HIGH AND DRY: Disabled Elias Mbonani says he was excited when Premier David Mabuza promised him a house. Picture: FRANCE NYAKA
Contractors who have been appointed to build houses for Premier David Mabuza’s personal housing initiative say they will not hand them over to beneficiaries because Mabuza and his partners have not paid them since last year.
The programme, known as Kancane Kancane Changing the Lives of the People for the Better Legacy Project, was initiated by Mabuza to target poor people who were marginalised by red tape in the government housing system including the disabled, elderly and child-headed households. The project was initiated in July last year and has already built about 150 houses.
Mabuza’s office confirmed that an undisclosed amount of money was still owed to contractors.
“The honourable premier has no interest whatsoever to delay payments for the contractors as he understands very well that small businesses rely on prompt payment for work done. On several occasions the honourable premier has instructed the sponsors to hasten the process,” Mabuza’s spokesperson Zibonele Mncwango said.
One of the disgruntled contractors anonymously told The New Age: “The shelters cannot be handed over because the premier and his team still need to settle the outstanding money. Their promise to pay us by January was not honoured. So we cannot do business with uncooperative people.”
Among the people who were meant to get houses is wheelchair-bound Elias Mbonani, 27, of Gemsbokspruit outside Witbank. He said the house was supposed to have been handed over to him two months before.
“I was excited when I saw premier Mabuza at my home to promise me a decent house. But I am now astonished because others have already received their houses. What about me? Let the premier assist me,” Mbonani said.