Illegal tenants of RDP houses face eviction

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

Illegal occupants of RDP houses in Limpopo face eviction this week.

This was said yesterday by MEC for local government and housing Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

Nkoana-Mashabane has resolved to remove people who illegally occupy the RDP houses and return the houses to their rightful owners.

The MEC would visit all five districts of the province to check whether occupants of the houses were indeed the rightful owners.

Areas of serious concern are Thogoaneng, Westernburg, Musina and Rosenkranz, where illegal occupation of the houses was rampant.

The department had in 2004 appointed the Mahlangu Commission to look into matters pertaining to houses.

The commission found, among other things, that most of the houses were occupied by people who are not the rightful beneficiaries.

Later in the year, the department embarked on a normalization programme, to repeat the commissioning the houses.

The programme found that a sizeable number of beneficiaries approved for housing were not occupants of those houses.

It was noticed that the beneficiaries of the houses sold them to other people who were renting them out.

It was also found that a significant number of the beneficiaries did not have title deeds and that other beneficiaries were parents who had died, leaving the houses to their children.

It was furthermore found that some of the houses had never been occupied since they were built.

"These are some of those houses that are now used by criminals to mug people," said Nkoana-Mashabane yesterday.

She said her department would engage municipalities in the control and handling of the houses, as part of the fight against illegal occupation.

She said the department would also "conduct a learning curve and awareness campaign on the right and value of the houses", to prevent the beneficiaries from selling or renting them out.

To kickstart her decision Mashabane visited Westernburg, near Polokwane, yesterday.

During the visit she found that some of the houses were illegally occupied and that some were being rented out.

Mashabane said the names of illegal occupants and those renting them were handed to the South African Police Service for action.

She said the government's focus was to make sure that people continue to have access to adequate and proper housing, with priority given to the poor.