MEC concerned at reports on RDP houses

By Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria -The Gauteng MEC for Housing, Kgaogelo Lekgoro, has expressed concern over reports that RDP houses were being sold by a conman to non-beneficiaries in the province.

The Sowetan newspaper published a story on Tuesday about a conman who made people believe that he could cheat government's housing system and sell them an RDP house for R6 000 in Eden Park, east of Johannesburg.

The eNews Channel also broadcast footage of the same conman soliciting a bribe for a RDP house. The investigative journalist was able to put down a deposit of R3 000 to buy a house.

When the crew pounced, the conman ran to his Peugeot 207 and sped off. However, he later called one of the journalists to apologise and claimed to have realised that what he had done was wrong.

"The story … is of great concern to us. We are always concerned when some people out there driven by greed wish to take advantage of those who need this service," said the MEC.

The house belonged to an identified beneficiary and was still being completed, said Mr Lekgoro, adding that the fraudster was not an employee of the department.

He warned that no one other than the legal beneficiary could occupy an RDP house and that no one was allowed to sell such a home before owning the property for more than eight years.

"My call to those who are in need out there is do not allow anyone to make deals with you outside the official premises of the department. No one can offer you a RDP house unless they are officials employed by the department or the local municipality," he said.

Mr Lekgoro said the department would continue to do all in its power to bring those fraudsters to book.

On 16 June, three suspects were arrested on allegations of fraud and corruption in Lehae, Johannesburg.

On 25 June 2009, two of the suspects were granted bail, but one is still in custody.

It is believed that the fraudsters had sold RDP houses for amounts ranging from R15 000 to R25 000. They had also allegedly allocated their own people to the houses which were intended for the poor, but later evicted by the City of Johannesburg who allocated the houses to the rightful owners.

An amount R190 000 was believed to have been taken from the unassuming victims.

- BuaNews