Sex workers and drug dealers have illegally occupied hundreds of RDP houses in Mpumalanga while government struggles to find the rightful owners.
The affected houses are in Kwa-Zamokuhle near Middleburg, Moloto, Delmas and Emalahleni.
Houses in Thandukukhanya in Piet Retief were also occupied.
Now the provincial human settlements department has warned that beneficiaries who do not claim their houses would be deregistered and replaced by other people on the waiting list.
No deadline has been given.
"We have made efforts to house needy communities throughout the province, but we are faced with enormous challenges of untraceable beneficiaries in a number of areas in the three regions," said departmental spokesperson, Freddy Ngobe.
"Many applicants were allocated houses, but are nowhere to be found. This is a concern as the people need the houses desperately," Ngobe said.
He urged beneficiaries to always update their contact details with their respective municipalities.
"If they relocate or move to other areas, they should inform their municipalities. Unoccupied houses are vandalised and the expenses for repairs are left with us," Ngobe said.
He warned people not to illegally occupy the houses.
Ngobe said the department has made efforts through councillors to try and find the beneficiaries.
These housing projects were approved in the 2007- 2008 financial year and completed in May this year.
Beneficiaries who want to check if their houses are ready for occupation should contact their respective municipalities or the Departmental Regional Offices. They can also call Gert Sibande at 017-811-1177, Nkangala at 013-656-066 and the Ehlanzeni region on 013- 752-6063.