Dodgy RDP houses not my fault, says Sisulu

Defective Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) houses set to be demolished were not built under former housing minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s watch, her spokesperson said on Monday.

“None of the RDP houses that are currently in the news, due for demolition by the Department of Human Settlements, were built during Ms Lindiwe Sisulu’s tenure, [from] 2004 [to] 2009,” her spokesperson, Siphiwe Dlamini, wrote in a media statement headed “Setting the Record Straight”.

Earlier this month, new Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale told journalists it was necessary to demolish or renovate 40 000 houses across the country because of poor workmanship.

“These shoddily built houses are the very reason why a more comprehensive approach to housing was developed, and a policy called human settlements adopted and implemented from 2004,” Dlamini said.

He said the houses demolished were mostly built by small contractors between 1999 and 2003. The programme to fix problems with these houses was already under way in 2007, he said.

“This is an ongoing programme. There is nothing new in it.”

Dlamini also addressed the controversy over a multimillion-rand theatre production commissioned by the department during Sisulu’s tenure.

“A second false perception doing the rounds exaggerates expenditure on, and deliberately diminishes the role of, A re Ageng Mzansi.”

He quoted Sisulu, currently defence and military veterans minister, describing the programme as “an extremely useful tool of communication” which helped people “shape ...
their future”.

“I am grateful to all those who participated in it: the communities and the people who put it together,” Sisulu was quoted saying, adding “their contribution helped ensure communities understood and participated in the shaping of their future”.

Dlamini said the controversy over these two matters was intended to bring Sisulu into disrepute.

Over the weekend the defence and military veterans and human settlements departments went to great pains to emphasise that in fact Sisulu and Sexwale had a great working relationship.

“Ministers Lindiwe Sisulu and Tokyo Sexwale are surprised and taken aback at complete misinterpretations of the state of their working relationship, and have vowed not to let distortions drive them apart,” their spokesperson said in a statement issued on Saturday.

“The ministers have great respect for each other and continuously engage each other in a robust and direct way on issues of governance and other matters.”—Sapa

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