'EMPTY HOUSES are a concern'

THE Gauteng government has warned that RDP houses not allocated to their beneficiaries will cause unrest in communities.

The government is worried that outbreaks of unrest could lead to carnage ahead of local elections next year.

Local government and housing MEC Kgaogelo Lek-goro emphasised the need for his department to speed up the allocation of houses to communities after a quarterly meeting held with senior management of the department at the weekend.

"The department has many unoccupied houses which opens us up to security and logistical problems," he said.

"Some houses are invaded and others vandalised. These include developments in hostels where many of them have no services such as electricity and water connections," Lekgoro said.

"All the finished houses should be allocated as soon as they are completed and in the next quarterly review there should be a marked improvement," he said.

"We understand that some of the problems of allocations relate to problems of missing beneficiaries.

"We also know that some houses have not been completed and compliance certificates have not been issued.

"The department should also be available to assist people who want to complain about structural problems they identify in their houses. And the department should be able to follow up on every query regarding defected houses," Lekgoro said.

"We should continue to focus on delivering services to communities and not allowed to be sidetracked because people are going for elections. Some people selectively target councillors because they want to increase their political profile.

"We are pleased that the department was able to provide more than 42000 housing opportunities in the past financial year."