The Gauteng department of housing has promised to investigate claims that families were forced to pay additional money for their subsidised houses, following an article in Sowetan yesterday.
Aviva Manqa from the provincial housing department said if it was proven that Lesedi Women's Cooperative Limited had been taking money from Soweto's poor Doornkop community, appropriate action would be taken.
Sowetan revealed some resi- dents paid Lesedi R2500 in addition to their R19000 government subsidies, as well as R300 for two builders for whom residents were allegedly required to provide breakfast and lunch.
The housing department yesterday said Lesedi was paid in full for all the 250 houses it built.
Manqa said when Lesedi was awarded a contract to build 40-square-metre houses in March 2005, the company asked for a top-up fund of R2479 for households that fell in the R1501 to R2500 earning band.
In the 2006/2007 financial year the quantum income band was removed, and households earning up to R3500 received a full subsidy and did not have to contribute.
However, residents said construction of houses only began in earnest during 2006.
"Any other payment arrangement that has been done between the co-operative and the community members the department has not been part of and not even made aware of," Manga said.
"When the Gauteng housing MEC, [Nomvula Mokonyane] was in Doornkop in August last year, some people spoke to her about some subsidy beneficiaries who were forced to pay for food and she instructed the province's anti-corruption unit to conduct an investigation."