Claims of meddling

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LIVING IN DESPAIR: Mase Ngotsolo, 95, has been living in this shack for years Picture: ZOLILE MENZLEWA

THE Nomzamo housing project has divided the community, with claims that the members of the project steering committee (PSC) had meddled with the beneficiary lists abounding this week.

The Rep reported (“Housing shock,” November 18) how the housing commission, established by former Lukhanji executive mayor Nozi Makanda on March 15, had uncovered allegations of sexual favours for RDP houses, removing the names of beneficiaries from the database and councillors allegedly collecting rental money for themselves. The report has yet to be tabled before council.
The Rep visited the area two weeks ago and had two separate meetings with a total of 22 residents. Mase Ngotsolo, 95, lives in a small shack. She said she was promised a temporary shelter by the then-Lukhanji Municipality in 2014 but nothing had happened to date. Siphokazi Badi has been living with her three children and grandchild in her shack since 2000.
Buyiswa Vinjwa moved into a shack in Nomzamo in 1997. She said she was one of the people who had moved to make way for the RDP building project. She said she had registered and was told by PSC chairman Mnqophiso Naye her forms were with the municipality.
“I recently asked him the status of my application and he said I won’t get a house because I swore at him.”
Hantyi Ngungweni said he had been living in a shack for 12 years. He said Naye had also promised him a house.
The group of 22 accused Naye, resident Eric Palmer, his sister Niki (a PSC member) and community liaison officer Zizipho Haki of keeping application forms for RDP houses at their homes and deciding who got homes. The four were also accused of handing over keys to people during the evenings. When approached, Naye and Eric accused former ward committee member Gcinisa Buzani of contacting The Rep with the information. Buzani was not present at the reporter’s meeting with the 22 residents.
They said he gave “misleading” information as he wanted to become a ward committee member after failing to become a ward councillor.
Naye said he was not present when the housing list was drawn up and that he trusted the PSC members. “Buzani should have corrected the problems while still a ward committee member. I would love for the list to be compared with the people living in the houses. I want the report of the housing commission to be tabled so that I can be charged if I have done something wrong. I have done nothing wrong.”
Niki, a PSC member since 2014, said she had heard of accusations of houses given to the wrong people but did not know about it.
The only time there were forms at her home was after field workers were told to leave the first completed house, when it had to be given to its owners. “I gave the field workers a place in my shack as the winds were blowing the forms away. I never helped anyone fill in forms. Even when the forms came back from the municipality I never touched them but called the field workers to fetch them.”
Eric, who was not a member of the PSC or ward committee, said he did not work for the municipality and he did not have access to municipal documents. He did not hand out houses and he called on those making such claims to provide proof.
He said he had nothing to hide, adding that the reporter was lying by saying he had met 22 people. But he later apologised.
“If I am guilty let a court of law prove me guilty or not.”
He said he would sue The Rep if he wanted to and that the fight in Nomzamo was not about houses but about personal issues. He and his sister both confirmed their family members had houses as they were on the list as they were deserving – and had applied.
The Rep has seen a number of lists with names having been changed over a couple of months and is in possession of some.
Haki said she gave houses according to a beneficiary list she received from the human settlements department. She handed out some keys late as people came from work at night.
“If I don’t give people their keys and the houses are vandalised I will be responsible. I don’t know if there are people who are on the lists that are not supposed to be there.”
Former councillor Fundile Dayimani said he did not know the people from the shacks.
“There was a committee established that would formulate the lists, but when there were complaints the committee was putting its family members on the list, it was changed.”
Dayimani said he had nothing to do with the lists, but had been told houses were sold by committee members. He reported the matter to council, but nothing was done.
“I was told of people who were in houses they were not supposed to be in, but I did not want to appear to be taking sides so I let it go.”
Buzani said Eric had forms for RDP houses and had gone to the house where field workers worked with such forms. He said Eric was, at the time, working with a certain former director of the municipality, who employed him as a messenger in the municipality, but that the appointment was overturned when it was found that the post had not been advertised.
The Rep will not disclose the name of the director as it could not get hold of him for comment.
“When we called for an investigation into the housing project I was an ANC member and I left the ANC and joined the EFF.”
Enoch Mgijima communications manager, Fundile Feketshane, failed to respond to questions at the time of going to press.

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