Sisulu not to blame for horrible RDP houses - DoD

Siphiwe Dlamini says poorly built houses predated her tenure as housing minister



The Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans hereby wishes to set the record straight.

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 (2004-2009) as the Minister of Housing.

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.

These are the self-same RDP houses, most of them built by small contractors between 1999 and 2003 following an exodus from the low-cost housing domain by bigger companies, that were identified as requiring attention in the 10-year review of government published in 2004.

These very homes were the reason for the introduction of a rectification programme by Minister Sisulu, adopted as government policy and implemented countrywide by 2007. This is an ongoing programme. There is nothing new in it.

A second false perception doing the rounds exaggerates expenditure on - and deliberately diminishes the role of - A re Ageng Mzansi, a holistic communication and education programme of the Department of Housing combining edutainment with housing information and registration desks, exhibitions and question-and-answer sessions. The cost was approximately R5m.

It should be stressed that A re Ageng Mzansi was not commissioned by Minister Sisulu. Ministerial approval is not required on line items in communications budgets. These are the responsibility of accounting officers.

However, having witnessed A re Ageng Mzansi, Minister Sisulu described it as: "An extremely useful tool of communication using popular culture, communicating in all the languages of South Africa and reaching the people - often in isolated areas - who have no access to television or other media. I am grateful to all those who participated in it: the communities and the people who put it together. Their contribution helped ensure communities understood and participated in the shaping of their future. The human settlements policy lays great emphasis on building communities who participate in delivery."

This perception was designed to tarnish reputation and image of the minister, who is now responsible for a different portfolio.

Statement issued by Oryx Multimedia on behalf of Siphiwe Dlamini, Head of Communications: Ministry/Department of Defence and Military Veterans, November 30 2009

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