1300 housing officials cited on R18m fraud

THE Department of Human Settlements is disciplining more than 1300 housing officials who defrauded the housing subsidy system to the tune of R18million.

THE Department of Human Settlements is disciplining more than 1300 housing officials who defrauded the housing subsidy system to the tune of R18million.

Human settlements director-general Itumeleng Kotsoane told Parliament's human settlements committee yesterday that the special investigations unit had finalised 513 cases involving civil servants - many of whom were convicted.

The errant officials who "defrauded the housing subsidy system" have signed more than 1440 acknowledgements of debt to the value of R18399778.

The officials have paid government back R1,8million so far, Kotsoane said.

A further 795 officials are currently facing disciplinary action.

Kotsoane told the committee that the spiralling costs of housing material posed a "huge problem" to the government.

He said the Competition Commission's investigation of possible cartels in suppliers of construction materials such as stock bricks and cement will help reduce the costs of building houses in the future.

Meanwhile, members of Parliament urged Kotsoane to check that quality houses are being built as a way of preventing service delivery protests.

Committee chairperson Nomhle Dabuza said the human settlements department had also failed to monitor what happens to new housing projects.

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