KZN officials wangle cheap rent

2010-09-20 00:00

TWENTY-NINE KZN provincial officials cheated the poor out of homes by using falsified pay slips to qualify for accommodation at the low rental Acacia Park complex in Oribi Road.

In another development, long- standing allegations of impropriety in the sale of houses in Copesville have gained ground and two KZN Human Settlements officials within the property management directorate have been arrested on allegations of fraud relating to the sale of government houses in Copesville.

More than 400 officials throughout KZN are currently being investigated for receiving homes they do not qualify for.

This follows the successful prosecution earlier of 420 officials in the province for abusing the housing subsidy system.

The housing project, run by the Msunduzi Housing Association (MHA), offers rental accommodation to people earning R3 500 and less.

According to Human Settlements MEC Maggie Govender, the investigation into Acacia Park is part of a broader investigation into subsidies.

The investigation identified 76 government officials who lived in the complex, which has 432 units.

• 25 of the 76 earned R3 500 and below and qualified to live in the complex.

• 51 were identified who did not qualify, of whom 29 are provincial government officials and 22 are employed by national government.

The provincial employees had allegedly provided falsified pay slips to qualify for the houses.

The Witness understands that the probe by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) is looking at insiders within the government system who are allegedly generating the false pay slips and selling them.

MHA director Judy Vather said they were not aware that certain tenants had provided false documentation to gain accommodation at Acacia Park until they were approached by the SIU.

She said they were surprised to learn of this information as the documentation they had appeared authentic.

Vather added that the MHA has agreed to co-operate fully with the Investigation and that they were told that court proceedings will begin from the middle of next month.

The investigation into the 22 national government officials allegedly living illegally at Acacia Park is ongoing.

According to Govender, another investigation in the midlands area involves a contractor who has allegedly been double-invoicing the department. Charges relating to double payments, potential double claims, forgery and fraud are currently being drafted.

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