Thursday, February 09, 2006

Minister of housing Sisulu admits to housing failure

And governments ability to resolve the habitat crisis in the western cape, Ma says I told you so .
And outsources the problem to a venture the developers or Africannabis had heard of till today.

Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has admitted that the country's flagship housing project, the N2 Gateway, has been a "terrible learning curve".

Sisulu was called to a meeting in November by aggrieved developers who complained they had not received a cent for several months. She had to intervene to ensure they were paid.

The N2 Gateway project is a joint venture between the city, the province and the national government.

Sisulu said she was pleased that this was the biggest housing project in the country's history "even though it's been a terrible experience for us and we are all scarred".

The project was planned as a blueprint for the upgrading of housing projects elsewhere, and is part of the government's goal to eradicate all informal settlements by 2010.In an effort to prevent a repeat of the problem, Sisulu said the cabinet would appoint a "special purpose vehicle" or project management organisation, Thubelisha Homes, to oversee the project.

"It cannot be run by a city or a municipality however good intentions might be: the government is not structured to respond to the pace of industry. We are dealing with taxpayers' money and therefore there are certain steps that have to be taken and certain securities we've got to be assured of."

The decision would be applied to all the government's mega projects in future, she said.

However, N2 Gateway developers said yesterday they were not aware of Thubelisha Homes . A spokesman for the Sobambisana consortium, Andre September, said the developers were still being paid through the City of Cape Town.

"Outside the government we might have a more efficient delivery mechanism. It's been a terrible learning curve," the minister said. Cape Argus

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