City warns of housing fraud

2015-10-20 06:00

Housing beneficiaries have been urged not to pay anyone who alleges he can add them to housing waiting lists or give them a property.

The City of Cape Town has issued a warning while it is investigating cases in which people have been duped and paid for housing units or serviced sites.

“The City is looking into incidents where beneficiaries who qualify for a subsidised housing opportunity have allegedly been scammed. The City emphasises that, should a person qualify in terms of the national criteria for a subsidy, he must not pay any money to anyone to be placed on the housing database or to receive a property. All costs are carried by the City,” according to a statement by the City.

Pelican ParkPeople’s Post has also reported on such fraud cases in the Pelican Park housing development (“Housing headaches”, 15 September and “Duped locals lay charges”, 29 September).

Anyone who has been affected by a housing scam must report it to the police for investigation.

Benedicta van Minnen, mayoral committee member for human settlements, has urged housing beneficiaries to make affidavits at their nearest police stations if they have been scammed.

“We cannot allow these criminals to get away with this. Sadly, these scams often affect our most vulnerable and desperate residents,” Van Minnen says.

She adds the City has been told of cases in which housing beneficiaries have allegedly been duped into paying for subsidised houses in Pelican Park, “even though beneficiaries who are registered on the housing database and meet the necessary subsidy criteria are not required to pay money to be placed on the database or for their subsidised property, which includes serviced sites”.

“In addition, we are also looking into incidents where City-owned units in developments such as Blikkiesdorp and Wolwe­rivier have been ‘sold’ – sometimes for tens of thousands of rands. Such ‘buyers’ would not be able to register the property in their name and would be out-of-pocket with no legal deed to the property.

“We can only stop fraud if we all work together,” Van Minnen stresses.

Examples of housing scams include:

. Asking housing beneficiaries to pay money to be placed on the official housing database.

. Asking housing beneficiaries to pay money to receive a subsidised housing unit (commonly referred to as an RDP house) or serviced site.

. “Selling” City-owned units, houses or serviced sites for money.

. “Selling” RDP houses. The National Housing Act restricts the sale or rental of RDP houses within the first few years following the acquisition of the property by housing beneficiaries.

“Where this is done knowingly and with intent, it is fraud. Potential buyers must make sure that the property can legally be sold,” Van Minnen adds.

Residents can also contact the City’s fraud hotline on 0800 323 130

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