Housing fraudsters fined

2008-04-24 00:00

ELEVEN Pietermaritzburg government employees were fined after pleading guilty at the magistrate’s court yesterday to defrauding the low-cost government housing system.

They were fined between R3 000 and R10 000 and must pay back the cost of the houses with interest — but they don’t have to give back the houses as long as they do not default on paying for them.

Both national Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and her KZN counterpart Mike Mabuyakhulu have welcomed the punishment.

“We are committed to rooting out corruption … and we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that all the unscrupulous fraudsters are brought to book,” said Sisulu.

Mabuyakhulu warned those who have not yet been caught that “the noose is tightening”.

The offenders are among 34 Pietermaritzburg civil servants being prosecuted. Others will appear in court today.

The civil servants involved in the fraud are earning between R3 000 and R10 000 per month. But the houses are meant for the poor who earn less than R3 000.

The Democratic Alliance will be asking Parliament questions as to why some of the fraudsters have escaped prosecution by agreeing to repay the money, and why they have not been demoted.

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