Human settlements committee asks police to prosecute 'criminals' selling RDP housing in Gauteng
Parliament's portfolio committee on human settlements has called on the department to work with law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute criminals who sell RDP houses.
This after it was revealed to the committee that RDP houses are being sold at the Savanna City mega project in Midvaal, Gauteng.
Savanna City was launched in 2013 by then Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane, who said the integrated housing development could create 54,900 jobs during its construction.
The Savanna City project, 35km south of Johannesburg, will provide 18,399 integrated housing units, including 5,517 fully subsidised houses, 2,635 rental apartments, 4,729 bonded houses and 16 educational facilities, as well as clinics, crèches, churches and rental and commercial sites.
At the time Mokonyane said: “This project is about providing an integrated city for the people of Sedibeng.”
Now the committee has called for the community to participate in fighting “such illegality” by sharing information with police and the department.
The committee is on an oversight visit to Gauteng this week to assess implementation of targets.
“We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to this perennial problem of illegality where criminal elements exploit the desperation caused by the longing for security of tenure among South Africans,” committee chair Machwene Semenya said on Thursday.
“These people are extorting the poor who are forced to approach loan sharks to get money to access housing. These criminals must be brought to book through collaboration between police, the department and communities.
“The community must be aware that a house bought illegally would not be beneficial in the long-term, as the buyer will not receive a title deed to an illegally purchased house. Buying these houses will lead to financial loss.”
There is an urgent need to look at solutions to the challenge of selling RDP houses, because it perpetuates the inability by many to own their own houses.Committee chair Machwene Semenya
The committee has asked the municipality, the department of human settlements and police to implement measures to arrest the perpetrators and to report to the committee on progress and plans to stop this illegality.
The committee has also called for strategies to eliminate exposing title deed beneficiaries to risk.
The committee said that while the Housing Act prohibits the selling of an RDP house within eight years of occupation, it is aware that many families are forced, mainly due to economic hardship, to sell their houses or put them up as surety for loans before the lapse of the statutory time frames. This threatens the security of tenure of many.
“There is an urgent need to look at solutions to the challenge of selling RDP houses, because it perpetuates the inability by many to own their own houses,” Semenya added.
The committee is concerned by “challenges” in beneficiary lists in Gauteng.
“Many people who applied and qualified between 1996 and 1998 have not received their houses. The committee [reiterates] its call for transparency regarding the list of beneficiaries.
“Furthermore, the committee has called for the exclusion of politicians at local level on issues of beneficiary lists. Monitoring of officials involved in the administration of beneficiary lists must be enhanced to ensure corrupt activity is dealt with swiftly.”
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