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Housing abuses slammed

“I am deeply concerned about reports that residents who have received fully subsidised homes from government have either rented or sold the property.”

A statement from Minister Tertuis Simmers of Human Settlements, on 15 July, says that to the department this means there was never really a need for a home, which means the government is being defrauded.

He explained a fully subsidised house costs the state close to R500 000. The minister says legal advice is being sought against those renting their properties. “We will not hesitate to act against those who have defrauded the State in this manner,” he said.

Hugo Geldenhuys, spokesperson for Theewaterskloof Municipality, said unofficial reports of people being alienated from their homes are being made to the municipality. “But the latter can act only if such reports are submitted officially.” He said appropriate action can take place only if reports submitted to the office of the MEC include evidence and proof of illegal sales.

According to Hugo, in the past some beneficiaries rented out or sold their houses soon after they become official house owners. “The key reason relates to poverty and unemployment,” he said. “Also, many beneficiaries do not wish to take responsibility for being a home owner.”

Geldenhuys says to curb this the municipality is strengthening its housing consumer education. “It points out a home is an asset that can be used to improve situations and security. It seems many do not fully understand the physical and future value of houses, and prefer to access ‘quick money’.” He explained many beneficiaries who sell or rent their houses out end up in informal areas, backyards and again on the housing databases.

“This is confirmed by the deeds processes and increasing difficulty in tracing beneficiaries. Many owners who part with their houses have to be accommodated as non- qualifiers.” Geldenhuys adds the issue is worsened by higher income groups taking possession of subsidised houses.

“Their decisions see valuable opportunities for the most vulnerable and poorest members of society removed. This is reason enough for the municipality to take a firm stance on allocation policies, criteria and selection.”

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