The growing demand in Gauteng for housing and the need to respond to the demand through Mega Human Settlements Projects will require a drastic improvement in performance by all housing contractors contracted to deliver housing for the citizens of Gauteng.
The Gauteng Department of Human Settlements has announced new service level standards for contractors in an effort to increase performance and manage under-performance as the province accelerates efforts to increase output and meet targets for the financial. The move forms part of the Turnaround strategy of the department aimed at improving performance and capacity to be able to deliver Mega Projects.
Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo says has been on a downward trend in delivering houses in the past five years. He notes that money spent on building houses increased over the years while the number of housing opportunities delivered declined.
“We must change the tide. My plea is that we cannot continue like this. By the end of financial year we must see an upward trend in the numbers. We must close the gap between expenditure and output,” Mamabolo says.
He points out, however, that there are signs of improvement and the department recorded an improvement of 41% during the first quarter compared to the previous year. It also achieved a qualified audit outcome.
Mamabolo says performance will now be monitored through a revised service level agreements (SLAs) which all contractors in the province are expected to sign.
“The SLAs will commit contractors to deliver on targets set and agreed by all parties. They will not interfere with existing contracts. However punitive steps will be taken against non-performing contractors which will include termination of contracts” Mamabolo says.
He adds that performance standards have also been revised for government officials and that action will also be taken against those responsible for poor performance.
Corruption is also under the spotlight, he says: “One form of corruption relates to the corrupt relationships employees have with some contractors. Another form of corruption relates to the awarding of houses to the incorrect beneficiaries which included a number of people like councillors.”
Mamabolo points out than an investigation by the department showed that some of the relationships between officials and contractors were so toxic that they affected the quality of houses and the cost of building.