The Limpopo government has sought to provide further details on the 40 shacks it has handed to the Talana Hostel dwellers in Tzaneen, which are said to be worth R2.4 million.

Premier Stan Mathabatha flanked by National Department of Human Settlement Acting Director General Joseph Leshabe hosted a press briefing in Polokwane and reiterated that the shacks were a temporary measure aimed at relieving overcrowding at the hostel.

This, as the government sought to construct family units at the hostel.

Following the unveiling of the shacks at the Talana Hostel in Tzaneen, social media users questioned the government’s release for not building decent or permanent structures for the community.

Mathabatha has blamed his office’s communication unit as well as that of the Housing Department for the social media storm.

Housing MEC Basikopo Makamu says action will be taken to ensure that what they have termed as miscommunication is not repeated.

“As the MEC responsible for Cogta, I have identified the defects of communication within the department I am going to sit and be able to take action in terms of how we are going to proceed because I have realised how it costed the provincial government, the manner in which we miscommunicated with our public,” says Mathabatha.

Limpopo government has sought to provide further details on the 40 shacks it has handed to Talana Hostel dwellers

He also disputed media reports that he was not aware that he was going to officiate at the unveiling of shacks, saying he is currently in communication with the management of the media houses concerned, adding that should talks deadlock, he will consider legal action.

Mathabatha says, “I have never spoken to any journalist, including from Sowetan and Maqoba’s eTV but they have quoted me in first person terms – I did not know, says Mathabatha, – when they never spoke to me. I think that is wrong, it should never happen again…”

“I never said to anyone that I did not know, I’m still talking to them and I hope we will not deadlock but if we deadlock there will be cause for any other action,” added Mathabatha.

Leshabe says they have commissioned an investigation into the quality of the shacks. Some beneficiaries of the shacks, which were handed to them last week, have reported that the doors, floors and windows have already been damaged. The company contracted to supply the shacks previously allegedly inflated prices and was reported for poor workmanship.

Leshabe says the investigation should be complete in 14 days.

“The simplest thing is that we are going to commission an independent verification of quality, they will verify that this technology meets with their accreditation status. We will also commission a professional engineer to be able to review the quality, is it value for money. In no more that 14 days we should be able to have that on our desk,” says Lashabe.