CHeating workers fined

Getrude Makhafola

Getrude Makhafola

Thousands of civil servants lied about their employment and reduced their income to qualify for RDP houses meant for the poor.

This was an outcome of an investigation by the Department of Housing which has resulted in 500 civil servants facing prosecution.

Head of the special investigations unit of the department, Simphiwe Damane, said yesterday that between 3000 and 4000 government employees had been fingered.

"So many of them lied that they were unemployed when applying for these houses.

"Those who said they were employed lied about their income and decreased it to qualify for the houses," said Damane.

An anti-corruption unit was set up in the department in 2006.

This after a report from the auditor-general showed that an overwhelming number of civil servants owned RDP houses built by the government and meant for the poor. Besides other benefits, these employees receive housing subsidies and earn more than R3500 a month. One has to earn less than R3500 a month to qualify for an RDP house.

"We engaged the special investigations unit three years ago to begin this ground-breaking work and we are now busy with prosecutions, province by province," said Damane.

On Tuesday, six teachers and a principal in Vryburg, North West, were each found guilty and sentenced to fines of R20000 or five years in jail.

"We want uniformity in prosecutions even though the individual cases might differ."