One third of RDP houses in Nelson Mandela Bay illegally occupied: DA

APRIL 10, 2015

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape says it is shocked to learn that almost one third of RDP houses in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro are illegally occupied.

"This was revealed in an agenda to the Human Settlements committee today which relates to the illegal occupancy of RDP homes in a sampling of only two wards and points directly toward a lack of effective controls," DA Cllr Andrew Gibbon said in a statement.

"If this same equation were applied to the total of 44 000 RDP houses built by the Metro since 1995, then it would appear that some 13 200 RDP houses are not occupied by the legal beneficiaries.

"The current cost of an RDP house is R102 000. A beneficiary can receive a subsidy for a house once only. The subsidy is linked directly to the beneficiary and to the erf number on which the house is built. Consequently the subsidy records should indicate to whom the house should legally belong."

He said the DA is requesting that immediate action be taken by Nelson Mandela Bay Metro officials to ensure that illegal occupancy of RDP houses does not take place.

"This particularly given the rumours that are rife among communities that a ‘facilitation fee’ of R6 000 will procure a R102 000 RDP house. Further allegations indicate that many of the illegal occupants have been placed in the RDP houses by Municipal officials.

"Councillors are then left to face justifiably disgruntled housing beneficiaries who, when wishing to occupy their new home are devastated to find that the house has already been occupied by an illegal occupant," Gibbon said.

"One such example affects a resident (name withheld), who has been fighting a losing battle since 2002 to gain legal occupancy of her RDP dwelling, for which she holds the legal property title deeds."

He said an investigation by the Human Settlements Directorate confirmed that this property had been illegally allocated by a previous Municipal official. This case is only one of many where beneficiaries are unable to take rightful occupancy of their homes, because their homes have already been illegally occupied.

"The DA strongly urges that external, independent consultants be appointed to conduct a full forensic audit into the allocation and occupancy of RDP houses in the Metro.

"Where illegal occupants are found, the legal process has be followed to have the illegal occupants removed, the house rectified (if required) and the rightful beneficiary be allowed to move into their home.

"Further, officials responsible for the illegal allocation of RDP houses should face the full legal consequences of their dishonest actions," Gibbon said.

"In the interim, the Executive Director of Human Settlements should present a monthly report to Council containing the names of the beneficiaries and erf numbers of houses allocated during the preceding month.

"This practice has become endemic within our institution and the Democratic Alliance will never condone the misuse and abuse of state funds in the manner in which RDP houses are currently allocated in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. This malpractice is immoral, it deprives honest folk who have waited patiently for years to have their own home and it must immediately be halted."