MECs named in houses scam

FINGERED: Matshweni Semenya. Pic. Elijar Mushiana. 05/11/2009. © Sowetan.
FINGERED: Matshweni Semenya. Pic. Elijar Mushiana. 05/11/2009. © Sowetan.

FOUR Limpopo MECs have been accused of benefitting from the sale of state houses meant for low income earners.

FOUR Limpopo MECs have been accused of benefitting from the sale of state houses meant for low income earners.

The four are safety and security MEC Dikeledi Magadzi, sports, arts and culture MEC Joyce Mashamba, the late MEC for public works Pandelani Ramagoma and former MEC Matshweni Semenya.

The MECs were linked by a report from the public works department titled the Disposal of Redundant State Properties.

About 303 state houses were bought by the MECs and other senior state officials at prices reduced to about 30percent between 2001 and 2007. Most of the houses are in Bendor, a suburb of Polokwane.

The MECs, who earn a combined salary of R3million a year - each earns more than R55000 a month - bought the houses for between R40000 and R150000.

The houses were sold by the department of public works.

The houses were meant for previously disadvantaged people who were first-time buyers and who did not own houses.

They were also meant for people whose salary was below R150000 a year.

But the four MECs bought the houses despite the fact that they did not qualify.

"This is corruption at its worst. The act by the MECs shows that once more our public figures do not hesitate to put their own material needs ahead of ordinary citizens," Jacques Smalle, a Democratic Alliance member of the Limpopo legislature, said yesterday.

Asked for comment, Semenya and Magadzi confirmed buying the houses.

Semenya and Magadzi said they were given first preference to purchase because they were staying in the houses before they were deemed redundant.

Department of public works spokeperson Victor Mufamadi said all houses had been sold for between R40000 and R270000 each.

He said according to the policy, people who stayed in the houses were given first preference to buy them before they could be sold to others.

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