Many of us have been aware of this problem for years. The reality of multiple ownership of homes has meant that individuals have profited from government schemes designed to help the needy, not just the opportunistic.
The pattern is simple, government builts you a house, then you sell it or rent it out and go back to living in a shack, and/or move to another area and get the government to build you a new house.
"beneficiaries sold their house, and then once they had spent their money, tried to reclaim it."
RDP houses in the province transferred to beneficiaries less than eight years ago, which have been sold by their owners, will be confiscated and given to the needy, says Housing MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela.
Location specific audits have revealed that in some cases, as in George, up to 90 percent of RDP houses have been sold by beneficiaries, and a visit by former housing MEC Richard Dyantyi in 2008 revealed that up to 60 percent of RDP houses in Du Noon had been sold or let.
But Madikizela said the Housing Act stipulated that the RDP housing beneficiaries were not allowed to sell their houses within an eight year period, and his department was to audit the 101 000 housing subsidies granted since 2002.
“The houses that are returned to the Department in terms of the pre-emptive right clause (in the Housing Act) will be reallocated by municipalities to qualifying people in terms of the relevant criteria,” said Madikizela.
“We will find a way that government reclaim the houses (RDP) and give them to the needy.”
But he said the magnitude of the problem had to first be determined.
To this end his department was busy drafting terms of reference to appoint a service provider to analyse the status of all state-funded housing projects.
He said the survey to be conducted by an appointed service provider would also establish how many title deeds still needed to be transferred to beneficiaries and, where title deeds had not been handed over, what the reasons for the delay were.
“It is anticipated that this survey of our projects will be concluded by the end of the financial year (31 March 2011). However, once we have some preliminary data from this study we will already be in a position to start to plot a way forward in dealing with this matter.”
In Du Noon residents were scared to speak about the sales and ownership of RDP houses, saying they feared being killed if they spoke out about what exactly was happening.
Community leader Madlomo Ndamane said the sale of RDP houses was “a hot business” in the township.
“Its a big problem.”
She said beneficiaries sold their house, and then once they had spent their money, tried to reclaim it.
She also said there were people who were approved RDP house beneficiaries, but never occupied their house, suggesting that money could have exchanged hands and other people were given the houses instead.
Meanwhile, the City has admitted that it was battling to issue title deeds to approved RDP housing beneficiaries in the metro.
Land acquisition specialist in the city’s housing directorate, Marlize Odendal said in many cases the occupants of RDP houses were not the official beneficiaries, which made it difficult for the city to issue title deeds.
“It’s a general problem (issuing of title deeds) and its country wide,” said Odendal
A senior city official in the housing directorate, who did not want to be named as he was not sure he was allowed to speak to the press, said the process of issuing title deeds in Du Noon was suspended last year as city-contracted workers received death threats from residents.
Blaauwberg sub-council chair Heather Brenner confirmed that city efforts to investigate “approved beneficiaries” of RDP houses in Du Noon had been continuously disrupted by people who did not want the project to move forward.
Brenner said of about 1000 RDP houses in Du Noon, half of them had been investigated and were occupied by official beneficiaries, but the remainder were unknown and under suspicion because residents there had threatened city contractors.
“It’s been a very frustrating exercise, true beneficiaries have been waiting for ten years to get their title deeds. They deserve them.”
Odendal said similar problems had been experienced in Gugulethu and Langa. — West Cape News