Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has, once again, called on municipalities and provinces to finalise outstanding payments to contractors involved in various human settlements projects around the country.
In January, the Minister hosted a workshop during which she urged that the R1-billion backlog in payments owed by provinces to small contractors in the housing sector be paid within seven days.
This was aimed at ensuring that contractors were able to meet their contractual obligations and assist the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) in speeding up the creation of housing opportunities in the country.
“Many contractors have now been paid since the Minister and the DHS undertook the serious measure to ensure that contractors were paid on time and within the stipulated 30-day period,” the Ministry said in a statement on Monday.
In an e-mailed response to questions from Engineering News Online, the Ministry estimated that about R500-million had now been paid out.
The biggest backlog in payments was recorded in Gauteng.
Meanwhile, many municipalities and provinces had also indicated that they had started processing outstanding payments for contractors, while some said they were about to conclude verification processes to ensure payments were made to companies that had rendered legitimate and satisfactory services to the department.
The Minister and senior management at the DHS resolved that all human settlements departments and entities should comply with the stipulations that commit government to adhere to the payment of contractors within 30 days.
This was consistent with the directives of Cabinet and the regulations of the Public Finance Management Act.
It was also in line with the directives of MinMec, the regular meeting between the Minister, MECs for Human Settlements and the heads of provincial departments.
To ensure compliance, DHS acting director-general Mbulelo Tshangana requested that provincial heads of departments present a current status quo analysis detailing payments of contractors and service providers, as well as outstanding claims.
Sisulu also had numerous meetings with contractors as part of her bid to ensure that companies contracted to carry out human settlements-related works received satisfactory treatment to ensure they helped speed up the delivery of decent housing.