Relief for those ‘cheated’ out of RDP houses

A three-year battle has ended in relief for those who have been swindled out of RDP houses following a housing allocation scam.
The Pietermaritzburg High Court ruled in favour of the Endumeni Civic Association and 12 RDP applicants who, although they had originally applied for houses, never received them.
“Irregular and corrupt process”
Judge Poyo Diwatt ruled against the Endumeni Municipality (the only one of the three respondents to oppose the application – the others being the KZN Department of Human Settlements and the National Department of Human Settlements) and ordered that the Municipality pay all costs – another blow for ratepayers.
The Court found that the housing allocation process was irregular and corrupt and ordered the municipality to take steps to fix it and to report back to both the court and the affected residents by April 30.

After another meeting with the association, the municipality promised to investigate. But again nothing happened the association said, leaving them no choice but to go to Court.
The Endumeni Civic Association said in its application that the municipality arbitrarily allocated houses by manipulating the housing lists; its allocation system was unclear, and its RDP housing allocation was corrupt. It accused municipal officials of impropriety, fraud and corruption.
The association said some residents’ houses were occupied by third parties. It had met municipal officials and local ward committees on several occasions without the issues being adequately addressed.
In June 2016, residents discovered that many allocated houses had been swapped without their knowledge or consent. The association requested a comprehensive list from the municipality indicating who had been allocated each house in the area.
The list provided was incomplete and it seemed to have been tampered with. It emerged that several people’s houses had been rented out unlawfully by ward committee officials. After another meeting with the association, the municipality promised to investigate. But again nothing happened the association said, leaving them no choice but to go to Court.

 

“The court found that in this case, it was appropriate to grant a supervisory order because there was reason to believe that the municipality would not comply completely with the court ruling.”

 

Judge Poyo Diwati said the municipality had failed to address the concerns of the residents even after numerous engagements with the civic association. The Court also found that the municipality had failed to “allocate appropriately RDP houses to rightful and qualifying recipients, to prevent fraudulent activities and manipulation of RDP housing lists, to resolve all the disputes relating to the allocation of the RDP houses including contradictory RDP housing lists and to take steps to resolve these issues.”
In this way the municipality had infringed its constitutional and statutory obligations in respect of the residents’ housing rights, the court said. Housing waiting lists had been manipulated; the housing allocation system and policies were unclear, and there had been corrupt allocation of RDP houses to RDP housing applicants.
The report must identify all the housing applicants and explain whether each application had been accepted or rejected and why.
Judge Poyo Diwati said the Court had to determine whether it should grant a supervisory order. “Orders of this sort are only granted in exceptional cases. The court found that in this case, it was appropriate to grant a supervisory order because there was reason to believe that the municipality would not comply completely with the court ruling.”
The municipality was also ordered to inform the residents what they should do to have their housing subsidies approved, to say what it would do to process housing applications correctly and to set out reasonable and measurable targets.

 

Read more:

How housing scam let down Velili and his family … – Dundee

Housing corruption deepens as another family finds … – Dundee

Probe ordered into RDP housing corruption

  AUTHOR
Terry Worley
Editor

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