Committee ‘stealing our money’

2009-06-04 00:00

ACCUSATIONS of corruption and self enrichment have been levelled by some residents of Mpophomeni Township against their community committee, which has represented them in their land claims against the government.

The residents were being financially compensated by the government for being forcefully removed from their area in Joji (Howick West) in 1959.

They said the committee corr-upted their compensation process by claiming the money for themselves and their families while defrauding and denying some of the legitimate beneficiaries their compensation. Furthermore, they accuse the committee of altering the names on the list of beneficiaries and replacing other names with those of their children.

According to Keli Miyeni, one of the people who are dissatisfied with the process, the committee that is supposed to work for them is “robbing them blind”.

“One of the committee members listed his son as a beneficiary to the compensation process, but he was not even born in Joji and he is dead,” she alleges.

Miyeni also alleged that the committee shortchanged them. “When some of the people were paid, one group received R36 000 and another received R43 000, and a lot of people did not receive a cent and the commission tells us everyone has been paid.”

Another community member, Getrude Mazibuko, who also served on the committee, said when she questioned the legitimacy of the process, other members of the committee threatened her with death and kicked her out.

“The list that was submitted to Land Affairs has been tampered with; legitimate people were removed and replaced with others,” she said.

The residents said although they reported the matter to Land Affairs, they were “not sure if there would be a solution as Land Affairs had watched while fraud was being perpetuated in its department”.

Kolo Mthembu, who was one of the members of the committee, distanced himself from any wrong doing, saying his responsibilities never extended beyond calling community meetings. “I never distributed anything; there was the Restitution Commission, which was responsible for that,” he said.

The Restitution Commission was not available for comment.

Attempts to contact Land Affairs yesterday were unsuccessful.

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