3 Juni 2005

Hemp housing man lays MEC complaint

CAPE TOWN – Against a background of protests about housing delivery, the Western Cape office of the Public Protector confirmed on Tuesday that a complaint was lodged against housing MEC Marius Fransman.

“We received a complaint of unreasonable delay in responding to the complainant,” said provincial public protector Gary Pienaar.

The complainant is housing innovator Andre du Plessis, who wants to build low-cost cannabis homes.

In an electronic missive to Pienaar and obtained by Sapa, Du Plessis said he had been trying to develop his project for the past five years.

Superficial response – Du Plessis

Du Plessis said the department of housing and former Western Cape premiers had responded to his requests in a superficial manner.

“This form of response is unacceptable,” said Du Plessis, saying the demand for appropriate affordable fire- and water-proof housing outweighed everything. He said since he received the first response in 2001, he could have built 10,000 housing units of 80 square metres each.

Du Plessis said during the same time he has endeavoured to build appropriate affordable housing, other countries such as Australia, Spain and the United Kingdom have proved that hemp houses could work. “As the housing crisis deepens, we can no longer afford delays on behalf of the housing minister or ministry, with regard to correspondence or delivery”.

Private investors keen

Du Plessis said private investors keen to support his endeavours were being curbed.

“We will consider the complaint and decide whether we can take action and what form that action will be,” said Pienaar.

Pienaar said Du Plessis would be informed of the decision, with the office possibly arranging a meeting between Fransman and Du Plessis.

Source: iAfrica.com, May 31, 2005.

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