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City of Johannesburg Press Statement by

The Executive Mayor, Cllr Herman Mashaba

City releases final report on housing construction in JHB


22 March 2018
Release: immediate
Today, following a two month investigation, the City released findings into seemingly poorly
constructed homes, worst affected by a violent storm which struck the City on the 30th of December
2017.
This violent storm caused extensive damage to some 1 326 properties in the Southern and Western
low-cost housing developments and informal settlements of Johannesburg.
Immediately following the storm, I visited some of the worst affected communities where residents
showed me examples of what appeared to be poor construction and the use of sub-standard building
materials.
On my engagement with these communities, it became clear that residents had raised these concerns
in the past with developers.
I then committed to holding a weekly Joint Operations Committee (JOC), compromising of stakeholders
in the City, provincial government and the NGO sector.
This was in a bid to provide relief to those worst affected and instituting an investigation into the alleged
poor construction of these homes.
Since then, we have communicated extensively on this matter, issuing over 9 separates pieces of public
communication.
This included an ongoing forensic investigation into allegations that councillors were allegedly collecting
donations outside of the City’s regulated processes.

As part of this investigation, the City sought to establish:

 The City’s role in the approval of building plans, statutory inspections throughout the
construction phase of properties and issuing of occupation certificates which affirm the safety
of the buildings;
 Establishing the identities of contractors involved in the construction of some of these
buildings; and

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 The role of financial institutions, such as lenders and banks, which funded the construction of
some of these buildings.
Given the extent of damage it was necessary to carry out the investigation through a representative
sample group from the worst hit areas. A decision was also taken to obtain the services of independent
building construction engineers and a team of assessors and quantity surveyors, in order to carry out
the investigation.
The investigation found that the damage caused to these properties was a result of excessive wind
force and the severity of the storm.
However, the use of poor design and construction methods and substandard building materials in
alternations or additions made to properties, such as those found in boundary walls put up by property
owners, left some properties far more exposed to the storm.
In addition to this, the investigation raised concerns around the registration of construction companies
doing business within the area.
In terms of Section 10 of the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act, any person in the business
of home building is required by law to register with the National Home Builders Registration Council
(NHBRC). Failure to do so is an offence which, upon conviction, is punishable with a fine of up to R25
000 or a one-year prison term on each charge.
During its investigation, the City’s Group Risk and Audit Services (GRAS) found that among the two
developers responsible for housing construction in the affected areas, one appeared to not have been
registered with the NHBRC at the time of investigation. Attempts by the City to fully verify this matter
with the NHBRC came to no avail.
This is something which the NHBRC is yet to answer to.
As a City, we believe that the NHBRC carries the duty of ensuring that developers are registered both
as means of ensuring compliance with legislation but also ensuring the safety of residents, not only
here in Johannesburg, but across the Province.
The investigation also sought to examine the City’s own processes with a view of correcting our own
internal weaknesses.
The Department of Development Planning has suspended three officials pending further investigation
for refusing to co-operate with GRAS’s investigation of these internal processes.
Despite this internal resistance, the investigation found:
Poor record keeping at City’s Building Development Management (BDM)
That there was no proper record and filing system at the City’s Building Development Management,
resulting in challenges to produce records timeously.
This state of affairs was evident in that files requested for audit purposes were not submitted to the
investigation team.
No consistency in the dates of plan approvals in relation to the occupancy certificates
GRAS found that the dates for the planned approval on an occupancy certificates differed with the
approval date by the Chief Plan Examiner in their respective files.
Stand number with two different plan approval dates
During the investigation of the sample files presented for audit, GRAS found instances where the
approved plans had two different dates.

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No certificates of occupancy in Lufhereng property files
With respect to files for properties identified by GRAS for the area of Lufhereng, all the identified houses
had no certificate of occupancy in their files.
Dates on certificates of occupancy differ from stamps issuing said certificates
GRAS noted that the dates at which inspectors issued certificates of occupancy differ with official
stamps on the documents, making it difficult to establish the correct date at which the certificates of
occupancy were issued.
Incomplete files
Instances where some of the files had no record of the date on which the application for the approval
of the plan was submitted.
Incomplete applications for approval of building plans
During the review of BDM’s approval of building plans, GRAS found instances where incomplete
application forms were accepted and captured into the City’s system.
With respect to this, GRAS has made the following recommendations. Management must:
• ensure that they implement and monitor controls to ensure that approved files and records
are properly safeguarded against loss, theft and misfiling while providing sufficient space to
store files containing plans and related records;
• monitor issuance of occupancy certificates and ensure that building inspectors record the
correct date of plan approval in line with the file to avid conflicting dates;
• ensure building inspectors perform compulsory inspections of properties under development
before occupation and the issuing of occupation certificates;
• implement and monitor controls to ensure that files are complete, and the date at which the
plan was submitted and approved is correctly recorded in the files;
• ensure that an independent official checks and verifies the completeness of files;
• monitor and implement controls to ensure that only fully completed application forms are
accepted. Implement a mechanism to ensure that the pre-scrutiny section properly scrutinises
the files before capturing onto the City’s system;
• ensure that assessors complete and sign the application to ensure accountability; and
• ensure that plan examiners are consistent in handling of files and ensure that dates of the
recommendation for approval on the file are the same as the stamp and on the plan.
Ultimately, the regulation of housing matters rest within spheres of government outside that of our
own. The City has committed to introducing measures to correct weaknesses within our operations
which we hope will increase compliance.
However, in taking the matter forward, over the next few weeks, I will again be visiting communities
affected by this disaster, in order to bring these findings to those communities.
In addition, I will be writing to the MEC for Human Settlements and Cooperative Governance and
Traditional Affairs, Mr Dikgang Uhuru Moiloa, to bring the contents of our findings to his attention as
well as request that provincial and national government prepare an action plan for disasters of a
similar nature in future.
I would like to thank our residents for their support and continued patience as we went about
addressing this matter.
I would also like to thank all our stakeholders,including NGOs, the City’s and Province’s Disaster
Management Centres, our Environmental Health, Citizen Relationship and Urban Management

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departments, the Provincial Social Development Department who played a key role in coordinating
relief efforts and Group Risk and Advisory Services departments.
I assure residents that, as we move forward, we will continue to do all that is within our power to ensure
that there is appropriate consequence management for those implicated by this report and ensuring
the City is suitably equipped to address similar disasters in future.
Cllr Herman Mashaba
Executive Mayor
City of Joburg
Media queries:
Luyanda Mfeka
Director: Mayoral Communications
Office of the Executive Mayor
Cell: 076 171 5978
Email: luyandam@joburg.org.za