Eviction of illegal RDP house owners

By Sydney Masinga

Nelspruit - People who have illegally bought or occupied RDP houses in Mpumalanga have been warned that the Department of Human Settlements will be tracking them down and evicting them before the end of the year.

Addressing a press conference in Nelspruit on Tuesday, provincial MEC for Human Settlements Madala Masuku said he would undertake random door-to-door visits in different municipalities as part of an audit of people occupying government's low-cost houses.

The MEC will verify whether the people living in the houses are legitimate beneficiaries.

"The audits will begin in Tekwane North [outside Nelspruit] and we will definitely kick out all the people who have illegally bought houses.

"We have a situation where our people have gone back to live in shacks because they have sold their RDP houses to greedy individuals. That is going to come to an end this year," said Masuku.

A resident of Tekwane North, Khethiwe Lekhuleni, told the MEC that most of the RDP houses which were sold in the area had been sold by the department's officials.

"He must investigate the people in the department. He will be blown away by the number of corrupt officials who became rich by selling RDP houses," said Lekhuleni.

Masuku said anyone with evidence of involvement by officials in the illegal selling of RDP houses should come forward.

He added that by the end of April, when the 2009/2010 financial year comes to an end, the department will have delivered 2 626 housing units that had been abandoned by contractors in the previous financial year.

"During the policy budget speech last year, I committed that the department will finish all 4 132 incomplete houses while delivering 10 547 new units. To date, we have delivered 2 626 units and 1 506 are currently under construction," he said.

"We have also delivered 5 965 new housing units in the last nine months. The reason we have not delivered all the houses we committed to is because we had to overcome challenges like the service delivery protests in a number of municipalities, bad weather conditions and the blacklisting of poorly performing contractors."

Masuku said the department had already spent 73 percent of its R795 million budget, with the remaining R212 million to be spent within the next three months.

"There are two special projects at Rooikoppen and Verulam, in Lekwa and Umjindi local municipalities respectively. We commit ourselves that these funds will be spent as planned to deliver much-needed shelter to our people," Masuku said. - BuaNews