Land cheats warned

2011-05-24 00:00

THE Rural Development and Land Reform Department confirmed on Sunday that arrests are imminent for the “ghost” recipients of KwaMasinenge land claims payments.

The confirmation was made at a community meeting convened by the department at the Baptist Church in Gamalakhe on Sunday.

Early this year the department paid cheques to the amount of R54 000 to each family who had been forcibly removed from Uvongo area to make space for the development of the town during the apartheid era.

Recent allegations indicate that the list of KwaMasinenge beneficiaries was tampered with and some rightful beneficiaries were replaced with ghost beneficiaries, allegedly by corrupt individuals from the local community claims committee or the officials of the department.

The meeting attracted scores of affected community members who packed the hall to capacity, while hundreds stood outside, listening through the windows.

The community said they heard departmental officials announcing on the community radio, Sunny South, that they were invited to a meeting at the Baptist Church because they had been conned of their money since registration had been closed by the department.

The meeting was moved into the open because ofthe high number of attendees.

Some angry claimants said they did not get their payments and that they wanted to know who had taken their money.

Community members confirmed they have paid between R200 and R1 000 to known community members who claimed to be legally registering land claimants.

Land Reform senior manager Ray Ninela assured the crowd that the Hawks are investigating the matter and that people will be arrested.

“Hawks are investigating and once investigation is done, the rightful beneficiaries will be repaid their money.

“We have names of the rightful people that were removed from the official list in KwaMasinenge.

“We paid claimants of KwaMasinenge, Albersville and Committee, early this year, but KwaMasinenge list had ‘ghost’ beneficiaries.

“We are not reopening registration of beneficiaries. We settled the payments and we closed that file,” said Ninela.

Ninela explained that they came down to Gamalakhe after being notified by Ugu District Mayor’s Office that there are certain individuals posing as departmental officials who are registering land claimants and collecting money from them.

“You do not pay for a government programme because that is crime, so if you have paid money, you have been robbed and you have agreed to be robbed.

“We closed registration in 2008 and we have not reopened it.

“We urge people to open cases for investigation so that these crooks can be arrested whether they serve in the local committee or in the department,” he said.

Family members who are allegedly running away with cheques which they claimed on behalf of their families early this year, will also be arrested.

Velaphi Dlamini (51) said his sisters and elder brother have run away with his money and that he is poor.

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela could not confirm their involvement in the case yesterday.

He said he needs to liaise with police in the South Coast to get more information on the matter.

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