Captured South African journalist Shiraaz Mohamed is alive in Syria and could be home within a month.
Human Settlement minister Tokyo Sexwale has revealed that hundreds of millions of rands earmarked for the construction of RDP houses was instead used to fix poorly built homes.
Sexwale revealed that his department had spent R400 million to rectify shoddily built houses between 2002 to present.
According to the department's estimations, Sexwale said, the money could have been enough to build 7,000 RDP houses.
"Significantly, over R400 million of the budget was spent on rectification of shoddy houses that predate the year 2002, which could otherwise have been used to construct over 7,000 housing units," the minister said.
But, Sexwale assured South Africans that newly built houses suffer the same fate as their predecessors.
"Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that the houses that are being constructed are aesthetically superior and of high quality standard and design," said Sexwale.
Sexwale - who following his installation as human settlements minister vowed to fight graft in the department - was not shy in admitting collective grave instances of corruption and maladministration.
He revealed that current investigations had uncovered corruption totalling billions, while also releasing names of high ranking officials who had been fired as a result of investigations which brought to light their illegal activities.
The minister indicated that more than 50 construction contracts with a value of R4,2 billion were the subject intense investigations.
"Over 40 investigations have been completed and 17 are ongoing," said Sexwale.
About 24 contractors in Limpopo have since been blacklisted for shoddy workmanship, non-delivery and incompetence, with R1 million recovered from them.
Sexwale said these companies had been referred to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) "for further action".
More than 290 public servants charged with having committed housing subsidy fraud had been arrested, more than 240 had since been found guilty while another 220 were facing internal disciplinary hearings.
The department said R30 million lost through corruption had been recovered.
Housing official Thami Mpotulo was dismissed after having been found guilty of dereliction of duty while another - Sipho Mashinini - was recommended for a summary dismal.
Vanessa Somiah - a former SAPS Detective and top SIU Investigator - had her employment at the National Home Builders Regulation Council (NHBRC) terminated as she was "irregularly employed" at the company.