RDP housing fraud syndicate arrested‚ says Johannesburg mayor
TMG Digital | 2017-03-14 16:36:27.0
Image by: STEPHEN LAM
Two Joburg housing officials along with two accomplices have been arrested on charges of fraud and corruption linked to a syndicate involving land and RDP houses.
Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said they have appeared in court and were released on R5‚000 bail each.
The case has been postponed to 11 April 2017. “A syndicate working in collusion with the Department of Housing‚ municipal officials and a councillor started allocating stands to people at a fee wherein unsuspecting individuals bought the said stands.
A similar modus operandi applied to the allocation of RDP houses‚” he said in a statement. Many of the victims have already constructed houses on illegally sold land‚ Mashaba added.
The syndicate’s main target were people who did not qualify for home loans or earned a salary that is outside the bracket of legible beneficiaries. “It is disgraceful that officials and politicians were taking advantage of our people’s desperation for their own enrichment‚” said Mashaba.
The arrests follow an investigation conducted by the City’s anti-corruption unit‚ headed by General Shadrack Sibiya.
Mashaba said Sibiya worked closely with the Hawks and the prosecuting authority to ensure that the arrests were effected.
“I am informed that these arrests are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to housing corruption in the City and we expect a number of further arrests to be made in the near future.”
The mayor said the City of Johannesburg faces major housing challenges. His administration has inherited a housing backlog of over 300‚000 units and the City is only able to build an estimated 3‚500 houses per year.
“…It is clear that something has to change in our approach if we are to ensure that our people’s right to adequate housing is realised.
“For the first time in our City’s history we have completed a housing list. This list is currently being audited to ensure that its integrity is beyond reproach. Once this process has been finalised‚ I will announce how this list will be made publicly available so as to ensure that this list cannot be abused.”