Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has called on civil society and business to join hands with government in the fight against corruption in the housing delivery sector.
"Corruption is the curse of our society, and must be stamped out without any equivocation, no matter at what level of society it takes place, and irrespective of whether it is within government, the private sector, non-governmental organisastions and so on," he told the Human Settlements social contract plenary session in Ekurhuleni on Thursday.
Speaking to more than 250 representatives from the financial sector, construction companies and builders, as well as civil society organisations and members of all three spheres of government, Sexwale said that his department wanted make a special call to stakeholders to cooperate with its special audit.
The department launched an audit in early November after it had identified some 40 000 houses countrywide, which had to be rectified or demolished as a consequence of bad workmanship.
The audit would investigate the continuous contracting of the same "bad" contractors, projects that have been delayed for inordinate periods of time, people who had been in housing queues for years, people selling government houses, the illegal occupation of government houses, nepotism and abuse of the housing waiting list system.
It will cost South Africa R1,3-billion, or 10% of this year's budget, to rectify badly built reconstruction and development programme houses.
"This situation clearly follows from questionable contracts and building standards, approved by government officials and implemented by the private sector," Sexwale said.
He also stated that the special investigations unit has already brought to book more than 800 government officials who had houses and subsidies they should not have had. He added that more arrests were likely to follow.
"As for the private sector; five members of the legal fraternity have already been struck from the roll for corrupt activities associated with housing. And we are hot on the heels of identified companies involved in nefarious activities.
"We simply cannot allow people to turn the poor into a business. This is morally reprehensible."