Two families a stand improves delivery

Vusi Ndlovu

Vusi Ndlovu

Gauteng's housing department has resorted to double-speak to explain the double allocation of housing to more than one family.

In a desperate effort to save face after Sowetan uncovered that the national, provincial and local departments have blundered by allocating stands to more than one owner in housing developments in Gauteng, the provincial department said housing authorities had intentionally given up to three different families rights to stands to cope with the huge demand for RDP houses.

The department says this was a carefully planned move.

Sowetan's article on Tuesday highlighted the plight of about 200 irate families who have not received houses or stands allocated in 2000 next to the Winnie Mandela informal settlement in Ekurhuleni.

Applicants produced documents showing that stands registered in their names at the Housing Department were occupied by people who lived in houses built with grants issued to a third person.

New homeowners have built structures and made improvements on the stands that local officials had told them they owned.

Titus Modika applied for an RDP house in 1994. His application for a stand was approved in 2000 and he was granted a R15000 subsidy by the national department.

But Sinah Mokgoloshi occupies the stand and has built two rows of rooms she occupies and rents out as she waits for her RDP house.

Mokgoloshi could not produce title deeds, but was horrified to learn that the stand was registered to someone else.

Though the national department has it registered in Modika's name, the provincial department's records indicate that the stand belongs to a third person.

Their records put Modika temporarily on a stand four houses away - which is already occupied by another family.

Gauteng's housing department contested our report.

"The department wishes to put it on record that two families are each sharing one stand in Winnie Mandela informal settlement in Ekurhuleni due to the fact that when the original settlement of families occurred it was not envisaged that the land on which the families were settled would be insufficient," retorted the department's spokesman Victor Moreriane.

He said one family would be the permanent recipient, the other a temporary occupier.

But he was unable to explain how two, or even three, families could be expected to occupy these tiny properties.

David Mapaya was allocated a stand with another family. The local housing department has twice instructed him to move to different stands.

"On both occasions I found the stands they moved me to belonged to other people," Mapaya said.

"When the ward councillor placed me in the same yard with the other family he said the stand belonged to me. I was told the other family would move later because their stand would be made available later.

"I was surprised to see him starting to build. When I reported the matter to the councillor I was told that I would be moved to another address," he said.

Sowetan searched official records and found that Mapaya had been approved for a subsidised stand in the neighbouring Tswelopele Extension.

Residents in the area said the double and triple allocation of stands has engendered animosity among the families sharing the properties, because they were all promised permanent ownership of the stands.

Spokesman Moreriane praises the arrangement, saying it has improved housing delivery.

Meanwhile many of the folks occupying the stands are still waiting for the RDP houses they were promised more than 10 years ago to be built. In the case of Mbali and Nompumelelo Sibeko, their parents have been waiting for a better life and a house for the past 13 years.