal transfer of R18m to the Govan Mbeki Housing Company (GMHC).
When the department became aware of the transfer R10m had already disappeared.
This issue needs to be investigated again. GMHC already proved that they are incapable of maintaining municipal properties when the municipality had to sell municipal houses at a R10m loss due to the lack of maintenance.
“The Tsalanang Flats project is slowly but surely unravelling into a big mess and might just prove to be the achilles heel of some of the ANC councillors,” said DA Councillor Mariaan Chamberlain.
The Bulletin will publish the minutes and full response on our webpage.

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