Land claim crooks soon to face arrest

2011-05-24 00:00

THE Land Reform Department has confirmed that arrests are imminent of the “ghost” recipients of KwaMasinenge land claims’ payments.

The confirmation was given 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 families forcibly removed from the Uvongo area for the development of the town during the apartheid era.

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

The meeting attracted scores of affected community members who packed the venue while hundreds more stood outside.

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

“… once investigation is done, the rightful beneficiaries will be repaid their money. We have names of the rightful people who 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 to Gamalakhe after the Ugu District mayor’s office notified them that there were individuals posing as departmental officials who were registering land claimants and collecting money from them.

“You do not pay for government programme because that is a 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.

People who allegedly claimed cheques falsely on behalf of their families will also be arrested.

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela could not confirm their involvement in the case yesterday. He said he needed to get more information on the matter from South Coast police.

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