Housing 'is not to blame'

Xolile Bhengu

Xolile Bhengu

Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu yesterday lambasted claims of government housing being at the root of recent xenophobic actions around the country.

Sisulu made the comments as part of her presentation of the 2008-9 budget vote for the National Department of Health (NDoH) in Parliament.

She admitted that it could not be denied that some of government's free housing was occupied by foreign nationals, adding that this was a result of a betrayal of qualifying beneficiaries.

"Allegations have been made that councillors are at the forefront of some corrupt practices to divert these allocations to foreigners who do not qualify.

"As an urgent measure, we have decided to enlist the services of the Special Investigations Unit to take action against the practice," Sisulu said.

Government's housing expenditure increased from R4,8billion to R9billion in 2007-08, representing an average growth of 23,2percent per year.

The NDoH said it would be seeking to introduce a once-off injection of resources estimated at about R12billion to improve the housing backlog and poverty in the next 12 months.

It said the Special Investigations Unit identified 31259 potentially irregular housing subsidy transactions awarded to government employees nationally.