MEC breathes fire over housing scam

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for local government, housing and traditional affairs Mike Mabuyakhulu has vowed to deal harshly with those caught exploiting poor people.

Mabuyakhulu was referring to people who illegally acquired low-cost houses from the poor and then sold or rented them out.

Mabuyakhulu was speaking at a two-day provincial housing summit held at Chief Albert Luthuli International Centre in Durban on Friday.

He said the province was faced with the huge challenge of dealing with a housing backlog.

Mabuyakhulu said people who acquired RDP houses dubiously only to sell or rent them afterwards were hampering efforts to reduce the backlog.

"It's difficult to deal with numbers on the waiting list when people who should not be benefiting from the system were getting houses easily."

He accused some housing department officials of being corrupt.

"These people make it difficult for government to meet their deadline of providing houses and clearing informal settlements by 2014."

"People contravene the law by selling or renting out a low-cost house. The law clearly states that people have an option to return or sell the house to me as MEC responsible for housing.

"But we know that this is not happening. If we find anyone selling houses, we will not hesitate to take legal action against him," warned Mabuyakhulu.

He called on members of the community to provide the government with information pertaining to people found dubiously selling low-cost houses.

"We will also take legal action against officials who are illegally benefiting from the housing allocations by taking bribes.

"We also appeal to media as partners to help us by providing details about those involved in these illegal activities," said Mabuyakhulu.

Meanwhile, the department has signed a memorandum of understanding with Absa Bank.

It aims to support wealth generation and economic empowerment through equitable access to home ownership of low income groups.

Absa has committed R 2,6billion towards the country's housing projects and the province is one of the main beneficiaries.