The Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) and Human Settlements has launched an investigation over the illegal allocation and sale of government houses in Ekurhuleni.
The investigation pertains to government houses in Clayville Extension 45 Ward 1, Ekurhuleni and Extension 71 Ward 92, Tembisa.
The committee made shocking discoveries when committee chairperson, Kedibone Diale, was conducting unannounced oversight visits to government housing developments in the Ekurhuleni and City of Johannesburg regions on Wednesday.
The committee decided to conduct the oversight visits to verify allocation of RDP houses, in an effort to ensure the Fleurhof crisis does not repeat itself.
During an inspection in Extension 45 Ward 1, the committee learnt that from 2017, government officials allegedly sold houses to desperate South Africans in need of shelter, despite being on the waiting list for government houses.
Out of desperation, residents bought the houses and have been occupying them illegally as no title deeds were issued.
However, the residents of Extension 45 Ward 1, have recently experienced intimidation and threats of eviction from various sources – all outside of the lawful processes.
Last week, community members were allegedly harassed by members of a local taxi association, and ordered to vacate the government houses they are currently occupying by the end of the month.
The committee also discovered that in Extension 71 Ward 92, some occupants were lawfully allocated houses during lockdown, where they were moved from their shacks in different informal settlements to the government houses.
However, it is alleged that some of government houses are sold, and of late, there has been an influx of occupants who bought units.
Diale has strongly condemned the alleged acts of corruption in the allocation of houses in Extension 45 ward 1, and Extension 71 ward 92.
Diale said that though the committee is against the illegal occupation by residents of Extension 45 ward 1, it is more appalled by the violent acts of intimidation and abuse, allegedly by members of the taxi association.
In light of the threats made hereto, Diale said that the committee will, in consultation with the Community Safety Portfolio Committee, ensure there is policing of the area and protection offered to residents while government processes unfold to resolve these issues.
“The committee will promptly engage with the Head of Department: Human Settlements and ascertain the validity of these allegations. Furthermore, upon conclusion of a brief investigation process, the committee will lay criminal charges against all public officials involved in these unlawful processes.
“This will send a strong message to others conducting similar acts of corruption, as well as give hope to the community that indeed legislative process are effective in resolving their challenges. It is the committee’s responsibility to oversee the work of the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements, and ensure that services are being delivered to the people of Gauteng in a transparent, credible and lawful manner,” Diale said.