Housing official becomes RDP convict

A HOUSING official has been jailed for four years for soliciting a bribe to allocate an RDP house

Chris Matlala, a former project administrator at the Gauteng department of local government and housing, was convicted and sentenced in the Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court yesterday.

He was arrested in 2009 after the would-be beneficiary blew the whistle on him.

Matlala had phoned the complainant requesting a meeting in his office, where he informed the beneficiary that his name did not appear in the system.

Matlala promised the beneficiary that he could sort out the problem for a fee.

Members of the West Rand organised crime unit quickly swooped in and arrested Matlala.

Reacting to Matlala's sentence, local government and housing department head Mongezi Mnyani said: "We are serious in dealing with corruption within the department.

"We want to keep the integrity of the department intact.

"If we don't deal with corrupt officials we are sending the wrong message to the general public that the quickest way to get your RDP is when you pay a bribe.

"We are encouraged to do more with such corrupt elements when the justice system takes its course without any compromise.

"The fact that four officials have been sentenced in the current year demonstrates our commitment to rid our system of such people."

He said the public should work with the authorities to uproot "unscrupulous tendencies".

"We are always ready to listen to those who come forward with information that will help us in our quest to deal with corruption.

"When people are being made to pay for RDP homes, they must report those people immediately", Mnyani said.

- moengk@sowetan.co.za

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