THE Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality will now be able to fast-track housing and service delivery as the money to build RDP houses will bypass Bhisho and be sent directly to the city from the national Department of Human Settlements.
The news comes as the municipality yesterday launched its four-month drive to register and verify all backyard shack dwellers in the Bay in order to adequately plan for housing delivery.
The launch was held at the Babs Madlakane Hall in KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage.
Mayor Zanoxolo Wayile announced that the municipality had received approval for Level 3 accreditation status, which means it would receive funding directly to build houses and pay building contractors directly.
Delayed payments from the Eastern Cape Department of Human Settlements have been a bone of contention for the municipality, which has had to deal with several protests by housing contractors who are not paid on time.
The latest performance report of the municipality's human settlements department also showed it was failing to provide crucial services to residents as it could not meet its annual targets.
The department blamed the poor performance on delayed payments from Bhisho.
Wayile said: "The municipality will be given Level 3 status, which means the money will come directly to the municipality. It will make planning and delivery of houses easier for the metro because when you wait for [the] province there are always delays."
Field workers from 45 wards will visit various households over the next four months to register all backyard shack dwellers.
Human settlements portfolio chairman councillor Fikile Desi said: "There wasn't a programme for backyard dwellers in the previous dispensation to say that people must be given a place to stay.
"Now all the backyard dwellers and their families are going to be documented in the municipality's books, then we can approach national government for funding to build houses.
"We are going to get a piece of land where you will get a site and be able to stay there with your family.
"We have a programme to ensure that everyone grows up in a home with dignity," he said.
Wayile said the spate of service delivery protests in the city had further fed the need to speedily build RDP houses. The metro was also battling to reduce the 81000 housing backlog because many housing beneficiaries rented or sold their houses and moved back into backyard shacks.
"Sometimes there are allegations of corruption with people jumping queues, but with this ... process we will have credible information."
He urged residents to be patient and accept it if they were relocated to another area once the RDP houses are built. "There are sites that have been identified by the municipality, which means some people will be relocated.
"We are also looking for land in town so that we can integrate the communities. Some people are saying the value of their houses will drop, but value or no value, the primary task is to integrate the community."