'Foreigners to blame for most shacks' - MEC Uhuru Moiloa
Gauteng human settlements MEC Uhuru Moiloa is frustrated by the problems caused by foreign nationals who illegally occupy houses meant for South Africans.
Moiloa also blames them for the mushrooming of informal settlements.
Moiloa told reporters in Johannesburg yesterday that documented foreign nationals could utilise the rental stock that government provides for the general public. Moiloa said there were many undocumented persons who were causing the proliferation of informal settlements in Gauteng.
"[In] these squatter camps that you see proliferating in our province, there is a huge number of foreigners who are also squatting," he said.
"Unfortunately, when you look at a squatter camp, you just look at [it as] a squatter camp of South Africans. The truth is that there are thousands of people from elsewhere on the continent that are squatting in our country. We've got to find a way of dealing with this issue without creating xenophobia."
Moiloa said his department was dealing with illegal occupation of houses in Olievenhoutbosch, Tshwane, which involved foreign nationals.
"People have [illegally] occupied houses there. Half of them are foreigners. I'm dealing with an informal settlement that was visited by the president in Mooiplaas [in Centurion]. The president instructed that we must develop housing there," he said.
"But close to 40% to 50% of the people in that squatter camp are foreigners. We've got to sort out the element of lawlessness. People just come to South Africa without declaring themselves at our border control systems."
Moiloa also announced that people who applied for government housing in 1996 will now be the first to benefit from all housing projects.
"We are responding to a general grievance that the housing list is corrupted by officials. My administration has given a preliminary report on how many people in our system registered in 1996, what is their health and age. We have now developed a criterion that these are the people that are going to be considered to be the first beneficiaries of housing," said Moiloa.
"It is my intention that before the end of my term, I would have published the list of qualifying beneficiaries as approved by our housing subsidy system..."
Gauteng has been struggling to reduce the housing backlog which is about 1.1-million due to more people relocating to the province for better economic opportunities.
There has been a growing frustration from the provincial government over foreign nationals in recent weeks.
Gauteng MEC for health Gwen Ramokgopa told Sowetan a week ago that new ways were needed to finance the cost of treating foreign nationals in provincial hospitals.