City responds to concerns

Brett Herron, City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for transport and urban development

Re “Concern over faulty sewerage system” (Athlone News, February 7) an article about beneficiaries of a Heideveld housing project’s concerns.

The City does not allow beneficiaries to move into incomplete houses. However, many beneficiaries live in dire circumstances and they request to be allowed to move in before the houses are completed.

To this end, they have to sign a disclaimer which states that they are aware of any snags and that they accept that these snags will be fixed after they have moved in. Vandalism remains a huge challenge in this project – a lot of damage that is reported is a result of vandalism.

The City, ward councillor and the contractor held a meeting last week where they agreed on a protocol to eliminate all outstanding snags on the project. To date, the contractor has attended to approximately 50% of the snags on the list and has two teams working on the backlog. Progress is being monitored on a weekly basis.

A challenge that remains is that many snags or defective items are not reported within the three-month defects liability period. If defects are reported late, the contractor is not legally obliged to attend to repairs.

However, in this case the contractors are still assisting where they can. The City urges beneficiaries to report snags timeously otherwise the City and the contractor cannot assist them.

Residents can report defects or snags to the contractor, the City or the ward councillor.

Beneficiaries must please keep a record and/or a reference number of their logged complaint for tracking purposes.

The statement that the contractor produced sub-standard houses, is a generalisation that cannot be addressed without evidence of such claims being submitted.

This contractor is a reputable company that has completed a large number of projects successfully for a number of municipalities and People’s Housing Project groups.

Furthermore, Heideveld is a large housing project of over 800 units where the majority of the units were completed without any challenges, and the project in its entirety has been a success despite challenges with snags on a number of the units.

The National Home Builders Registration Council, provincial inspectors and City inspectors sign off these houses.