Botshabelo residents are hopeful that the Housing Consumer Protection Bill will prevent contractors from building RDP houses on unsuitable land prone to waterlogging.
Residents from the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality addressed the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements at the first of three public hearings on the Bill in Botshabelo, Free State.
The residents complained this practice led to rapid deterioration of the homes built, forcing people to abandon their houses as a result of illnesses caused by incessant waterlogging.
There was all-around unanimous support for the bill from residents who voiced their belief that the Bill will protect the rights of beneficiaries and will eventually lead to quality RDP houses being built.
A large number of participants were interested in the composition of the Board as contemplated in Section 6 of the Bill.
One view was that the board must be composed of qualified professionals in the construction field with relevant knowledge and experience to ensure that it delivers on the mandate.
Some held the view that the Board must also consist of traditional leaders because the Bill impacted both rural and urban settlements.
Participants also asked for regular building inspections of RDP houses to ensure the quality of these homes before handing them over to vulnerable families.
Therefore, community members proposed that the Bill enhance the role of inspectors to ensure compliance with the building code.
Residents also want the Department of Labour to be explicitly highlighted in the Bill to ensure that contractors do not hire subcontractors, unregistered builders and undocumented migrants.
“In cases where labour inspectors find unregistered builders and undocumented migrants on sites Contractors must be fined,” they said.
While there was overwhelming support for the Bill, small and medium businesses feared certain provisions in the paperwork added a regulatory burden to their businesses which will negatively impact their ability to conduct business.
“The committee is cognisant that these hearings happen while the country continues to face the risks posed by Covid-19 and increasing infection figures,” said the portfolio committee on human settlements.
“As a result, the committee will ensure that Covid-19 regulations are implemented to ensure the safety of all participants.”
The public hearings for the Housing Consumer Protection Bill are expected to continue in Bethlehem this week.
All interested individuals and organisations are urged to come and share their views with the committee to ensure that the final product is reflective of their will and aspirations.