Housing shock

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rdp

SEXUAL favours for RDP houses, removing names from the database in favour of others and renting out RDP houses while collecting the rentals are some of the claims believed to have been levelled against former Lukhanji Municipality councillors, according to a housing commission report.

The Rep this week spoke to housing commission chairwoman Adre Bartis, who has been involved in the housing sector for the past 20 years and headed the body established by former Lukhanji executive mayor Nozi Makanda on March 15 last year.

The commission was established to investigate RDP housing concerns in Nomzamo and Unathi Mkefa and cases of the Homeless People’s Federation, following claims of corruption in the processes.

Opposition parties, the EFF and the DA recently called on the municipality to release the report. The Rep has not seen the report and it has not been tabled before coun- cil yet, but Bartis said she had been invited to a mayoral committee meeting last month.

After waiting from 9am to noon outside the meeting, she had to leave but then returned and waited until 3pm, when she finally left without having presented the report.

She said the commission had discovered a number of irregularities, including beneficiaries who had never received title deeds, same erf numbers which had been allocated to different beneficiaries and beneficiaries who could not access their homes because other people were living in them. She said there were families who had sold homes of underage beneficiaries to the municipality.

“In some cases, a beneficiary was approved but had to leave Komani due to medical reasons,” Bartis said. “When that person returned, he was told he could no longer get the house.”

Other beneficiaries with title deeds had also allegedly been evicted by municipal officials for no apparent reason. Bartis said there were cases of the incorrect capturing of information, which had led to the non-approval of beneficiaries for RDP houses.

A total of 450 cases had been reported, which had been split into the categories of administrative errors and misconduct by councillors and employees.

Extra staff had been needed at the municipal human settlements directorate to ensure the team was more effective.

Speaking on the alleged misconduct of councillors, Bartis said in some cases, money was said to have been lent to community members, with councillors allegedly taking ownership of the houses when the money could not be repaid.

Allegations had been made of sexual favours being asked in return for houses, with the names of community members allegedly removed and replaced with those of others on the database.

She said the municipality was, by law, allowed to investigate and make findings on any alleged breach of the code of conduct.

Councils could issue warnings or reprimand councillors, with the MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs having the power to remove errant councillors.

“Implicated councillors [will] receive a notice of the allegations in writing within seven days after the presentation of the report.

“Councillors must respond within 14 days to the allegations in writing. If they don’t the matter must be addressed by the office of MEC, Fikile Xasa.”

Employees must be dealt with using municipal disciplinary procedures.

Questions sent to Enoch Mgijima communications manager Fundile Feketshane on Monday had not been answered at the time of going to press.

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