Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Thursday said the R1-billion backlog in payments owed by provinces to small contractors in the housing sector was unacceptable.
“As government, we cannot sit with millions worth of work done and not paid for. I want those undisputed invoices settled within seven days by provinces and municipalities,” she told delegates at a human settlements consultative conference.
Attended by provincial human settlements MECs, the conference was called following a national analysis of all unpaid projects and invoices.
Sisulu met with more than 500 contractors and developers to discuss how to immediately resolve and pay all due and payable invoices that were outstanding for more than 30 days.
The Minister further said she would meet with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to request relevant measures to enable the national department to facilitate the payment of backlogs due and payable to contractors within seven days.
“The legislation stipulates that anybody or any company that does business with government should be paid within 30 days,” she added.
Sisulu also indicated that her department would, following the State of the Nation Address, establish an ombudsman office to deal with issues of conflicts between the contractors, provinces and municipalities.